Mike Austin Record Holder for Longest Drive Dead at 95


Mike Austin, whose 515-yard drive in 1974 stands as the longest ever in a professional golf tournament, has died.
He was 95.
Austin died Tuesday of natural causes at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital, according to his wife, Tanya.
Mike Austin was 64 years old when he hit the soaring drive in the U.S. National Seniors Open Championship in Las Vegas. With help from a 27-mph tail wind, the ball ran well clear of the green 450 yards away.
'It was like God held the ball in the air,' recalled Tanya Austin, who watched the drive.
The record has held up for more than two decades despite advances in ball and driver technology. Austin used a standard persimmon wood club with a steel shaft.
Second on the list is a 476-yard drive hit in 2004 by Davis Love III.
Michael Austin was born in 1910 on Guernsey, one of Britain's Channel Islands, and moved to Los Angeles in 1939. He had a brief career as a professional golfer, but never had the short game to match his distance off the tee.
He became one of the area's best-known golf teachers, voted Southern California Golf Professional of the Year in 1984 and named among the top 50 golf instructors in the United States in 1991.
Austin was left partially paralyzed by a stroke in 1989, but continued to give lessons until about two weeks before his death, his wife said. The couple had no children.
A private memorial service was scheduled for Dec. 2.
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