1969 Masters winner dies at home in Incline Village
Associated Press and Tribune reports
INCLINE VILLAGE – George Archer, the 1969 Masters champion who was one of the best putters in the world during his long professional career, died Sunday after a yearlong battle with Burkitts Lymphoma. He was 65.
Archer died at his home in Incline Village, wife Donna said late Sunday night.
“I was holding him and it was a beautiful experience,” Donna Archer said. “He was quite expressive about what a wonderful life he’d had, to be able to have that kind of career. He was on the tour for 40 years.”
The 6-foot-5 1/2 Archer cut a memorable figure among professional golfers and stood almost doubled over when he used his trademark putting stroke.
At Augusta National in 1969, the 29-year-old Archer closed with an even-par 72 to beat Billy Casper, George Knudson and Tom Weiskopf by a stroke. He finished with a 7-under 281 total. Archer won 12 times on the PGA Tour and 19 times on the Champions Tour, the last in 2000 in the MasterCard Championship.
Three of Archer’s Champions Tour victories were in the Raley’s Gold Rush Classic in Rancho Murieta.
“He was always a gentleman and down to earth,” said Phil Weidinger, whose Stateline public relations firm worked the Classic for 12 years. “He was very accommodating to us and represented the Gold Rush in a very positive manner.”
Weidinger said that golf was only half of Archer’s sporting life. Fishing also was Archer’s game, and it wasn’t uncommon to see him head to the nearest pond following an 18-hole round.
“One time a guy asked him where his favorite spot was in Montana, and George said, ‘I’m not telling you. You’ll go up there and I’ll lose all of my fish,” Weidinger said.
He set the PGA Tour record for fewest putts in a four-round tournament with 95 in the 1980 Sea Pines Heritage Classic. The mark was broken by Bob Tway in 1986.
Archer, born in San Francisco, won his first PGA Tour title in his hometown, taking the 1965 Lucky International a year after turning pro.
His daughter, Elizabeth, became the first female caddie in the history of the Masters when she carried her father’s bag during the 1983 tournament.
After several rounds of chemotherapy in the past year, he gave up treatment five weeks ago. He left his house for a final round of golf on Aug. 25.
He’s survived by Donna, Elizabeth and another daughter, Marilyn.
A public memorial service is planned for Oct. 25 in Gilroy, Calif.