Golf Birthdays: January 4-10

January 4

David Toms, winner of 13 PGA events including the 2001 PGA Championship, turns 49. He turned pro in 1989, but did not win a tournament until 1997. He became one of the best golfers in the world over the next few years, winning twice in 1999, once in 2000, and three times in 2001, including the 2001 Championship.  Toms first took the lead at the end of 36 holes, and was up two strokes over Mickelson through 54.  Mickelson tied Toms for the lead thrice on the final 18, including on No. 15, but when Mickelson bogeyed No. 16, Toms took the lead for good.

January 5

Miguel Jimenez, 21-time European Tour winner, turns 52.  He is the oldest winner in European Tour history, doing so in May of 2014 at age 50, exactly one month after making his Champions Tour debut and winning his first tournament there. In 2015 he won on the Champions Tour again, and his 21 wins on the Euro Tour are good for 10th all-time. The Majors have eluded him to date. He finished second at the 2000 US Open and third at the 2001 Open Championship.

January 6

Paul Azinger, who won 12 PGA titles including the 1993 PGA Championship, turns 56. He as 17 total professional wins and now serves as a commentator for both ESPN and ABC’s golf coverage. He turned pro in 1981 and broke through with three wins in 1987, earning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year honors. He won at least one tournament every year between 1987-1993, the big tamale being the Major in 1993. He was nowhere in sight of the leaderboard through two rounds, but a rough Saturday for many got him to 9-under and a shot behind Greg Norman, who had won the Open Championship a month earlier. On the Sunday back nine, Azinger birdied 12, 13, 14, and 17 to force a playoff with Norman, who missed a four-foot par putt on the second extra hole.

Craig Perks, the New Zealander who won the 2002 Players Championship, turns 49.

January 7

Camilo Villegas, the Colombian who has won 10 times as a professional, turns 34. Four of those wins have come on the PGA Tour, including the prestigious TOUR Championship in 2008 in a playoff against Sergio Garcia.

January 8

Kent Jones, the Canadian who is a two-time winner on the Web.com Tour, turns 49.

Tadd Fujikawa, five-time professional winner, turns 25. In 2007, he became the youngeset player in some 50 years to make the cut of a PGA Event, doing so at age 16 years, four months in 2007.

January 9

Rod Curl, the first full-blooded Native American to play on the PGA Tour, turns 73.  He won the 1974 Colonial National Invitation by a single stroke over Jack Nicklaus.

Sergio Garcia, who has won 11 times on the European Tour and eight times on the PGA Tour, turns 36. Garcia is generally regarded as one of the best players in the world without a Major title. He has finished second or tied for second on four occasions at Majors.

 

 

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