The medal is intended to honor the 94-year-old Nelson for his philanthropy, said Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Flower Mound, who sponsored the bill approved by a voice vote Tuesday.
'Through his outstanding accomplishments as a golfer and a humanitarian, Byron Nelson has proved to be an exemplary citizen,' Burgess said in a statement.
The PGA TOUR event that bears his name -- the EDS Byron Nelson Championship -- begins Thursday in Irving, Texas.
The tournament has raised more than $88 million since 1968 -- when it was first named after Nelson -- for the Dallas-based Salesman Club Youth and Family Centers. The centers provide education and mental health services to children and families, regardless of family income, Burgess said.
The tournament is the only stop on the PGA TOUR named after a player. It raises about 10 percent of all the money raised by PGA TOUR events for charity, tournament spokesman Bob Brand said Wednesday.
The Byron and Louise Nelson Golf Endowment Fund also has provided over $1.5 million to Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas.
Nelson had 54 career victories, including 11 consecutive wins in 1945.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is sponsoring the Senate version of the bill.
The Congressional Gold Medal is Congress' highest award.
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