November 23, 2015

Plenty of intriguing candidates populate the Volunteer State, from Nashville’s Brandt Snedeker to Germantown’s Loren Roberts. The Boss of the Moss has called Tennessee home since the 1980s and was voted into the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame in 2006. Still, it’s no contest. The dentist from Memphis, Dr. Cary Middlecoff, tops them all. Middlecoff won 40 PGA Tour titles, good for 10th place all time, including three majors, the U.S. Opens of 1949 and ’56 and the 1955 Masters. Middlecoff remains vastly underrated, partly because his era spanned Hogan, Snead and Palmer, partly because he was such a deliberate (read: slow) player and partly because he stepped away so early, after only a 15-year career. Middlecoff won four consecutive Tennessee Amateur titles from 1940-43 and eventually turned pro at 26. An elegant and powerful ballstriker and a superb putter, he entered only one British Open and played in only nine PGA Championships. Had he competed in more majors, he might have been one of the all-time greats.