• PGA Philadelphia Section Hall of Fame •

Frederick J. "Fred" Byrod
Class of 1993

     

Fred Byrod was born in Sunbury, Pennsylvania in 1911 where his father and uncle owned the local newspaper. By the time he was in high school he was writing articles on sports for the newspaper, which brought him to Temple University and the study of journalism. He graduated from Temple in 1933 but he had already been working for The Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper since 1929. When the United States became involved in World War II Byrod interrupted his career to enlist in the Army and was commissioned in 1942. He served for three years in the South Pacific as an infantry officer on Iwo Jima and New Caldonia. When the war ended he returned to the Inquirer. He was promoted to sports editor in 1958 and held that position until his retirement in 1976. In the 1940s he became involved in promoting Philadelphia golf when the Inquirer sponsored the PGA Tourís Inquirer Invitation Golf Tournament, which was held at the Torresdale-Frankford CC, Llanerch CC, Cedarbrook CC and the Whitemarsh Valley CC, for a total of five years. Byrod began his promotion of the tournament each year by attending the Masters Tournament in April. The tournament was managed by The Philadelphia Inquirer Charities, Inc. and the Philadelphia Section PGA. When Byrod was at the Masters interviewing the leading players the Inquirer tournament would get mentioned. Right after the Masters he would begin writing articles in the newspaper to inform the local golf fans about the big name golfers that were coming to Philadelphia for the tournament. The year that the tournament was at Cedarbrook, Byrod used his persuasive powers and a bottle of red wine to sign up Bobby Locke for the tournament, which he went on to win. Byrod covered 29 Masters Tournaments, 28 U.S. Opens and twelve PGA Championships for the Inquirer. Over the years he became known and respected by the players. In Byrodís later years

Fred with Ben Hogan
at the Masters he would be summoned to Bobby Jonesís cabin for a private interview. When Ben Hogan won the U.S. Open at Merion GC in 1950 it was just 16-months after his near-fatal automobile accident. Having played 90 holes in four days Hogan informed the press that he was too exhausted for interviews. After some prodding he relented and said that he would speak only to Fred Byrod. Byrod had experience doing private interviews with big name golfers. In 1939 the U.S. Open was being held at the Philadelphia Country Club and Byron Nelson was the professional at the Reading CC. The Inquirer had Byrod hire Nelson to do a story on the U.S. Open each day of the tournament. After each round Byrod would interview Nelson for the article, which Byrod would write. The Inquirer would print it under Nelsonís name, with no mention of Byrod. During World War II he served three years in the South Pacific rising to rank of captain in the army. After retiring from the Inquirer in 1976 the newspaper still featured a golf column by him each week. He didnít play golf until after he had begun writing about it. Byrod said that from the beginning Ed Dudley and Marty Lyons took an interest in him, explaining tournament golf and introducing him to the better players. With the help of George Fazio and Bud Lewis he learned to play well enough to break 80 on occasion and he won the Philadelphia Newspapermenís golf championship twice. Byrod was president of the Philadelphia Sportswriters and the Golf Writers Association of America. He became a walking encyclopedia on golf in Philadelphia. He was known for never missing a thing in his interviews and the accuracy of his articles. When a new magazine called Philadelphia Golf Magazine started up in 1986 he was Executive Editor, which featured more than one article by him each month. He was a tireless promoter of golf in Philadelphia and the Philadelphia PGA. Byrod was inducted into the Philadelphia Section PGA Hall of Fame in 1993.

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