Notes from Evan Smith
"Ben Crenshaw remains, after 29 years on tour, one of the most popular and talented players on the Pro Golf Association circuit. His easy-going manner both on and off the golf links has earned him the nickname “Gentle Ben.” He is the quintessential comeback kid whose determination and passion for golf have made him a fan favorite.
At an early age, his father introduced him to golf at Austin Country Club in Austin, Texas. Crenshaw quickly learned the lessons of playing the right way and by the rules and won his first tournament, the Casis Elementary Open, in the fourth grade with a score of 96. After failing to make the cut for the next year’s state junior tournament, he applied himself more diligently and, at age fifteen, won that championship, a feat he repeated in 1968, as well as the first of three consecutive Austin City Championships. In 1968, Crenshaw took his first national title at the Jaycees Junior Championship.
During those years and in high school, Crenshaw was fortunate enough to play future golf greats such as Tom Kite, Bruce Lietzke, and Bill Rogers. Perhaps even more influential than his competition was Crenshaw’s friendship with Harvey Penick, the house pro at Austin Country Club, who taught him to play with what comes naturally.
In 1970, Crenshaw attended the University of Texas at Austin on a golf scholarship. In the 1972 NCAA tournament, he shared the first-place prize with his teammate and rival, Tom Kite. He went on to win many more titles throughout college. His first appearance in a professional tournament was the seventy-two hole $125,000 San Antonio-Texas Open in November 1973, which he won. In time, he had success around the country and victories at the four major tournaments on the PGA tour. Crenshaw won the coveted green blazer at the 1984 Masters and was awarded another victory at the Masters in 1995.
Overall, Crenshaw has won 19 PGA victories and three international victories. In 1999, the PGA of America named Crenshaw captain for the U.S. Ryder Cup team (after being a 4-time member) in matches held at the Country Club in Brookline. The U.S. Golf Association awarded him their highest honor, the Bob Jones Award, in 1999.
In recent years, Crenshaw and his business partner Bill Coore created Coore & Crenshaw, a golf course architecture business. They have designed and renovated courses such as Barton Creek Country Club in Austin, Sand Hills Golf Club near Mullen, Nebraska, and Plantation Club at the Kapalua Bay Resort in Maui, Hawaii.
In April 2001, Crenshaw published his memoirs in A Feel for The Game, To Brookline and Back. He is married to the former Julie Ann Forrest. They have three daughters, Katherine, Claire, and Anne and live in Austin, Texas. In 2001, Doubleday published his autobiography A Feel For the Game: To Brookline and Back." - Evan Smith, Texas Monthly Talks, Broadcast 2.12.04