Bruce Lietzke

Although Bruce Lietzke moved quietly amid the noise and hoopla of the PGA Tour, he was a force to be reckoned with. Dangerous when aroused was the best way to describe Lietzke, who gained his Tour card in 1975 and has been making an exceptional living ever since.

Bruce, who began playing golf at age 5 with a set of cut-down clubs provided by brother Duane (an assistant pro), grew up in Beaumont, Texas. He won the Texas State Junior Championship in 1968 in a very competitive field. Bruce then attended the University of Houston and played alongside the likes of Texans John Mahaffey and Bill Rogers. Lietzke won the Texas State Amateur title in the summer of 1971 and was the low Houston Cougar in both the Tucker Invitational and Rice Invitational the same year.

During the 1972-73 collegiate year, Lietzke won the Inwood Forest tournament and was a member of the UH team which won the Southwest Conference match play tourney. In 1973, shortly after leaving the UH, Lietzke put his clubs “in the closet” for a time. Having played non-stop for almost 15 years, he was “tied of it.” Six month later, he turned professional and earned his Tour card in 1975.

After that time, Lietzke always high on the money list. In 1977, he was 5th; in 1979, 8th; in 1981, 4th ; in 1984, 6th. He played on the U.S. Ryder Cup Team in 1981 and in the U.S. vs. Japan meet in 1984. Lietzke became known as the best “cross-handed” putter on Tour and is currently working on becoming the best regular tour player to use the long putter. Bruce has continued his play on the Champion’s Tour and consults with golf course design. He recently was involved in the design of the TPC San Antonio.

Birthplace: Kansas City, Kansas

Born: July 18, 1951

Died: N/A

George Hannon

In 18 seasons as a coach of the University of Texas men’s golf team, George Hannon saw his Longhorns win 12 SWC titles. He had National Championship teams in 1971 and 1972, and he coached Ben Crenshaw to two individual championships in 1971 and 1973, and a co-championship, with teammate Tom Kite, in 1972.

Hannon’s Horns included Tour players Mark Brooks, Phil Blackmar, Brandel Chamblee, Rik Massengale, and Paul Thomas. Former Longhorn lettermen of the Hannon era include “50 or 60 men” who are currently club professionals. Hannon’s choice of degree programs (Pharmacy) left no time for him to play golf at U.T., although his college experience influenced his decision to make golf a career.

While coaching, Hannon evolved a philosophy, which allowed his players to excel as individuals, while serving the best interest of the team. “When things go bad as they always will,” says Hannon, “youngsters need to know that throwing away a round is detrimental to the team. A 75 never hurts anyone in team golf and I wanted them to know they were helping one another succeed even when things went poorly for them as individuals.”

Birthplace: Kemp, Texas

Born: June 29, 1924

Died: N/A

Hal Underwood

Hal Underwood, who grew up in Del Rio, was introduced to the game one summer by his brother-in-law, who worked at a course. The vaccination took and, by the 1960’s Underwood was making a statement to the collegiate golfing world as a first-team-All-American, at the University of Houston in 1967 and 1968.

In 1968, Underwood finished second in the NCAA tournament. He placed 5th in 1966 and 8th in 1967 and won the All-American Intercollegiate in both 67’ and 68’. Underwood also won the 1967 Border Olympics, the Morris Williams Tournament,and the 1967 Eastern and Trans-Mississippi events. Underwood left the University of Houston 13 hours shy of a degree and turned professional in 1969. His career as a playing professional was highlighted by winning two events on the Australian Tour (Otago Golf Classic, Queensland Open) in 1977. He also won the Portland Open in 1975 and lost in a playoff to Gary Player in the Jacksonville Open of 1971.

Birthplace: Ballinger, Texas

Born: November 09, 1945

Died: N/A

Harry "Lighthorse" Cooper

Harry Cooper was the first “Texan” to successfully play the emerging pro golf tour. His father, Syd J. Cooper, was a winter pro in Texas as early as 1913 and by 1923, when the elder Cooper was head professional at Dallas’ Cedar Crest CC, an 18-year-old Harry had won his first professional event, the Texas PGA Championship at Galveston CC.

Cooper won his second PGA event on his home course in Dallas in 1924. Known through his career as “Lighthorse” for his speed of play, Cooper said his nickname among Texas professionals was “Pipeline” because of driving accuracy. Early on, Cooper went from having one of the longest swings to one of the shortest; a change necessitated by hand injury.

In 1925, Cooper was runner-up to Jack Burke, Sr., in the Texas PGA and a semifinalist in the National PGA tourney. He was the first LA Open winner in 1926 and also won the Del Monte Open the same year. The next year he won four times and was runner-up in three events. In 1934 Cooper won the Western Open in Chicago – then considered a major – and it was noted he had finished no worse than seventh in scoring average for the previous six years. In 1937 Cooper won his second LA Open, the Houston Open, and two other events. That year he became the first Vardon Trophy winner with 500 points and was leading money winner with $14,138.69.

Birthplace: Leatherhead, Surrey, England

Born: August 04, 1904

Died: October 17, 2000

John Bredemus

Until the time John Bredemus became Texas’ first resident golf course architect, the designers of the State’s layouts came, put down holes, and left the problems of new and growing courses to whomever happened to be around. Needless to say, some tracks thrived but many did not. Course design and construction moved at a snail’s pace and, consequently, golf as a business and pastime poked along as well.

By 1933 there was a marked change. Pro tournaments were staged in every metro area. Clubs began to have year-round profressionals to tend to the needs of amateurs and course building and maintenance emerged as professions. Strange though it may seem, John Bredemus had a hand in all three. He assumed the role of a pro golfer in 1916 because of his interest in architecture rather than a talent for playing. He competed, though not very well and worked as a club pro and teacher until 1926 when he turned exclusively to course design and the promotion of golf in Texas and Mexico. The Bredemus legacy included the first Texas Open, which he co-founded with newspaperman Jack O’Brien, and the initial professional tour events in Dallas, Houston, Corpus Christi, and Beaumont.

Bredemus co-founded the Texas Professional Golfers Associations in 1922 and was largely responsible for bringing the Southwest’s first “major”, the National PGA Championship at Cedar Crest C.C., to Dallas in 1927. Bredemus may have been the game’s first college degreed professional. He played varsity football and also won the AAU National All-Around title in 1908 and 1912. It is said that he was awarded with Jim Thorpe's trophys when they were taken away by the Olympic committee.

Before migrating to Texas, he was an instructor of higher mathematics at Eastern prep schools and is reported to have been private tutor to the children of railroad magnate Jay Gould.

Birthplace: Flint, Michigan

Born: November 20, 1884

Died: May 08, 1946 (in Big Spring, Texas)

Mary Lou Dill

Lou Dill began playing golf at age 4 under the watchful eye of her father, Bill Dill, a professional. During a brilliant junior career, the 5-foot, 4inch Miss Dill was known for wearing a trademark outfit which included a flying shirttail. Allowed to compete so attired at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship in 1967, Lou stunned a long list of veteran competitors not with her dress, but by capturing the title away from Jean Ashley 5 & 4 in the 36-hole final at Annandale G.C. (CA).

Ashley a three-time finalist and winner in 1965, was 6 down after the morning round. In her acceptance speech, the 19-year-old Dill thanked the USGA’s Joe Dey for allowing her to compete in her favorite outfit. Dey, it seems, was greatly impressed with Lou for she had prevailed in spite of assessing herself two penalties during the tournament. The first consisted of two strokes in qualifying when a caddie raked a bunker before Dill had played her shot. The second penalty was one stroke, when Dill’s ball moved slightly at address in the quarterfinal match.

Lou went on to compete on the victorious Curtis Cup Team in Ireland and qualified for the Women’s British Amateur in 1967 as well.

Birthplace: Houston, Texas

Born: ?

Died: N/A