• PGA Philadelphia Section Hall of Fame •

Henry Gilford “Pic” Picard
Class of 2007

           

Henry Picard was born at Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1906 and he learned to play as at caddy at the Plymouth Country Club. His name was pronounced pea-CARD, but most people including his fellow professionals pronounced it PICK-erd. His friends called him “Pic”. Picard turned pro in 1924 and accompanied his boss to a winter job in Charleston, South Carolina where he was the winter pro. Within a few years he was named head professional at the Charleston Country Club. As a result of that he spent his early and last years as a golf professional in Charleston. Even though he had won several important tournaments by the early 1930s he changed to an interlocking grip at the suggestion of the famous golf instructor Alex Morrison. In 1934 he picked up his first big win at the North and South Open. That summer he finished fifth at the Hershey Open while setting a course record in one of the rounds. That fall he signed on as the professional at the Hershey Country Club where he stayed for six years, 1935 through 1940. Due to his association with Hershey the sportswriters began referring to him as the “The Chocolate Soldier”. Picard left the Section for three years and returned as the professional at the Country Club of Harrisburg in 1944 and 45. After leaving Harrisburg he was the pro at the Seminole Golf Club in the winter and the Canterbury Golf Club in the summer. In the mid 1960s he returned to the Section as the professional at the new Blue Mountain Country Club near Harrisburg for two years. Picard put together an outstanding national tournament record during his six years in Hershey. He won the Met Open in 1935 and the Masters Tournament in 1938. Just four weeks before the 1938 Masters Picard had changed his interlocking grip in that he put his thumb behind the shaft like you would hold a baseball bat. Picard did this at the suggestion of Morrison because of an injury to his left thumb. In 1939 he won the PGA Championship defeating Reading’s Byron Nelson in the finals on the 37th hole. He was on the Ryder Cup team in 1935, 1937 and 1939 and the leading money winner on the PGA Tour in 1939. During his six years at Hershey he won 22 times on the PGA Tour and he finished in the top twenty-five 118 times. One can understand why he didn’t have time to compete in section events. In 1940 at the peak of his career he began to curtail his tournament schedule. In 1945 he made a rare tournament appearance, winning for the last time at the Miami Open. Picard made one last run at a tour title at the 1950 PGA Championship only to lose in the semifinals on the 38th hole to Henry Williams, Jr. By that time Picard had arthritis in his hands to such an extent that he wore a glove on each hand. Picard did continue to play in the Masters Tournament most years, reaching a total of 29. During his career he won twenty-six PGA Tour events and was elected to the PGA Hall of Fame in 1961. After leaving the Canterbury job he returned to Charleston where he continued to teach the Morrison method. One of his pupils was Beth Daniel who he gave lessons to as a young girl. She went on to be a star on the LPGA Tour. In 2006 Picard was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame and Daniel gave his induction speech. He was elected to the Philadelphia PGA Hall of Fame in 2007.
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