Raymond Floyd carried an aura as a competitor and a winner that drew fear from his rivals whenever his name went on a leader board, which it did during four different decades.
In notching 22 PGA TOUR victories, including four major championships from 1963 to 1992, Floyd distinguished himself as a player without a discernible weakness and whose strengths were a superb short game and an obvious mental toughness. The latter was manifested in his distinctive stare, the look of complete concentration that invariably took over his features when he was in contention for a title. “I’ve seen Raymond win without it, but I’ve never seen him lose with it,” said his wife, Maria, the person Floyd maintains has been the key figure in his long career.
When Floyd’s game was on, he was capable of some of the hottest 72-hole forays ever seen. In 1976, he won the Masters by eight strokes with a then-record-tying score of 271, using a 5-wood to consistently hit the par-5s in two and playing them in 16 under par for the week. At the 1982 PGA Championship at Southern Hills, Floyd was again on fire, opening with a record 63 and going wire-to-wire again to win by three.
Along with his explosiveness, Floyd had longevity. He and Sam Snead are the only players ever to win official events in four different decades. In 1992, he became the first player to win on the PGA TOUR and Champions Tour in the same year.