Doug Sanders, the man who missed out on Open glory at St Andrews, dies aged 86

Doug Sanders, who missed a 30-inch putt to become an Open champion at St Andrews, has died from natural causes aged 86.

Jack Nicklaus consoles Doug Sanders after missing a short putt to win the 1970 Open at St Andrews. Nicklaus beat Sanders in an 18-hole play-off the following day

The colourful American won 20 times on the PGA Tour but will be remembered as much for what happened at the home of golf in 1970.

In gusty winds on the final day, Sanders got up and down from the Road Hole bunker at the 17th to lead by one shot from Jack Nicklaus heading up the 72nd hole.

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He was still in the driving seat after unleashing a big drive only to then tale four shots to get down, agonisingly missing that short downhill putt for victory.

In the first 18-hole play-off in the event's history, Sanders then lost out to Nicklaus on the final green the following day.

“I feel very sick about the British Open,” said Sanders later of that disappointment. “Not so much for myself, but for my wife and my son.

"I’ll tell you something, I never got so many letters and wires than after the British Open.

"They came from people who said they felt so bad to see me miss winning. Many of them weren’t even signed, just ending with ‘A fan.’”

Sanders had three other second-place finishes in majors - the 1959 US PGA Championship, the 1961 US Open and the 1966 Open Championship.

In total, he had 13 top-10 finishes in major championships without recording a victory.

Born in Cedartown, Georgia, Sanders was a self-taught golfer with a short, flat swing who played collegiately at the University of Florida.

In 1956, he won the Canadian Open as an amateur - the first amateur ever to pull off that feat. He turned pro soon after that victory and joined the PGA Tour for the 1957 season.

His best year came in 1961, when he won five times. He had three-win seasons in 1962 and 1966. His final win came at the 1972 Kemper Open.

Sanders was also a member of the 1967 US Ryder Cup team captained by Ben Hogan.

Named by Esquire as one of America’s “Ten Best Dressed Jocks” in 1973, Sanders was a self-proclaimed “clothes horse” who owned as many as 359 pairs of golf and dress shoes, many custom-dyed to match his vast rainbow of a wardrobe.

He also opened a chain of Doug Sanders Dry Cleaning Centres throughout the United States in the 1960s.

“The two most frequent questions on tour were, ‘What did Arnold Palmer shoot?’ and ‘What’s Doug Sanders wearing?’” he told Golf Digest in 2007.

After turning 50, Sanders played in more than 200 event on the Champions Tour, winning the 1983 World Seniors Invitational.