SIX-TIME PGA TOUR WINNER Paul Harney died this week. You would have to be a student of golf history to know Harney, who played alongside greats such as Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Billy Casper. Along with the legendary Francis Ouimet, Harney is considered to be one of the best golfers to hail from Massachusetts. He attended Holy Cross and was captain of the golf team. Harney joined the PGA Tour in 1955 and played the circuit full time through 1962. His first victory came at the 1957 Carling Open. A second win followed two weeks later at the Labatt Open.
A dedicated family man, Harney became a part-time player in 1963 when his oldest child (he and wife Patricia would raise six children) entered school. He took a club pro job in Northern California and then returned to his native Massachusetts to work for Pleasant Valley Country Club in Sutton.
Harney still managed to compete and win as a part-time player on the PGA Tour. He won three more events, the last trophy coming at the 1972 San Diego Open where he edged Hale Irwin by a stroke. He won no majors but did have six top 10s, including a fourth at the 1963 U.S. Open. He was 0 for 4 in playoffs. Three losses came to Palmer, one to Tony Lema.
Harney’s kids now run the golf course (Paul Harney Golf Club) their dad opened in Falmouth using prize money from his win in San Diego. Son Mike is the head pro. Daughter Erin is the general manager. In 2006, Mike recalled his dad’s days on the winter tour, a family affair.
“The family station wagon was dad’s office,” he said at golholycross.com. “We’d all jump in the car and go to work with him.”
Harney and family would log 10,000 miles in the station wagon driving from event to event. In 1971 the part-time player finished in the money in 14 of 15 tournaments, earning in excess of $40,000. That was good money in those days.
Later, Harney made $436,063 on the fledgling Senior Tour, more than what he collected in 18 years on the PGA Tour.
“I’ve been lucky,” Harney said in 2006. “Holy Cross gave me a tremendous education and the Jesuits gave me a good perspective. Patti gave me six terrific children, and now we have 14 grandkids.”
−The Armchair Golfer