He is perhaps best known to a modern generation of golf fans as that guy who dominated the Champions Tour. Hale Irwin also carved out a fine career in his younger years. A three-time winner of the US Open (1974, 1979, 1990), Irwin is also famous for holing a 45-foot putt on the 72nd hole at the 1990 Open and then proceeding to high-five the fans along the gallery ropes.
Irwin is a fine athlete all-around, twice earning Big Eight all-conference honors as a defensive back for the University of Colorado football team. He turned professional in 1968, scoring his first victory in 1971 at the Sea Pines Heritage Classic – an event where he also captured the last of his 20 PGA Tour victories in 1994. Irwin was known to excel in difficult venues such as at the US Open and Harbour Town, along with Muirfield Village and Butler National. He twice was a winner of the grueling Piccadilly World Match Play Championship at Wentworth.
On the Champions Tour, Irwin won 45 times, which is a record that may never be broken. He was player of the year three times, and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1992. Irwin continues to play a full schedule on the Champions Tour at the age of 66.