Monday, July 17, 2006
AN AMERICAN FIRST
• In 1924, Walter Hagen became the first American golfer to win the Open Championship at Hoylake. Hagen, facing a tricky, downhill six-foot putt at the 72nd hole to claim his second Open title, appeared stunningly nonchalant in simply stepping up and knocking the ball into the cup. Asked afterward if he had, in fact, been aware that the putt was to win, Hagen famously replied, "Sure I knew, but no man ever beat me in a playoff." That was a splendid bit of bravado, considering that only nine months earlier, Gene Sarazen had turned out his lights on the 38th hole of the 1923 PGA Championship finale.