Raymond Floyd: The Golfer's Long Legacy of Success

Raymond Floyd
Raymond Floyd pictured in 1977. Central Press/Getty Images

Raymond Floyd was known during his PGA Tour career — which stretched from the 1960s into the 1990s — as a tough competitor and one of the all-time greats at chipping. He maintained his competitiveness into his early 50s before moving to the Champions Tour, where he again posted a double-digit victory total.

Floyd was born on Sept. 4, 1942, in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He is called Raymond by many, but shortening that to "Ray" is also common among his peers.

He also has one of the oddest nicknames in golf: "Tempo Raymundo," inspired by his smooth, rhythmic golf swing. (Early in his career, Floyd was sometimes called "Pretty Boy Floyd."

Raymond Floyd's Tour Wins

  • PGA Tour: PGA Tour: 22
  • Champions Tour: 14

(Note, View the list of Floyd's PGA Tour/Champions Tour wins to see all of those individual tournaments and when he won them.)

  • Major Championships: 4

Floyd's wins in majors started at the 1969 PGA Championship and continued at the 1976 Masters. He won the PGA Championship again in 1982, and added the 1986 U.S. Open title.

Awards and Honors for Floyd

  • Member, World Golf Hall of Fame
  • PGA Vardon Trophy winner, 1983
  • Member, U.S. Ryder Cup team, 1969, 1975, 1977, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1991, 1993
  • Captain, 1989 U.S. Ryder Cup team

Golf Biography of Raymond Floyd

Raymond Floyd was a terrific baseball player in his youth, and didn't turn full-time to golf until he won the 1960 National Jaycees Junior golf tournament.

After serving in the Army, Floyd turned pro in 1963 and claimed his first victory that year. At age 20, he became the fourth youngest winner of a PGA Tour event to that point.

He really broke out in 1969, with three victories, including the PGA Championship. But it was six years before Floyd won again.

He worked hard during those years building a reputation as one of the great partiers on tour. (He even managed an all-female rock band that performed topless.) But after marrying in 1973, he settled down and focused again on his game.

He started reeling off wins more consistently beginning in the mid-1970s, including the 1976 Masters and 1982 PGA Championship. He won four times in 1981 and 1982, and recorded the tour's lowest scoring average in 1983.

When Floyd won the U.S. Open in 1986, at age 43, he was the oldest-ever winner of that event (a record since broken).

Floyd just missed adding another major when he was 48, losing to Nick Faldo on the second playoff hole in the 1990 Masters.

Floyd became eligible for the Champions Tour in 1992, but that year he posted another win on the PGA Tour at Doral. He also claimed three Champions Tour victories in 1992, becoming the first man to win on both the PGA and Senior PGA tours in the same year. He eventually won 14 times total on the senior circuit.

Floyd played on eight Ryder Cup teams, and three years after he captained the 1989 team, was selected to play again in 1993. At age 51, he became the oldest-ever Ryder Cup player, and chalked up three points in the event.

The World Golf Hall of Fame described Floyd's game this way:

"Floyd was one of the first players to combine tremendous power with a soft touch, making him an important player in the evolution of the modern game. Floyd's short game is considered exemplary, and he is often acknowledged as one of the greatest chippers the game has ever seen."

Off the course, Floyd launched his own golf course design company. He also wrote an instructional book, The Elements of Scoring: A Master's Guide to the Art of Scoring Your Best When You're Not Playing Your Best.

Raymond Floyd was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1989.

Quote, Unquote

Here is a sampling of quotes from Raymond Floyd about golf and his approach to playing it:

  • "They call it 'golf' because all the other four-letter words were taken." — Floyd wasn't the originator of this joke, but he is one of the tour players with whom it is most associated..
  • "When you are young and facing a 50-to-1 shot through an opening in trees with a 2-iron, you say, 'What the heck,' and try it. You are so gifted physically an so ungifted mentally."
  • "If you travel first class, you think first class and are more likely to play first class."
  • "The game was easy for me as a kid. I had to play it a while to find out how hard it is."
  • "The biggest disaster shots in the game are usually tee shots."
  • "How can you get tired of playing golf?"

Ray Floyd Trivia

  • Raymond Floyd is one of only two players to win official PGA Tour events in four different decades. The other is Sam Snead.
  • The gap between Floyd's first and last PGA Tour wins was 28 years, 11 months and 20 days — the longest gap in tour history.
  • In 1992, Floyd became the first golfer to win on the PGA Tour and Champions Tour in the same calendar year.
  • Floyd's sister, Marlene Floyd, played on the LPGA Tour in the 1970s and 1980s, and his son Robert Floyd has played on the PGA Tour and Web.com Tour.