Bob Byman was born in Poughkeepsie, New York and attended Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where he was a member of the golf team. He played with Jay Haas and Curtis Strange on the 1974 and 1975 teams, which won the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships. Golf World has called the 1974–75 teams “the greatest college team of all time”.
Byman turned pro in 1976 and spent the early part of his professional career playing on the European Tour, where he had a great deal of success, winning four times. Tiger Woods is the only American golfer with more regular European Tour wins. He played full-time on the PGA Tour from 1979–84. His best year was 1979 when he won the Bay Hill Citrus Classic in a playoff against John Schroeder, earned $94,243, and made the cut in all 20 of his starts. His best finish in a major championship was T-7 in the 1979 British Open.
Byman also won the New Zealand Open in 1977 at the Auckland Golf Club. The twenty-two-year-old American who had just previously won the Scandinavian and Dutch Opens declared the course at Middlemore far more difficult than those he had previously encountered.
A great many others agreed with him after noting the winning score at six-over-par was the highest recorded in the previous twenty years. Blustery winds, difficult pin placements and poor fairway setup did not, however, prevent some occasional excellent scoring. The first round 66 scored by Byman and Snape and later by Palmer were featured, as was the final round situation when the winner became he who dropped the least number of strokes.