Billy Joe Patton
Billy Joe Patton's golf is an international affair. His golf swing has been witnessed on the Old Course of St. Andrews, in the Amen Corner of Augusta National, and all over the mountains of his homeland Carolinas. A member of the Walker Cup team an amazing six times, Patton was also on the Americas Cup team four times, and the World Amateur twice. Needless to say, Patton has been around the block a few times.
At only 32, Patton was the low amateur at both the Masters and the U.S. Open and already a member of his first Walker Cup team. This was after winning the Carolinas Golf Association Amateur Championship eight years earlier. Patton would again be the low amateur at the U.S. Open and the Masters in 1957 and 1958 respectively, as well as win two more CGA Amateur Championships.
From 1954 to 1969, Billy Joe Patton spent a lot of time crossing national borders. Along with his teammates, he won 12 international competitions, and on two Americas Cup teams and one Walker Cup team, he served as captain.
But the world was not Patton's only stage, he won three North and South Amateurs, three CGA Amateurs, two Southern Amateurs, two CGA Father/Son Amateurs with his son Chuck, two CGA Senior Amateurs, the North Carolina Amateur, and the CGA Senior Four-Ball.
Patton had a love of life and of golf. His excitement for the game was so noticed, the USGA Golf Journal once wrote of him, "Patton('s) enthusiasm for all things is such that he could probably make the Dewey Decimal System sound like an exciting way of life." Following a particularly tough hole that possibly cost him the Masters, he looked at the downcast gallery, all of whom were hoping for a Patton win, and said, "This is no funeral. Let's smile again."
After a lifetime of wins and contributions to golf, Patton was awarded the Bob Jones Trophy in 1982. One of the nominators of Patton wrote: "There are countless instances of Patton's exemplary approach to the game of golf. He played it as a sport and with an innate sportsmanship that few people in the last quarter century have come close to."
Billy Joe Patton was inducted into the Southern Golf Association Hall of Fame in 1975 because of his enthusiasm for the game of golf and for his contributions to the sport that took him the world over.