McLeod, Fred (1991)

About McLeod, Fred (1991)

1882 – 1976.  Fred McLeod’s PGA Hall of Fame career included distinction as a founding member of The PGA in 1916, and election as the first President the District of Columbia Professional Golfers’ Association in 1923.  As a player, his 1908 US Open title highlighted a stellar career.

He came to the United States in 1903 from North Berwick, Scotland, at age 21.  Before becoming the Head PGA Professional at Columbia County Club, where his tenure lasted for fifty-five years, (1912 – 1967), he was the Head PGA Professional at Rockford CC, St. Louis CC and Midlothian CC.

Fred played in twenty-four US Opens, seventeen of them consecutively, 1903 – 1921.  He won the 1908 US Open at Myopia Hunt Club with a six stroke victory over Willie Smith in an 18 – hole playoff.  Fred finished fourth in 1910 and 1911, but only one stroke off the lead; tied for third in 1914; and tied for second along with Walter Hagen on his home course in the 1921 US Open.

He also won the 1909 and 1920 North – South Opens, and the 1922 St. Petersburg Open.  He finished fifth on the PGA money list in 1921.  While living in the mid West, he won the Western PGA titles in 1905 and 1907.  Also, he twice finished as runnerup in the prestigious Western Open.

Playing in seven PGA Championships in the match play era, Fred made it all the way to the finals in the second playing of the PGA Championship in 1919, where lost to his friend, Jim Barnes.  In 1921 and 1923, he played through until the semifinals and quarterfinals, respectively.  Noteworthy match victories in PGA Championships include winning over J.D. Edgar in 1919, Jack Gordon in 1921, and Wiffy Cox and Clarence Hackney in 1923.

After finishing seventh in the 1921 British Open at Royal Lytham and St. Anne’s, Fred went to Wentworth to take part in the informal Anglo-American matches that proved to be the forerunner of the Ryder Cup that officially began in 1927.  He defeated J.H. Taylor 1-up in the matches by winning the last three holes.

Locally, at age 45, he won the Maryland Open in 1927 at Fountain Head.  The previous year he had finished a stroke behind Leo Diegel at Rolling Road.  Fred played in the Middle Atlantic Opens organized by the MAPGA in the late 1902s.  The tournament attracted many well-known touring professionals. In 1927, he lost the championship in a playoff to Leo Diegel. He played in thirteen PGA Seniors’ Championships, winning the second edition in 1938 at Augusta following a fourth place finish in 1937.  In 1954, he won the 70 – 74 year old division.

Membership of the newly formed MAPGA Section elected him their first President, serving in 1925 until April, 1926.  The previous year, the Washington DC area professionals elected him the first President of the District of Columbia PGA, an organization which lasted through 1927.

Over his years at Columbia, Fred McLeod organized, hosted and played in important exhibitions with the world’s premier players, including: Chick Evans, Jim Barnes, Harry Vardon, Ted Ray, Gene Sarazen, Jock Hutchison, Leo Diegel, Arthur Havers, Jim Ockenden, Tommy Armour, MacDonald Smith, Joyce Wethered, Glenna Collett Ware; and of course, Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen.

The National PGA Hall of Fame elected him to their body in 1960.  In 1967, at the age of 85, he had his eighth hole-in-one.  His “Ringer” score at Columbia Country Club was 39 (21 + 18)!  He started matching his score to his age at 66.   In 1967, he walked18 holes in the MAPGA Pro-President commenting that he never played golf while riding in a golf cart.  (rev. 2007)