Dan Pohl was best known as of the longest hitters in golf, but he proved he had a complete game by winning twice on the PGA Tour, playing on the 1987 U.S. Ryder Cup and winning the Vardon Trophy for best stroke average for an entire tour season, also in 1987.
The Mount Pleasant native started building his reputation as an all-state golfer and three-sport standout in high school. He won the Michigan Amateur Championship in 1975 and 1977. His ’75 win was memorable because he topped fellow Michigan Golf Hall of Famer Bud Stevens, another renowned long hitter, in the final match.
He played collegiate golf at the University of Arizona where he earned All-America honors in 1976 and ’77, and he finished fifth individually in the 1977 NCAA Championships.
Pohl turned professional and started his PGA Tour career in 1978. He played for more than 20 years and despite multiple injuries counted 421 PGA Tour tournaments and 300 made cuts with 70 top-10 finishes and over $3 million in earnings. His two wins were both in 1986 at the Colonial National Invitational at Fort Worth where he beat Payne Stewart in a playoff, and the NEC World Series of Golf at Firestone in Akron, Ohio, where he beat Lanny Wadkins by one shot.
He finished a career-best fifth on the money list in 1986, and in 1987 followed it up by winning the Vardon Trophy with a 70.25 stroke average and playing on the Ryder Cup team for captain Jack Nicklaus. True to his reputation as a long hitter, he led the tour in driving average in 1980 and ’81.
His most-remembered second-place finish was in the 1982 Masters. Tied after regulation play with consecutive rounds of 67 on the weekend, he lost to Craig Stadler in a sudden-death playoff.
He played briefly on the Champions Tour when he turned 50 in 2005, but surgery on both knees, his lower back and neck curtailed his ability to play consecutive rounds in tournaments.
Pohl has also tried his hand in golf course design with success and has worked for NBC Sports as an on-course TV golf analyst. He designed the Pohlcat Golf Course in Mount Pleasant, where he is currently director of instruction.