Byron Nelson's Astounding 1945 PGA Tour Season

His 11-tournament win streak, 18 total victories and all the tournament scores

Byron Nelson tees off for the first round of the 1945 Victory National Open.
Byron Nelson tees off during the 1945 Victory National Open, one of his 18 tournament wins that year. Bettmann/Getty Images 

In 1945, Byron Nelson entered 30 tournaments on the PGA Tour. He won 18 of those tournaments. That included a stretch of 11 consecutive victories.

Nelson's 1945 season is considered one of the greatest in the history of sports and, most golf fans agree, the best-ever in the history of the PGA Tour. No other golfer has even come close to winning 18 times in a year, or 11 tournaments in a row.

On this page we'll go over the details of Nelson's 1945 season, including his full, tournament-by-tournament results. The stats listed here are based on records provided by Jon Bradley, Mr. Nelson's longtime agent.

11 Wins In A Row

Here are the 11 tournaments that make up the most-famous winning streak in golf, along with Nelson's margin of victory in each:

  • Miami International Four-Ball (team tournament)
  • Charlotte Open, won by 4 strokes
  • Greater Greensboro Open, won by 8 strokes
  • Durham Open, won by 5 strokes
  • Atlanta Open, won by 9 strokes
  • Montreal Open, won by 10 strokes
  • Philadelphia Inquirer, won by 2 strokes
  • Chicago Victory National Open, won by 7 strokes
  • PGA Championship (match play)
  • Tam O'Shanter Open, won by 11 strokes
  • Canadian Open, won by 4 strokes

A couple notes:

  • Jug McSpaden was Nelson's partner in the Miami Four-Ball. That's only appropriate, since McSpaden set a couple of his own records in 1945: He finished in the Top 10 31 times, and finished second 13 times (most of those to Nelson).
  • The PGA Championship was the only major championship played in 1945, due to World War II. Nelson defeated Sam Byrd 4-and-3 in the 36-hole championship match.

18 Wins Total

Here is the list of all 18 of Nelson's PGA Tour victories in 1945, with his winning scores:

  1. Phoenix Open, 274
  2. Corpus Christi Open, 264
  3. New Orleans Open, 284
  4. Miami International Four-Ball (team tournament)
  5. Charlotte Open, 272
  6. Greater Greensboro Open, 271
  7. Durham Open, 276
  8. Atlanta Open, 263
  9. Montreal Open, 268
  10. Philadelphia Inquirer, 269
  11. Chicago Victory National Open, 275
  12. PGA Championship (match play)
  13. Tam O'Shanter Open, 269
  14. Canadian Open, 280
  15. Knoxville Invitational, 276
  16. Esmeralda Open, 266
  17. Seattle Open, 259
  18. Glen Garden Open, 273

A couple notes:

  • The last win in Nelson's 11-tournament victory streak was the Canadian Open. The streak ended the next week in Memphis where Nelson finished fourth.
  • The last two of Nelson's wins came in his last two tournaments of the year. He opened 1946 with two straight wins, for a four-tournament winning streak. Only four golfers in PGA Tour history have winning streaks of four or more, and Nelson did it twice (Ben Hogan also did it twice and Jackie Burke once; Tiger Woods has three such streaks — see longest PGA Tour win streaks).
  • The 259 Nelson posted in winning in Seattle set a 72-hole scoring record on the PGA Tour. It broke a record that Hogan had established just two weeks earlier. Nelson's scoring record stood for 10 years, until Mike Souchak's famous 257 at the 1955 Texas Open. Other than Souchak, nobody bettered Nelson's 259 on the PGA Tour until 1989.

The Complete Record: All of Nelson's 1945 PGA Tour Tournaments

Below are Byron Nelson's results in all 30 official tournaments he played in 1945. We say "official" because Nelson actually played a 31st event, and he won it. It would give him 19 wins and 12 wins in a row ... except that the event was scheduled for only 36 holes and so is not counted by the PGA Tour as an official win.

In addition to Nelson's 18 wins, you'll noticed that he also finished second seven times and never outside the Top 10. Nelson's average margin of victory was nearly seven shots. Of his 112 stroke-play rounds, 92 of them were below par. He had more rounds below 65 than he had above 72.

Byron Nelson's 1945 Tournament Results

  • Jan. 5-8, Los Angeles: 71-72-70-71--284, second
  • Jan. 12-14, Phoenix Open: 68-65-72-69--274, first, won by 2
  • Jan. 18-21, Tucson: 67-68-67-67--269, second
  • Jan. 26-28, Texas Open: 67-66-68-68--269, second
  • Feb. 1-4, Corpus Christi Open: 66-63-65-70--264, first, won by 4
  • Feb. 9-11, New Orleans Open: 70-70-73-71--284, first, won by 5
  • Feb. 16-18, Gulfport: 69-68-72-66--275, second
  • Feb. 23-25, Pensacola: 69-69-71-65--274, second
  • March 1-4, Jacksonville: 68-66-72-69--275, sixth
  • March 8-11, Miami International Four-Ball: first (team tournament)
  • March 16-19, Charlotte Open: 70-68-66-68--272, first, won by 4
  • March 23-25, Greater Greensboro Open: 70-67-68-66--271, first, won by 8
  • March 30-April 1, Durham Open: 71-69-71-65--276, first, won by 5
  • April 5-8, Atlanta Open: 64-69-65-65--263, first, won by 9
  • June 7-10, Montreal Open: 63-68-69-68--268, first, won by 10
  • June 14-17, Philadelphia Inquirer: 68-68-70-63--269, first, won by 2
  • June 29-July 1, Chicago Victory National Open: 69-68-68-70--275, first, won by 7
  • July 9-15, PGA Championship: first (match play)
  • July 26-29, Tam O'Shanter Open: 66-68-68-67--269, first, won by 11
  • Aug. 2-4, Canadian Open: 68-72-72-68--280, first, won by 4
  • Aug. 16-19, Memphis: 69-73-66-68--276, fourth
  • Aug. 23-26, Knoxville Invitational: 67-69-73-67--276, first, won by 10
  • Aug. 31-Sept. 3, Nashville: 70-64-67-68--269, second
  • Sept. 6-9, Dallas: 72-70-71-68--281, third
  • Sept. 13-16, Tulsa: 73-69-75-71--288, fourth
  • Sept. 19-23, Esmeralda Open: 66-66-70-64--266, first, won by 7
  • Sept. 27-30, Portland: 71-71-67-66--275, second
  • Oct. 4-7, Tacoma: 70-69-73-71--283, ninth
  • Oct. 11-14, Seattle Open: 62-68-63-66--259, first, won by 13
  • Dec. 14-16, Glen Garden Open: 72-65-66-70--273, first, won by 8

Nelson's scoring average in 1945 was 68.34. That's unadjusted (today the Vardon Trophy is awarded based on adjusted scoring average). Nelson didn't win the Vardon Trophy, however, because it wasn't awarded from 1942-46.

However, only one time in tour history has Nelson's 1945 unadjusted scoring average been bettered. That was Tiger Woods' 68.17 in 2000.