Born: December 21, 1892
Died: October 6, 1969
Height: 5 ft 10 in
Birthplace: Rochester, NY
Turned Pro: 1912
Walter Hagen cut a dashing figure in the early 1900’s as he strolled across fairways in Europe and the United States. With 11 Major championships, Hagen will go down as one of the greatest golfers in history.
Hagen cut his teeth on the game caddying at the Country Club of Rochester. By age 15, he was already a highly-skilled player. He was eventually hired in his late teens to give lessons and work in the pro shop.
By 2012, Hagen was ready to turn professional. He made his debut in the Canadian Open and finished with a solid 11th place effort.
Hagen’s athletic skills extended beyond the golf course, in 1914 the Philadelphia Phillies offered him a baseball tryout. Hagen declined the offer and proved his decision was the correct one later that year by triumphing at the U.S. Open, the first of his 11 Major championships.
It would be a five year wait before Hagen won his second Major, another U.S. Open title in 1919. In the 1920’s, Hagen would begin to collect Majors in bunches. Hagen would collect 5 PGA and British Open’s during the 1920’s, bringing his career total to 11.
Some historians feel that Hagen should be credited with more than 11 Majors. The Masters Tournament wasn’t founded until 1934, well past Hagen’s prime. The Western Open was the other big tournament in the states during the first three decades of the 20th century and Hagen won the coveted title 5 times.
Hagen was a famous clothes’ horse, sporting expensive and personally tailored clothing on and off the golf course. He made a tremendous amount of money in his career playing private exhibitions and was well known for his efforts to increase tournament purses.
Hagen was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in its inaugural 1974 class.