Wednesday, March 19, 2003
Bayer, also ex-Redksins lineman, dies of heart attack
SEATTLE -- George Bayer, a former University of Washington
and Washington Redskins lineman who won three PGA Tour events and
was known for 300-yard drives, is dead at age 77.
Bayer, a native of Bremerton, died Sunday of a heart attack
while he and his wife Marianne were dining with former Masters
champion Bob Goalby and Goalby's wife in the Bayers' home in Palm
Bayer, who started in golf as a caddie at the Kitsap Golf and
Country Club between Silverdale and Bremerton but didn't begin
playing professionally until he was 29, won the 1957 Canadian Open,
1958 Mayfair Inn Open and 1960 St. Petersburg Open.
At 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds in his prime, he hit drives exceeding
300 yards at a time of wooden clubs and low-technology golf balls.
He once set a record, later surpassed, with a tournament drive of
Born in Bremerton, Bayer enlisted in the Navy out of high
school, enrolled at the University of Washington after World War II
and played football for the Huskies in 1946-49.
As a senior he played in the 1949 East-West Shrine Game and was
drafted in the 20th ground by the Washington Redskins but quit
after six games because a dispute with the team owner, George
''He would come out of the stands and make substitutions,''
Bayer told The Sun of Bremerton in an interview in 2000. ''I
thought the coach or someone sitting on the bench was supposed to
A series of amateur golf tournament appearances led to an
invitation to play with entertainers Bob Hope and Danny Kaye,
Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black and actor Gary Cooper in a
celebrity event in Palm Springs, Calif.
That got him invited to the National Celebrities tournament in
Washington, D.C., in 1953, and within two years he was a regular on
the PGA Tour.
Bayer earned $428,862 on the PGA and Senior PGA tours before
retiring from regular competition in 1997.
In his final tournament, Bayer and partner Howie Johnson
finished seventh in the 70-and-older division at the Liberty Mutual
Legends of Golf last year.
Other survivors include five children. Funeral services were
scheduled Friday at FitzHenry Funeral Home in Palm Desert.