• PGA Philadelphia Section Hall of Fame •

Edward Bishop "Ed" Dudley
Class of 1992

           

Ed Dudley was born in Brunswick, Georgia in 1901. After working in California and Oklahoma along with playing the PGA Tour he arrived in the Section in 1929 as the professional at the Concord Country Club. As a member of the Ryder Cup Team that year he had national playing credentials. After returning from the Ryder Cup matches in England Dudley lived up to his reputation by winning the Pennsylvania Open and the Philadelphia Open that summer. He continued to play at that same level through the 1930s, as he was a member of two more Ryder Cup teams in 1933 and 1937. In 1931, the year of the balloon ball, he won the Western Open, which was considered a major at the time, and the Los Angeles Open. He finished the year with the low scoring average on the PGA Tour. The “balloon ball” was a lighter golf ball that the USGA went to for one year in order to control the distance that the ball traveled. Dudley had 15 wins on the PGA Tour and finished second 11 times. Early in his career Dudley worked winters for Tommy Armour as his first assistant at the Boca Raton Resort & Club in Florida when he wasn’t playing in tournaments. In 1933 he took a winter job as the first head professional at the Augusta National Golf Club. As a native of Georgia he was a golfing contemporary of Bobby Jones and he was Jones’ first choice to be the professional at Augusta National. In the first eight Masters Tournaments Dudley finished in the top ten each year, with a third place finish in 1937. While in the Section he won the Philadelphia Open four times and the Pennsylvania Open three times. He also won four consecutive Philadelphia Section professional championships that were played each year with a different format from the Section Championship. The last three were played at stroke play for the Public Ledger Cup, of which he took permanent possession. The only championship in Philadelphia that he didn’t win was the Section Championship. He came close in 1940 losing in the finals one-down. Sixteen times he qualified on site at the national PGA Championship for the match play. He reached the semifinals once and the quarterfinals five times. Dudley had finishes of fifth and sixth in the U.S. Open along with sixth and seventh in the British Open. He finished among the top ten in the major tournaments 19 times. Dudley won 15 times on the PGA Tour. In 1934 he left Concord to become the head professional at the Philadelphia Country Club. He held both of those positions, Philadelphia in the summer and Augusta during the winter, until 1941 when he left the Philadelphia Country Club for The Broadmoor in Colorado. When Augusta National closed in 1943 for World War II Dudley was named professional at the Atlantic City Country Club, where he stayed two years. When the war ended Dudley went back to being the professional at Augusta in the winter and the Broadmoor in the summer. After 27 winters at Augusta National, Dudley left for a winter job as the professional at the new Dorado Beach Golf Club while still holding his summer job at the Broadmoor. At Dorado Dudley gave Chi-Chi Rodriguez his start in golf as the caddy master first and then as his assistant. Dudley was elected ninth president of the Philadelphia Section in 1935 and was reelected six more times. During that time he was the tournament chairman of the PGA of America for six years and a national vice president at large for five years. He hosted the U.S. Open at the Philadelphia Country Club in 1939. In late 1941 Dudley was elected president of the PGA of America and he also held that office for seven years. During World War II Dudley convinced the United States government to exempt the golf professionals from gas rationing because they needed to continue the golf tournaments for their livelihood. Along with that professional golf raised many dollars for wartime charities and it was also thought that the golf fans needed a diversion from the war. In 1943 the PGA Tour had only offered a few events because the sponsors of the tournaments couldn’t be sure if the touring pros could get to their cities. After Dudley got the government’s approval to keep tournament golf going the PGA Tour came back with almost a full schedule in 1944. For the same reason the local pros were able to keep their schedule going as well. Dudley remained a member of the Section until 1948 when he had to transfer to the Southeastern PGA Section. The PGA had made a rule that a professional had to be a member of the Section where he was employed. Dudley was probably the most multi talented and successful professional in the Section’s history. He was honorary captain of the Ryder Cup team in 1949, inducted into the PGA Hall of Fame in 1964 and selected as an original member of the Philadelphia Section PGA Hall of Fame in 1992.
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