Rudy Horvath was a very successful amateur and professional golfer in the middle of the twentieth century. Formerly Canada’s top amateur golfer, Horvath competed in several Majors on the PGA Tour in the United States.
Born in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, on April 3, 1923, Horvath immigrated to Canada and settled in the Windsor area as a child.
Horvath learned the rudiments of golf as a caddy at Devonshire and Dominion Golf Clubs in Windsor. Specifically, his experience working with Joe Bialkowski, a local club professional, was invaluable.
At the age of 15, Horvath was already a successful junior amateur golfer. After winning the Western Ontario Public Links tournament in London, he twice captured the Ontario Junior Championship.
Horvath’s career shifted overseas for a time during World War II. In Europe, he won the Welsh Amateur Championship at the Maesdu Golf Club in Liandudno, Wales. He also topped the leaderboard at the Royal Canadian Air Force Overseas Open, held at Scotland’s fabled St. Andrews course.
Back on Canadian soil, Horvath achieved further success as he transitioned into a professional career. He won the Western Ontario Amateur in 1944 and, two years later, advanced to the quarterfinals of the United States Public Course Tournament.
1947 proved to be the most successful year of Horvath’s career as an amateur. Along with winning the Quebec Open and Ontario Amateur, Horvath led Ontario to victory at the Willingdon Cup Inter-Provincial Championship. Collectively, these accolades cemented Horvath’s place as Ontario’s leading amateur golfer.
Years later, Horvath won the full 1954 Ontario Open. On February 18 of that same year, he shot a 61 at the Texas Open in San Antonio. Horvath’s round was the lowest round ever scored by a foreign player at a PGA Tour event. His record stood for 36 years.
Over the course of his professional career, Horvath placed in the top 30 on the PGA Money List, played in five US Opens, and competed in the Masters at the famed Augusta National course.
Rudy Horvath passed away on April 11, 2008, shortly after his 85th birthday.