Charles Andrews: the two-time Ryder Cup champion who led a charmed life

From listening to baseball legends talk about their famous, winning drives at the Ryder Cup to an auction of his prized equipment, the remarkable journey of American golfer Charles Andrews touched millions of fans as he made his career, until it was cut short at the age of 90.

While some people were surprised he lasted as long as he did as a professional golfer, the truth is it was all part of his plan.

When he began playing professionally he entered tournaments as a mini-tour player but in his late 60s he moved up to the senior tour, where the prize money was higher and he made a name for himself in Europe. He won the Tylersund Cup in 1977 and 1980 and he picked up eight European Tour titles, including one at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, for which he was awarded the Ryder Cup player of the year award. At the end of his career he had more than $3m (£2.12m) of earnings in the US and earned more than $300,000 in Europe.

He was a bit of a romantic and a big person in the community, an urban-at-heart blues rocker in his later years, whose ambition was to play to sell-out crowds on the 18th green at Augusta until he left the game in 1996 to return to work in a tyre factory.

But his happiness was always contented; he looked forward to visiting friends and family as a golf recidivist by the more selfish Tiger Woods, who was more often than not trying to outdo him as the best in the world.

They faced off in a friendly head-to-head on various occasions including at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, the European seniors event at St Andrews. Before his death on 1 October Andrews spoke of golf’s “curse of the oldest golfer” which had ruined the hopes of many of his contemporaries, such as David Graham and Nick Faldo.

“This is really sad,” he said, “but I’m happy because I don’t have the same desires to compete at the highest level any more.”

He worked for 17 years as a pallet driver for a tyre company, as the chief executive of the Thames Country Tourist Board and after selling land he decided to start a golf course management company and live on it for the rest of his life.

In 2008 he created a company, Andrews Golf Asset Management, to manage the group’s golf course interests in the US and Europe, including Sandy Lane in Reading, Barn Pawn in Spain and Huntington Club in the west of England.

Andrews was also involved in the management of a diverse range of other golf interests, including providing all his blood for “natural” blood transfusions in the late 50s after his wife had a serious illness. He also owned livestock and his role as a battery farmer in Pembrokeshire with his wife won him many friends in rural Wales.

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