Sir Walter: Walter Hagen and the Invention of Professional Golf
by Tom Clavin
Last year Aurum published the definitive biography of one of the all-time greats of the game of golf: Ben Hogan. Now it has the authoritative life of ... Show synopsis Last year Aurum published the definitive biography of one of the all-time greats of the game of golf: Ben Hogan. Now it has the authoritative life of perhaps the only man to rival Hogan apart from Jack Nicklaus: Walter Hagen. During the golden age of sport in the 1920s, Walter Hagen was to golf what Babe Ruth was to baseball. He was the first professional golfer to make his living from playing the game rather than teaching it. He won eleven majors - a record surpassed only by Nicklaus. He was influential in founding the Ryder Cup, and was the first golfer to top $1 million in career earnings - equivalent to a massive $40 million today. But where Ben Hogan was impassive, austere, reticent, seen as something of a golf-machine, Hagen was a larger-than-life figure: energetic, witty, a man who travelled by limousine, loved to party - and sent a second limo just to transport his clothes, which were of course the finest. When he sailed the Atlantic to play in Europe he threw parties that lasted days. Both James Dodson's Hogan biography and Mark Frost's historical books on Harry Vardon and the making of golf have confirmed a market for serious, substantial works about the game. Sir Walter will tap into that same market, and should get widely reviewed.