Class of 2018
Deceased (1892 – 1969)
Walter Hagen was born and raised in Rochester, N.Y. and came from a traditional working-class family. His introduction to the game of golf stemmed from his first job as a caddie for the Country Club of Rochester (CCR), and quickly grew into a lifetime passion and pursuit.
During his early life working at CCR, Hagen played as much golf as he could and was mentored by head professional Alfred Ricketts. By his mid-teens, he was an expert player and was soon hired by the club to give lessons and work in the club’s pro shop.
He turned professional in 1912 at age 19, and made his debut at the Canadian Open, placing 11th among the field. He appeared in his first major at the 1913 U.S. Open at Brookline, where he finished in fourth place. A year later he won the championship at Midlothian Country Club in Illinois over amateur Chick Evans. Hagen opened the championship with a U.S. Open record 68, a stroke ahead of defending champion Francis Ouimet.
From there, the rest was history, and the 21-year-old professional from Rochester, N.Y. became known all over the world of golf as a force to be reckoned with. He had a total of forty-five PGA Tour victories, including eleven majors (third all-time), all while changing the perception and guiding the development of the status for a professional golfer. He played hundreds of exhibitions around the world, heavily contributing to the growing popularity of golf at the time. He was widely known for his style and tournament wardrobes, his dashing and assertive character, and his significant wealth gained through both tournament winnings and lucrative endorsement deals.
Within New York, he captured the Metropolitan Open in 1916, 1920 (at the time regarded as one of the country’s major tournaments), the New York State Open in 1922, and the Metropolitan PGA in 1924.
Hagen died in 1969 in Traverse City, Michigan at the age of 76, after battling throat cancer for almost half a decade. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in the charter class (1974).
Walter Hagen’s Career Highlights- Westchester Open: Won 1916, 1921, 1926, 1927, 1932- Metropolitan Open: Won 1916, 1919, 1920- Bellevue Country Club Open: Won 1920- New York Open: Won 1922- Metropolitan PGA: Won 1924- U.S. Open Championships: Won 1914, 1919- British Open Championships: Won 1922, 1924, 1928, 1929- PGA Championships: Won 1921, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927- Ryder Cup (Captain): 1927, 1929, 1931, 1935- Masters Tournament: T11 - 1936- World Golf Hall of Fame – Class of 1974