JACKSON, Mich. – Dave Hill, a 13-time winner on the PGA Tour who made three Ryder Cup appearances and won the 1969 Vardon Trophy for the tour’s lowest scoring average, has died. He was 74.
Hill died Tuesday in Jackson. He suffered from emphysema for several years, brother Mike Hill – also a former PGA Tour player – told the Jackson (Mich.) Citizen Patriot.
Hill finished second in the 1970 U.S. Open at Hazeltine in Minnesota, making headlines for saying the course “lacked only 80 acres of corn and a few cows to be a good farm” and that architect Robert Trent Jones “had the blueprints upside down.”
“What he said about Hazeltine was the absolute, honest-to-God truth,” Mike Hill said. “Players like Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player sat in the locker room and laughed. They knew it was true, but because of them not wanting to be involved, they would never say it. He was opinionated and stubborn. If he felt he was seeing things that weren’t right, he always spoke out. He used to say, if you don’t like the answer, you shouldn’t ask the question.”
In 1969, Hill won three tournaments, finished second on the money list and earned his first Ryder Cup appearance in addition to taking the Vardon Trophy with a 70.34 scoring average.
“Having the best stroke average was the thing that gave him the most satisfaction,” Mike Hill said. “His biggest disappointment was not winning the U.S. Open like he felt he should have.”
Hill also won six times on the Champions Tour.
“He is Jackson golf, as far as I’m concerned,” said Ron Beurmann, golf professional at the Country Club of Jackson. “You go anywhere in my world and tell somebody you’re from Jackson, and nine of 10 people will ask you, `Isn’t that where Dave and Mike Hill are from?”’
Hill is survived by son David and daughter Laura.
Services are scheduled Sunday at Clark Lake Golf Course.