Height: 6 ft
Born: June 3, 1945
Birthplace: Joplin, Missouri
College: University of Colorado
Turned Pro: 1968
Hale Irwin parlayed his consistent play into three Major championships and lucrative careers on both the PGA Tour and the Senior (Champions) Tour. Because of the changing economics of golf, Irwin actually won more money ($26 million) after turning 50 years old.
Born in Joplin, Missouri, Irwin took up golf as a four year old. Irwin was an excellent all-around athlete, excelling in football and baseball as well as golf. Irwin attended the University of Colorado where he was twice named to the All Big-8 Conference team. A true tw0-sport star, Irwin captured NCAA Individual golf honors his senior year.
Upon leaving college, Irwin turned professional. After a few years of learning the ropes, Irwin began to win on the PGA Tour. He won the Sea Pines Heritage at Hilton Head in 1971 and 1973. In 1974, Irwin captured his first Major –the U.S. Open. The ’74 U.S. Open is known as “the Massacre at Winged Foot,” as an incredibly difficult course frustrated the world’s best players. Irwin won the tournament with a 72-hole total score of +7.
Irwin won the World Match Play Championship in 1974 and 1975. He also made an incredible run at the Masters during this time period. For four consecutive years (1974-1977), Irwin finished in the top-5 at Augusta.
In 1979 Irwin won a second U.S. Open on another difficult golf course at Inverness Country Club. Nearly twenty years after his first U.S. Open title, Irwin added a third victory at our national championship in 1993 at the age of 45. Irwin earned a spot in an 18-hole playoff by holing a 45-foot putt on the 72nd hold and became the oldest champion in U.S. Open history.
After turning 50, Irwin won 45 times on the Champions tour, including seven senior Majors.