Thomas Oliver Kite Jr., or popularly known as Tom Kite, is a professional golfer and golf course architect. Throughout his career, Kite spent about 175 weeks in the top-10 of the Official World Golf Ranking. He also has 19 PGA Tour victories, and he also holds a record for making it to the first four U.S.U.S. Opens. Aside from being a talented golfer, Tom Kite is also a golf course designer; in fact, he successfully completed several golf courses. In this article, we are going to know more about the career of Tom Kite.
Born in McKinney, Texas, Tom Kite started having an interest in playing golf at the age of 6. In fact, he was able to win his first tournament when he was just 11-years-old. When he was just a kid, Kite’s family moved to Austin, where he met Ben Crenshaw. At first, Kite and Crenshaw became rivals but later turned into friends, as they went against each other in junior golf and high school golf.
After Kite and Crenshaw finished high school, both of them had the opportunity to play college golf at the University of Texas. During the 1972 NCAA Championship, Crenshaw and Kite tied and shared a trophy.
During the 1980s, only a few players were able to match the Kite’s consistency. Most of his 19 career victories came during this period. In 1981 and 1982, Kite was able to win the Vardon Trophy for low scoring average. And he became Player of the Year in 1989.
From 1981 to 1987, Kite was able to win at least once every year and then twice more in 1989, which includes The Players Championship. Kite’s last PGA Tour win was in 1993, and throughout his PGA Tour career, Kite was able to make 590 cuts, which happens to be the second-most in Tour history. Aside from his 19 wins, Kite also has 29 second-place finishes and 209 career Top 10s.
The U.S.U.S. Open
For most of his career, the only thing missing that Kite doesn’t have is a major championship victory. And he was tagged as “the best golfer without a major,” that is why Kite was more driven to get a major championship victory. In 1992, Tom Kite finally got a major championship victory by winning the 1992 U.S.U.S. Open.
The Ryder Cup
Tom Kite was always a Team USA member during the era in Ryder Cup history, where Team Europe began getting more competitive and regularly winning. The Kite was a member of Team USA in every from 1979 through 1989, and in 1993. Tom Kite is considered to be one of the most successful players in Ryder Cup history. He has an overall record of 15-9-4 in Ryder Cup matches, and during that time, Kite was able to remain undefeated in seven singles matches.
Kite’s Later Career
Kite’s final tour win before senior golf happened in 1996 at the Oki Pro-Am on the European Tour. In 2000, he decided to join the Champions Tour, and amazingly enough, it didn’t take that long for him to grab an award: Tom Kite was able to bag the title at The Tradition, which is senior major, that year.
After a year, Tom Kite finished fifth at the U.S.U.S. Open – the main one – is considered the best finish by a senior golfer in a major since Sam Snead at the 1974 PGA Championship. In total, Tom Kite eventually won 10 times on the Champions Tour.
Aside from being a skillful golfer, Kite also co-authored several instructional books and appeared in several instructional videos. Kite also decided to add a golf course designer to his list of the profession. He successfully designed and built several golf courses where he collaborated with Randy Russell, Bob Cupp, and Roy Bechtol. In 2004, Tom Kite was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.