Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Walter Hagen (born Rochester, New York 1892; died 1969) was a major figure in golf in the first half of the 20th century. His tally of eleven professional majors has been surpassed only by Jack Nicklaus. He won the U.S. Open twice and in 1922 he became the first American to win the British Open, which he went on to win four times in total. He also won the PGA Championship five times (1921, 24-27), the Western Open five times and totalled forty PGA wins in his career and was a six time Ryder Cup captain.
Hagen was a key figure in the development of professional golf. He emerged in an era when the division between amateurs and professionals was often stark, with the amateurs having the upper hand in some sports, golf among them. This was especially true in the United Kingdom, which was the leading country in competitive golf when Hagen began his career. Golf professionals were often not allowed to partake of the facilities of the clubhouse and were sometimes not alloweed to enterthe clubhouse by the front door. On one occasion he hired a Rolls Royce to serve as his dressing room because he was refused entrance to the clubhouse dressing room. On another occasion he refused to enter a clubhouse to claim his prize because he had earlier been denied entrance.
Hagen was a dashing and assertive character who raised the status of professional golfers and improved their earnings as well. He may have been the first sportsman to earn a million dollars in his career. He once stated that he "never wanted to be a millionaire, just to live like one". Gene Sarazen, who was ten years Hagen's junior commented, "All the professionals ... should say a silent thanks to Walter Hagen each time they stretch a check between their fingers. It was Walter who made professional golf what it is."
Hagen's major victories were as follows:
- U.S. Open: 1914, 1919.
- British Open: 1922, 1924, 1928, 1929.
- PGA Championship:1921, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927.
He was past his peak by the time the other major, The Masters Tournament, was established.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details