Phil Rodgers, ‘Brashest Man in Golf,’ Is Dead at 80

Phil Rodgers, a five-time PGA Tour winner who was denied a major tournament victory when he lost in a playoff at the 1963 British Open, died on Tuesday at his home in San Diego. He was 80.

The PGA Tour announced his death. He had been treated for leukemia for many years.

Rodgers recorded his tour victories from 1962 to 1966; in one, the 1962 Los Angeles Open, he won by a commanding nine strokes. But after turning 28, he never won again.

Blond-haired and pudgy, Rodgers was known for his outspoken self-regard. “He was supremely confident about his ability, as well he should have been,” a friend and golf partner, Chuck Courtney, told The San Diego Union-Tribune. “And he wasn’t afraid to tell you.”

Rodgers made the Jan. 14, 1963, cover of Sports Illustrated under the headline “The Brashest Man in Golf.”

Though he never won a major championship, he came close at the British Open.

After finishing third in 1962 at Troon in Scotland (Arnold Palmer won the Claret Jug that year), he tied with the New Zealander Bob Charles after 72 holes at Royal Lytham in England in 1963, one stroke ahead of Jack Nicklaus. The Open used a 36-hole playoff at the time, and Charles prevailed easily by eight strokes.

Rodgers went on to finish fourth at the 1966 British Open, at Muirfield in Scotland, which was won by Nicklaus, the first of his three Open Championship victories.

Rodgers’s best result in an American major was a tie for third at the 1962 United States Open at Oakmont, in Pennsylvania, where Nicklaus famously defeated Palmer in an 18-hole playoff.

After leaving the tour, Rodgers became a golf instructor. Nicklaus said Rodgers had helped him improve his short game in time to win the 1980 U.S. Open at Baltusrol in New Jersey.

“Phil totally revamped my short game and gave me confidence,” he said. “It was a significant part of why I won.”

On Twitter, Nicklaus wrote: “I knew Phil for almost 65 years. Terrific ball-striker and great short game, he became a gifted teacher.”

Rodgers was born in San Diego on April 3, 1938, and became an outstanding junior golfer and member of the University of Houston team. He won the 1958 N.C.A.A. Championship before leaving college to join the Marine Corps. He turned pro in 1961.

His survivors include his wife of 33 years, Karen.

The New York Times contributed reporting.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page B17 of the New York edition with the headline: Phil Rodgers, 80, the ‘Brashest Man in Golf’. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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