The Great Walter Hagen

The Great Walter Hagen

Another passage I enjoyed reading in Mark Frost’s The greatest game ever played was about the great Walter Hagen. A golfer from Rochester, NY, Hagen was one of the golf greats. He collected eleven professional major titles, a record that stood until Jack Nicklaus and then Tiger Woods. In 1920 Hagen was playing in England when Hagen he ran into the country’s long held prohibition of allowing professional golfer’s in private clubhouses. When Walter went in one to change his shoes during a tournament he was ordered outside. Hagen, who was always golfs most flamboyant player, promptly rented a Damiler and had the chauffeur arrive each day at the 18th hole. He would park about 50′ away and Walter would climb inside, in front of the crowds and disapproving officials to make a show of changing his shoes. Denied use of the grill to eat during the day, Hagen had his chauffeur drive up each day during the tournament with a catered meal. He would set up an elaborate table on the front lawn right in front of the restaurant windows. He and fellow pros would then sit down to a meal in front the dinners inside the restaurant. One he even hired private plane to land near the course and fly him and a couple of other pros to a nearby four star restaurant for lunch.

The English were outraged, but the public and his fellow pros loved him for it. Hagen punished the English for their elitist tradition by winning four British Open’s during the 1920’s and by becoming the first American to win Great Britain’s national championship.

One thought on “The Great Walter Hagen

  1. Tiger has won 13 majors, two more than Walter Hagen, so only Jack and Tiger have more than Walter Hagen, I suspect Mark Frost’s book was written before Tiger won his last several majors, but wanted to let you correct your blog

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