We continue our best golfers from each state series by taking a look at North Carolina Golf and the under-rated Raymond Floyd.
When it comes to the Carolinas, there are a lot of golfers who have gone professional. When it comes to North Carolina golf, Raymond Floyd takes the top spot.
Just like Walter Hagen, Floyd was also quite the baseball prospect. Maybe even more so, as he actually received an offer to pitch for the Cleveland Indians. Also like Hagen, he turned it down to focus on golf.
Floyd falls a bit under the radar, as can happen when you aren’t in the top-tier of competitors in your era.
When you look at all Raymond Floyd accomplished, it’s easy to see why he is the top product of North Carolina Golf.
There is so much to get through with Floyd, and I think we should start with his performances at major championships. He nearly joined the group (that has since grown to five) of those who have completed the career grand slam. If not for a second-place finish at the Open Championship in 1978 to the Golden Bear, he would’ve accomplished the feat.
For how many different majors he was competitive in, it’s a bit surprising that he only ended up winning four of them. Tournament by tournament, he had 11 top-tens at the Masters, five at the U.S. Open, four at the Open Championship, and eight at the PGA Championship. That’s 28 top-tens in total over a 30 year period, 13 of which ended up being top-five finishes.
He did find the top of the leaderboard a few times, the first of which happened in 1969 at the PGA Championship. His most impressive major win would be his second when he caught fire through the first two rounds at the Masters in a manner of which wouldn’t be eclipsed until Spieth in 2015. Floyd started out with 65-66 en route to an eight-shot, the third-largest in the tournament’s history, and only one of five to go wire-to-wire.
Another struggle for Floyd was his record in playoffs. He would go 5-10, highlighted by a loss at the 1990 Masters. He would lose to Nick Faldo on the second playoff hole.
He would move on to the Champions Tour, where he would rack up another worth career of accomplishments. Like on the PGA Tour, he would finish with four majors here as well.
When all was said and done, it’s easy to see why Raymond Floyd ended up being quite the under-rated golfer, albeit one of the better to ever do it, and the top from North Carolina.