Biography of Golfer and Athlete Walter Hagen

About the biography of the famous golfer and athlete Walter Hagen history and information.

Walter Hagen

Walter Hagen was not only one of the foremost all-time great players but the golf world's leading showman in his day. He is credited with opening doors in country clubs for tour pros and gaining respect and prestige for professionals.

Hagen's tournament career, which spanned 1914 to 1940, saw him win 5 PGA Championships and 4 British Opens. He won the U.S. Open twice. As the game's most colorful player during that period, he journeyed to many places. He played in approximately 1,500 exhibition golf matches in the U.S., Canada and foreign countries and about 200 open tournaments. Affectionately known as The Haig, he was notorious for being late at tee time or any appointment, loved parties (even before a crucial match), dressed well and rode in a chauffeured limousine. He was always expected to do the unexpected.

His good times during his golf days did not deter his impressive play. He won 60 open tournaments and his winning of 11 major titles was 2nd only to Bobby Jones's 13 until equaled by Jack Nicklaus in 1972.

Hagen, who left school at the age of 12 to become a full-time caddie at a club in his hometown, Rochester, N.Y., turned professional at the age of 18. He won his 1st U.S. Open at the age of 21. He became golf's 1st millionaire. He won the 1st $1,000 prize ever offered for a pro event when he won the Panama Exposition tournament in San Francisco in 1915 and later he defeated Bobby Jones in a 72-hole match in Florida, earning $6,800, the largest sum ever won by a golfer for one match. He received a salary of $30,000 per year as president of the Pasadena Golf Club in St. Petersburg, Fla., in 1924 and 1925--an unheard-of salary in those days.

Hagen, who was born in Rochester, N.Y., in 1892, died in 1969.

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