“Since I was in bushes all the time, and couldn’t control my shots, I decided to shorten my swing,” he said. “I started keeping the ball in play and started playing much better.”
Thomson, who called Nagle “Mr. Accuracy, the Ben Hogan of Australia,” and ranked him one of the dozen best players he ever saw, said Nagle had a natural temperament for tournament golf. “There was absolutely no malice in him, or vice of any kind, and he was always in good humour,” said Thomson.
The pair won the Canada Cup (now the World Cup) in 1954, and again before home crowds on the glassy greens of Royal Melbourne in 1959. Of Nagle’s performance, Sam Snead said, “Kel never hit one bad putt. I’ve never seen putting like that in my life.”
It was the onset of a late prime. After his victory at St Andrews, Nagle won the 1961 French and Swiss Opens, and in 1964, won the Canadian Open, again nipping Palmer. In the Open Championship from 1960 to 1966, he was only out of the top 5 once.
Nagle nearly won a second Major Championship at the 1965 U.S. Open at Bellerive, where he tied Gary Player after 72 holes before losing the 18-hole playoff 71-74. But he continued winning against younger men, taking the 1969 New Zealand Open, and at age 54, the New Zealand PGA in 1975. He also won the World Seniors in 1971 and 1975, and thrice won the European Seniors.
Throughout, Nagle was considered one of the game’s great gentlemen. Bruce Devlin name his son after Nagle, and Player once said, “I can honestly say I never met anybody in my life that didn’t really like Kel Nagle.”
Kel Nagle was originally inducted through the Veterans category.