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The Man Behind The Transformation and Uplifting of Golf – Walter Hagen

The Man Behind The Transformation and Uplifting of Golf - Walter Hagen
The Man Behind The Transformation and Uplifting of Golf – Walter Hagen

Walter Hagen was born on 21st December in 1892 in Rochester, New York. Walter Hagen was responsible for raising the game of golf to a new level. His exceptional style and personality helped bring popularity to golf in America. He has won eleven major championships and also founded PGA -professional golfers association America.

Early Days

Hagen began to play golf at the age of 10 at the County Club in Rochester, and worked a caddie’s job. Soon his skills began to flourish, and he was appointed to teach lessons at the professional club. Hagen’s sporting abilities were not only limited to golf. He also played baseball really well; he played as a pitcher. He declined an offer by Philadelphia Phillies to play for them, and instead chose golf as his sport. Sir Hagen played at the Canadian Open in 1912 at the age of nineteen. His participation in the Canada Open was his first appearance as a professional golfer. He then competed in the US Open in 1913 arriving with a statement that he was there to help defeat the brits. In 1914 he returned to the United States Open and ended by winning his first-ever Major Championship. He was associated with Oakland Hills  Club, Michigan from 1918-19.  In 1919 he went on to win his 2nd United States Open, after which the 1920s saw his golden period winning nine major Championships.

Golf Psychologist

Walter Hagen often used psychology to defeat his opponents. He was among the first known players to do so. Walter used these tricks to win PGA championship. He would use a 4- wood shots that involved a choke down instead of using a short iron. So when his opponents tried to imitate him by playing choke down 4 – wood shot and overreach the green.One more famous trick used by him was trying to look beyond an opponent’s lie and shaking his head in displeasure.

The Wanamaker Trophy

Hagen won the PGA Championship for four times from 1924. In 1925, Walter lost his trophy to a cab driver who had promised Hagen to deliver the prize to his inn for 5 dollars, so that Hagen could join his friend for a drink. This incident remained a secret in 1926 and 1927 when Hagen didn’t produce the trophy upon winning the championship and told the media he didn’t want to risk losing it. But, in 1928 when he lost the tournament to Leo Diegel, he had to confess he had lost the award. A duplicate was made and was used after that. The real Wanamaker trophy appeared in 1930, in possession of LA young and Co. who incidentally made the Walter Hagen clubs for golfing. Nobody knows how the cup ended up in the basement.

Impact On Golf

Hagen changed the face of the sport. When he arrived, the golf sport wasn’t popular. People didn’t look to earn money from the game. But, with the arrival of Walter Hagen, the level of golf increased. He was first to make a million dollars from the sport. Hagen played a critical position in the establishment of PGA. He helped to bring more professional golfers in the game.