Paul Runyan was born July 12, 1908 in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He died March 17, 2002. Fellow golfers nicknamed him "Little Poison,", primarily because he didn't drive the ball very far but also had a terrific short game. Additionally, Runyan was small in stature (5'7") furthering the "Little Poison" monicker. Runyan is a member of the World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame, Arkansas Hall of Fame and the recepient of the Harvey Penick Lifetime Teaching Award. In addition, Runyan captured the PGA Tour money title in 1934 and wasa 2-time member of the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Runyan also received the PGA of America Distinguished Service Award. Runyan started as a caddie and then an apprentice at a golf course in his hometown before turning pro at age 17. He served as an assistant pro to Craig Wood at Forest Hills Golf Course in White Plains, N.Y., in 1921. Thirteen years later, Runyan defeated Wood in a playoff to win the first of his two PGA Championships. Of Runyan's 29 career PGA Tour wins, 16 of them came in 1933 and 1934. His 9 wins in 1933 make him one of only 7 golfers to win 9 or more times in one year on the PGA Tour. But Runyan was competitive for many years, winning the PGA again in 1938 and leading the U.S. Open after three rounds as late as 1951. In the finals of his 1938 PGA, Runyan defeated Sam Snead 8 and 7, the most lopsided title match of the era when the PGA was contested at match play. Runyan's teaching prowess led many top pros to him over his 75 years of teaching, including Gene Littler, Phil Rodgers, Frank Beard, Jim Ferree and Mickey Wright. Golf Magazine wrote: "... since the late 1930s, he has probably been the most influential short game instructor. Untold thousands have been taught his methods for putting and chipping."
PaulRunyan -- who stood at just 5'7'' and weighed in around 125 pounds -- was known as "Little Poison" because of his deadly game on and around the greens.
Runyan's 1938 win over Sam Snead was an 8 and 7 romp, the biggest margin of victory in a final in the 39 years the PGA Championship was held at match play.
Runyan went on to become a respected teacher and a good senior player in the days before there was a Senior Tour, finishing second in the PGA Seniors Championship in 1959 and 1960 and winning it in 1961 and 1962.
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