William A. “Billy” Booe
1948 team captain and PGA pro
The first Yale graduate to become a professional golfer was better known for his football career. Billy Booe (Class of 1948) was raised in Shelton, Connecticut and attended Wilbraham Academy in Massachusetts before coming to Yale. As the place-kicker on coach Herman Hickman’s Yale football team, he set a record of thirty-four consecutive points after touchdown that was not broken until 2003.
Booe also played on the golf team, which he captained in 1948. The golf team won no championships from 1944 to 1949. What Billy Booe did after graduation is not known, but he played in the US Amateur for the first time in 1955. He reached the semi-final where he lost to Harvie Ward, the 1952 British Amateur Champion.
In 1956 Booe became the assistant professional to Charlie Petrino at the Brooklawn Country Club in Bridgeport. He played in the Metropolitan Open that year and the following year won $1,000 in PGA-sponsored tournaments. He led 101 qualifiers in the 1958 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am tournament at Pebble Beach California. His score of 69 beat Tony Lema by 0ne stroke. Unfortunately he didn’t advance past the second round after shooting 72-79.
In 1968 Billy Booe was very much involved in the formation of the PGA Tour. The leading professional golfers of that time, including Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Billy Casper, became dissatisfied with their representation in the operation of PGA tournaments. They formed the American Professional Golfers (APG) and were joined by nearly all the other tournament players. Booe was chosen as the APG tournament administrator. He had been a PGA official before he joined the APG. At the 1968 Greater Hartford Open, he announced plans for a 1969 APG tournament schedule that drew most of the sponsors of the current PGA circuit at that time. Eventually the players chose to remain with the PGA when they negotiated satisfactory representation by creating a PGA Tour entity within the PGA. The APG organization ceased to exist, and Billy Booe faded from view.