Between 1992 and 1994, Nick Price won 16 of the 54 tournaments he played in worldwide, the victories including three major championships and the 1993 PLAYERS Championship. During that zenith, Price won the PGA TOUR and PGA of America Player of the Year Awards twice each, and was the PGA TOUR’s leading money winner two times. In all, he won 18 times on the PGA TOUR to go with 24 international victories.
“For a period of time—six or seven years in the 1990s—Nick Price was the best player in the world,” said Jack Nicklaus, founder and host of the Memorial Tournament. “If you look at just that stretch from 1992 to 1994, what he achieved was fantastic. The 16 wins, three major-championship titles, and over 40 straight weeks ranked No. 1 in the world. Nick’s game was very efficient, and he was long off the tee—long and straight.”
“More important, Nick Price always gave of himself, to the game and to people. He was always known for being incredibly kind and congenial, and someone everybody liked. Nick has a great family, has always handled himself beautifully, and he has represented the game and himself well. From promoting the game worldwide to his commitment as a three-time Presidents Cup captain, Nick Price has contributed and given back to the game for a very long time. I am delighted the Captains Club selected Nick as the 2020 Memorial Tournament Honoree, and look forward to having him back to Muirfield Village Golf Club.”
“This is such an incredible honor,” said Price, 62. “When I received the call from Jack I nearly fell on the floor. Obviously, this is a huge thing for me, especially when Jack has been one of my idols for so long. For my generation, Jack was the epitome of what we all wanted to be as golfers, and we just revered and idolized the guy. So, to be the Honoree at his Tournament next year (2020) is so special that it’s hard to put into words.”
Born in Durban, South Africa, on Jan. 28, 1957, Price was the youngest of three brothers. The family soon moved to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), where at age 8 Price got his start in the game caddying for his older brother. Soon after, he began hitting plastic balls toward a series of tomato cans that were buried in neighborhood lawns. Price remembers playing as many as 144 holes a day in mock tournaments with his friends for a garden variety version of The Open Championship.
In 1974, at age 17, he won the Optimist Junior World at Torrey Pines in San Diego. “I had no idea what I’d done,” he said. “But I knew right then I wanted to make golf my life.”
In 1978, Price joined the European Tour. Although he would win the 1980 Swiss Open, his largely self-taught swing was not suited to the rigors of professional golf. Searching for an answer, Price in 1982 began working with childhood friend David Leadbetter, who had become a teaching professional in America. Six months later, Price stood on the 13th tee at Troon leading the final round of The Open Championship by three strokes. Although he lost to Tom Watson by one, Price remembers being disappointed but not discouraged.
The very next year he won the World Series of Golf at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. The resulting 10-year exemption gave Price the time to indulge his passion, perfecting the golf swing. Although he nearly won The Open Championship again in 1988, losing by one stroke to Seve Ballesteros, Price was gaining a reputation as a competitive threat in the game, yet not always closing. Eight years passed until he recorded his second PGA TOUR win in the 1991 GTE Byron Nelson Classic.
In 1992, he won his first major title, the PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis. THE PLAYERS Championship and three other titles followed in 1993, setting the stage for his greatest year, 1994, when he rose to No. 1 in the world and held the top spot for 44 weeks.
At The Open at Turnberry, in Scotland, Price trailed Jesper Parnevik by three strokes when he birdied the 16th hole and eagled the 17th hole with a downhill 50-foot putt. When Parnevik bogeyed the 72nd hole, Price’s name was engraved on the Claret Jug.
It was Price’s most emotional triumph, but the victory he captured three weeks later at the PGA Championship makes him the proudest. Masterfully negotiating the tight doglegs and confounding targets at Southern Hills, in Tulsa, Okla., Price achieved shot-making virtuosity that ranked with the best of his golf idol, Ben Hogan. He opened with a 67 and was never challenged, eventually winning by six strokes.
“I’d always dreamed of playing that way, and I finally did it at Southern Hills,” Price said. “It was what my journey was all about.”
A three-time captain of the International Team in the Presidents Cup, including 2013 at Muirfield Village Golf Club, Price was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2003. The Hobe Sound, Fla., resident currently is in his second year serving on the U.S. Golf Association executive committee.
He and his wife Sue have three children: Gregory, Robyn and Kimberly.
Number of Wins by Tour
• PGA TOUR: 18
• Japan Golf Tour: 1
• PGA TOUR Champions: 4
• Other: 20
Best Results in Major Championships
• Masters Tournament: 5th (1986)
• U.S. Open: 4th (1992, 1998)
• The Open Championship: Won (1994)
• PGA Championship: Won (1992, 1994)
Achievements and Awards
• PGA Player of the Year 1993, 1994
• PGA Tour Player of the Year 1993, 1994
• PGA Tour leading money winner 1993, 1994
• Vardon Trophy 1993, 1997
• Byron Nelson Award 1997
• World Golf Hall of Fame 2003
• Payne Stewart Award 2002
• Bob Jones Award 2005
• Old Tom Morris Award 2011
• Presidents Cup captain 2013, 2015, 2017