Former Tour Winner Fezler Dies Of Brain Cancer

Former PGA Tour winner and golf course designer Forrest Fezler died on Friday at his home in Florida following a battle with brain cancer. He was 69.

Fezler is best known for wearing shorts on the 72nd hole of the 1983 U.S. Open as a form of protest against the PGA Tour for not allowing pros to wear shorts in hot temperatures.

“I went brain dead for a few minutes of my life and it brought me publicity for 30-some years,” Fezler told The Denver Post. “I’m glad I did it.”

According to the Society of Golf Historians, “In a mild form of protest Forrest Fezler ducked into a porta potty on the 72nd hole of the ‘83 US Open at Oakmont & changed into shorts to play up the 18th. While the PGA Tour had a rule against wearing shorts, at the time the USGA did not. Forrest exploited that rule (if only for one hole). The USGA added the trouser rule thereafter. A Golfing Rebel with a cause.”

Beyond his most famous moment, Fezler played 12 years on the PGA Tour with his best season coming in 1974 when he won the Southern Open. He notched his best major championship finish that year as well, coming runner-up to Hale Irwin at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot. Prior to that, he was the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year in 1973.

Over the course of his career, Fezler finished in the top-10 30 times, including eight runner-up finishes. 

In his post-playing career, Fezler teamed up with the likes of  Tom Fazio, Mike Strantz, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Johnny Miller to design and build golf courses around the country. Among his most notable contributions were Monterey Peninsula Country Club’s Shore Course and PGA National’s Palmer Course.