||President George W. Bush signs H.R. 4902, awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to Byron Nelson, the highest award bestowed by the Legislative Branch of the United States government, and the first time it had ever been granted to a golfer. The resolution cites his "significant contributions to the game of golf as a player, a teacher, and a commentator." Although the award procedure had begun back in March, Nelson died on September 26, less than three weeks before the approval process was finalised.
Winner of five major championships and 52 PGA Tour titles, Nelson will forever be remembered for the remarkable feat of winning 11 straight events in 1945, including the PGA Championship - that year's only major - and a total of 18 of the 31 he entered. The caveat that he achieved this against war-depleted fields is unfair, given that the other two greats of his day, Ben Hogan and Sam Snead, were often in the fields, and indeed themselves won multiple times in 1945. (Nelson in fact won a 12th tournament in the streak of 11, but it was over 36 holes so deemed not to count.) This was part of an extraordinary run of form between 1942 and 1946, when he had 65 consecutive top 10s, only once finishing outside the top 10, with 34 victories and 16 runner-up places.
The only other golfer to receive the award is Arnold Palmer, in 2009.