Horton Smith was one of golf’s first boy wonders. In 1929, at the age of 21, he played a PGA Tour then in its infancy and won eight of 22 events as well as finishing second six times.
Smith and Paul Runyan were the tour’s top players during the Depression years. In all, Smith won 32 events and finished second 37 times. A tall, stylish man, he was a smooth swinger with a superb putting touch. Byron Nelson rated Smith the finest putter and chipper of his era, and long after he won his final tournament in 1941, Smith was much sought after by other players for putting advice.
Although Smith was never again quite as good as he had been in 1929, his greatest fame will always come from being the first winner of the Masters, then known as the Augusta National Invitational. In the fourth round, Craig Wood posted 285 early, so Smith knew he needed a 72 or better. After making a 20-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole, he knocked in a four-foot downhiller on the final green to win.