March 31, 2023
Jim Ferree, who was instrumental in the rise of PGA Tour champions, dies at 91

Jim Ferree, who was instrumental in the rise of PGA Tour champions, dies at 91

Jim Ferree, who won two PGA Tour Champions events and the 1958 Vancouver Open, died Tuesday. He was 91 years old.

Born June 10, 1931, in Pinebluff, North Carolina, Ferree learned the game from his father, Purvis, a longtime professional golfer who also played occasionally on the PGA Tour between the 1930s and 1960s.

Ferree graduated from North Carolina and was widely considered one of the best tee-to-green players of his generation. Putting on was often a struggle. He also wore trademark panties and a flat hat.

He joined the PGA Tour Champions in 1981 (then known as the Senior PGA Tour). Then-PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman chose Ferree to be modeled for the breeched player in that Tour’s logo, and thus created a living logo. Ferree is often cited as one of the players who was instrumental in helping get PGA Tour Champions off the ground. The Champions tour named Ferree their Comeback Player of the Year in 1993 after he recovered from prostate cancer. He won twice on that circuit: at the 1986 Greater Grand Rapids Open and at the 1991 Bell Atlantic Classic. He played in 407 official events and added 12 runners-up in a career that ended in 2002. However, he was still active, playing every year in the Demaret Division of the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, winning that division with partner Miller Barber in 2003.

While still active in PGA Tour Champions, he became the head pro at Westmoreland Country Club in Pennsylvania and, in 1991, became the first golfer inducted into the University of North Carolina Hall of Fame.

The story originally appeared on GolfWeek

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