With his riverboat-gambler looks and stylish game, Lloyd Mangrum was a popular and successful player in the decade after World War II, although he was overshadowed by contemporaries Ben Hogan and Sam Snead.
Mangrum grew up in Texas and turned pro at age 15 in 1929, but he didn't hit the Tour until the late 1930s. He first made news in 1940 when he scored his first victory at the Thomasville Open and shot a first-round 64 in the Masters (an 18-hole record that wasn't matched for 25 years or broken for 46) before finishing second.
Mangrum joined the Army in World War II and earned two Purple Hearts for being wounded during the Battle of the Bulge. He won the first postwar U.S. Open in a tense playoff over Byron Nelson and Vic Ghezzi. All three players shot 72s in the 18-hole playoff, necessitating another 18 holes. Mangrum shot another 72, while the other two had 73s.
In 1948, Mangrum began winning in bunches. He had seven wins that year, then added four in 1949, five in 1950, four in 1951, two in 1952, and four in 1953.
He led the money list in 1951 and won the Vardon Trophy in 1951 and 1953. In 1949, he was part of the longest playoff in PGA Tour history, going 11 holes with Cary Middlecoff at the Motor City Open before darkness arrived and the two were declared co-winners.
The 1946 U.S. Open remained Mangrum's only major victory. His next best chance came in the 1950 U.S. Open, where he and George Fazio lost a playoff to Ben Hogan.
Mangrum trailed by one stroke on the 16th green when he lifted his ball to blow a bug off of it. Cleaning your ball on the green was then not allowed, so he drew a two-stroke penalty and ended up losing by four.
Mangrum was a perennial contender in the Masters, finishing in the top eight every year from 1947-56, including a second in 1949.
For more information about golf, see:
- The Best Golfers of all Time
- How Golf Clubs Work