Dentist and Golfer - Cary Middlecoff

Last Editorial Review: 10/28/2002

Some people in the health sciences make more of a name for themselves in another area of life, as was the case with Dr. Cary Middlecoff, a dentist, who as a professional golfer won fame (and more prize money than anyone else) in the 1950's. Dr. Middlecoff died of congestive heart failure in Memphis, Tennessee on September 1, 1998 at the age of 77.

Dr. Middlecoff grew up in Memphis, where his father Dr. Herman Middlecoff, a dentist, was club golf champion and taught him to play. Cary Middlecoff learned to play well and at 17 was Memphis city champion.

Middlecoff graduated from the Tennessee College of Dentistry in 1944 and became an Army dentist. According to the Army records, in 18 months he filled 12,093 teeth.

After Dr, Middlecoff was discharged from the Army in 1946, he joined his father's dental practice. He began playing golf full-time a year later.

His father asked a friend, the great golfer Bobby Jones, to persuade Cary to come back to dentistry. Jones agreed and tried. When Middlecoff won the 1955 Masters tournament, Jones admitted, "The way he filled those 72 cavities during the last four days makes me think I may have been wrong."

Dr. Middlecoff never filled another tooth!

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