Miller Barber, 82, a golfer known for an unusual swing that featured a flying right elbow and who made the most combined starts on the PGA and Champions tours, died June 12 in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was 82.
The cause was lymphoma, his son Richard Barber told the New York Times.
Mr. Barber, nicknamed “Mr. X,” played in 1,297 tournaments on the PGA Tour and 50-and-over circuit. He won 11 times in 694 PGA Tour starts and added 24 victories in 603 events on the Champions Tour.
Miller Westford Barber Jr. was born March 31, 1931, in Shreveport, La., and grew up in Texarkana, Tex. He graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1954, served in the Air Force and joined the tour in 1959. He won the 1964 Cajun Classic Open Invitational for his first tour title.
The two-time Ryder Cup player had his best chance to win a major championship in the 1969 U.S. Open at Champions Club outside Houston. He took a three-stroke lead into the final round but closed with a 78 to finish three strokes behind winner Orville Moody.
Mr. Barber won five majors on the Champions Tour, including a record three U.S. Senior Open titles. He made his last competitive appearance last year in the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, teaming with Jim Ferree to tie for 11th in the Demaret Division for players 70 and older.
Mr. Barber said there were two stories about how he was tagged “Mr. X.”
According to one, he took over the nickname from the original “Mr. X,” George Bayer, after beating Bayer in a long-drive contest. The other version was that Ferree called him “the Mysterious Mr. X” because “I never told anywhere where I was going at night. I was a bachelor and a mystery man,” Mr. Barber said.
Survivors include his wife, Karen, and five sons.