Walter Charles Hagen was born on 21 December 1892 and died on 6 October 1969. He was an American professional golfer and a significant figure in golf in the first half of the 20th century. Hagan’s tally of 11 professional majors is third after Jack Nicklaus (18) and Tiger Woods (15). Known as the “father of professional golf,” Hagen brought publicity, fame, big prize money, and lucrative endorsements to the sport. Hagen is rated as one of the greatest golfers ever.
Hagen netted the US Open twice. This made him a popular bet when it came down to US PGA betting. In 1922 he was the first native-born American to bag The Open Championship and also won the Claret Jug three more times. Hagen also won the PGA Championship a record-breaking five times (all in match play) as well as the Western Open five times when it had near-major championship rank. Hagen totalled 45 PGA wins in his career, and was a six-time Ryder Cup captain.
He Learned Golf By Working As A Caddie
Born to a working-class family, Hagen needed to work during his pre-teens in order to help his parents bring money into the house. Fortunately, he found a job as a caddie at the Country Club in Rochester. There, Hagen earned 10 cents per round. He was even tipped with an extra five cents every so often.
It’s very safe to assume that this is where his passion for golf was also born. Walter started practising at the club every opportunity he got. Thanks to Alfred Ricketts who was going to the course at the time, he was able to develop his skill. By his mid-teens, Hagen was already considered to be an expert golfer, even giving lessons as well as some simple golf swing tips to club members.
Hagen Tried To Become A Baseball Player In Philadelphia
The desire to be a baseball player was strong in him however being a sportsman was (for Walter) about individuality. Hagen was attracted to a number of games and joined the Philadelphia Phillies as a pitcher as well as a shortstop.
He Made Golf More Respectable
During the very early stages of the 20th century, people didn’t think very highly of golf. This is particularly true in Great Britain where Hagen started his career. Golfers weren’t allowed access to most clubhouses’ facilities. Some were even refused them via the front door. At one point, Hagen even hired a Pierce-Arrow car just so he could have a dressing room because the clubhouse won’t let him use any of theirs.
Owing to his increasing popularity and victories, Hagen managed to change all of this . On one occasion, he refused to enter a clubhouse in order to claim his prize owing to being denied entry earlier. It was only after his bold entrance at the 1914 Midlothian Open when the no-entry policy for golfers was removed permanently.
After he retired from golf, Hagen spent much of the rest of his life in Michigan. He died in Traverse City in 1969.