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Golf player Dan Halldorson, 1986 CPGA.The Canadian Press

Dan Halldorson, a Canadian Golf Hall of Famer who enjoyed a long career on the PGA Tour and helped mentor many of this country's top golfers, has died. He was 63.

Halldorson suffered a massive stroke Monday at his home in Cambridge, Ill., and died Wednesday in hospital, a Golf Canada spokesman said.

"I think he'll be remembered as one of the great icons in Canadian golf," longtime friend Richard Zokol said from Vernon, B.C.

A Winnipeg native who grew up in nearby Brandon, Man., Halldorson picked up his lone PGA Tour win at the 1980 Pensacola Open and earned close to US$1.2 million on the Tour from 1975 to 2004. He won World Cup titles for Canada in 1980 with Jim Nelford and in 1985 with Dave Barr.

"He was a stalwart, he was reliable," Zokol said Thursday. "You knew he could perform. We all have such tremendous memories of him."

Halldorson turned pro in 1971 and earned his first professional victory later that year at the Manitoba PGA Championship. He would win seven times in all on the Canadian Tour — now known as the Mackenzie Tour — and later served as its deputy director.

"On behalf of the entire golf community including the golfers, associations and fellow competitors whose lives he touched, we are saddened by the passing of Dan Halldorson," Golf Canada chief executive officer Scott Simmons said in a statement. "Dan's accomplishments on the golf course and his contributions to the game were outstanding and although we are mourning his loss, his outstanding legacy deserves to be celebrated."

Halldorson was named Canada's professional golfer of the year in 1981 and 1983. He also won the 1986 Deposit Guaranty Golf Classic, an unofficial stop on the PGA Tour.

"He'll be remembered as a champion," Golf Canada chief championship officer Bill Paul said from Toronto. "And a champion is not always the trophies on the mantle at home. It's that, but it's moreso what you did in the game and what you did to help grow the game, what you did to make it better.

"I saw Dan as someone that did that as a player, did that as an administrator and probably more importantly, what he did as a mentor and being able to talk to kids."

Ian Leggatt recalled how Halldorson would help him when he and Mike Weir were just starting out as professionals. They would play practice rounds on the old Canadian Tour and talk about the sport, with Halldorson more than happy to weigh in with advice when asked.

"I think he was motivated by getting more Canadians on the PGA Tour," Leggatt said from Richmond Hill, Ont. "So he always had time for everybody."

Known for his strong ball striking skills and steady composure, Halldorson played in an era just before big purses and increased television exposure became the norm. He was part of a Canadian crew on the Tour that included Zokol, Barr, Nelford and Ray Stewart, players who helped pave the way for the next generation of Canadians like Leggatt, Mike Weir and Graham DeLaet.

"I think it's unfortunate really that a lot of people don't know the amazing career that he really had in the game of golf," Leggatt said. "But that was Dan's thing. He always had time for everyone but he never talked about himself. He always was more concerned about how everyone else was doing."

Halldorson, who was inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame in 2002, also played at a few events on the Champions Tour. Most recently, he was a director of golf at the Oak Island Resort course in Virden, Man.

"I think it's what he did in the game inside the ropes, but maybe more importantly outside the ropes in terms of what he did in being able to speak to players, mentor players and giving advice to (those in) the game was a big part of (his impact)," Paul said.

Halldorson is survived by his wife Patricia, daughter Angela, son Mark and three grandchildren. Funeral service plans were not immediately available.