Sir Walter: Walter Hagen and the Invention of Professional Golf

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Simon and Schuster, May 11, 2010 - Sports & Recreation - 384 pages
During the Golden Age of Sports in the 1920s, Walter Hagen was to golf what Babe Ruth was to baseball. The first professional golfer to make his living playing the game rather than teaching it, Hagen won eleven major professional tournaments over his long career -- two U.S. Opens, four British Opens, and five PGA Championships (including an amazing streak of four consecutive PGA wins) -- a record surpassed only by Jack Nicklaus. Hagen was also influential in helping to found the Ryder Cup and was the first American golfer to top $1 million in career earnings -- a figure equivalent to over $40 million today.

Award-winning sportswriter Tom Clavin has penned a thrilling biography that vividly recalls Hagen's dazzling achievements and the qualities that made him a star. Energetic, witty, and one of the best putters ever to walk the green, Hagen was a man who loved to party, was extraordinarily generous to his friends, and golfed the world over, giving exhibitions. He preferred to travel by limousine, and if he intended to stay awhile he'd bring a second limo just to transport his clothes, which were nothing but the finest. On his many trips across the Atlantic to compete in the Ryder Cup or British Open, Hagen was known to throw parties that lasted days, ending only when the ship reached the shore. He was also the first professional golfer to admit to playing not only for the love of the game, but also for the love of the winner's purse.

Walter Hagen, forerunner of today's sports superstars, is as dynamic a character as can be found in American sports history. Bringing Hagen to life with incredible detail and countless anecdotes, Sir Walter is the authoritative biography of the man who helped create professional golf as it's known today.

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Sir Walter: Walter Hagen and the invention of professional golf

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The General MacArthur comment about soldiers never dying but fading away is equally apropos to golf. After the winning is over, there is but the briefest recollection of success and import. Clavin ... Read full review

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Page 16 - Championship at Birkdale I would rather play a man who is straight down the fairway with his drive, on the green with his second, and down in two putts for his par. I can play a man like that at his own game, which is par golf. If one of us can get close to the pin with his approach, or hole a good putt — all right. He has earned something that I can understand. But when a man misses his drive, and misses his second shot, and wins the hole with a birdie — it gets my goat!

About the author (2010)

Tom Clavin is the author or coauthor of sixteen books. For fifteen years he wrote for The New York Times and has contributed to such magazines as Golf, Men's Journal, Parade, Reader’s Digest, and Smithsonian. He is currently the investigative features correspondent for Manhattan Magazine. He lives in Sag Harbor, New York.

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