Larry Nelson to receive award from PGA

Updated: April 13, 2011, 12:17 PM ET
Associated Press

Three-time major champion Larry Nelson, who didn't take up golf until he returned from the Vietnam War, will receive the PGA Distinguished Service Award.

Nelson, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, will be honored Aug. 10 during the PGA Championship. It's being played at Atlanta Athletic Club, where 30 years ago Nelson won his first major at the PGA. He also won the 1987 PGA Championship at PGA National, and the 1983 U.S. Open at Oakmont.

He also played on three Ryder Cup teams, and went 5-0 as a rookie in 1979 at The Greenbrier.

"It's quite an honor, and I'm very humbled by it," Nelson said. "I have been very blessed in my career, and have been fortunate that golf has allowed me to meet many around the world, develop special friendship and serve others."

What made Nelson such an inspiration was his late start in the game. He spent two years in Vietnam with the Army, and didn't start playing golf until he was out of the service. He read Ben Hogan's book, "The Five Fundamentals of Golf," broke 100 the first time he played and broke 70 for the first time within nine months.

"Larry Nelson is one of golf's consummate champions, who performed at the highest level on many of the game's grandest stages and has carried himself with dignity and grace to become one of the sport's most respected ambassadors," PGA of America president Allen Wronowski said.

The PGA Distinguished Service Award, which began in 1988, honors outstanding individuals who display leadership and humanitarian qualities, including integrity, sportsmanship and enthusiasm for the game of golf.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press