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Item condition:
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US $3,500.00
Approximately C $4,364.68(including shipping)
US $25.00 (approx. C $31.18) USPS First Class Mail Intl / First Class Package Intl Service | See details
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Last updated on  Dec 04, 2013 18:56:24 EST  View all revisions

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Country of Manufacture: United States  

Brick Walk Books and Fine Art

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Rare vintage printed scorecard for Midlothian Country Club, Midlothian, Illinois. Fine. The card measures 4 1/4 x 3 1/3 inches folded and is clearly and strongly signed by Walter Hagen in his characteristically distinctive hand. The card is additionally signed by professional golfer Abe G. Espinosa, who is best known as the first Hispanic-American to win a significant professional championship. Espinosa was born in Monterey, California. He worked as a club professional in Oakland, California, Chicago, Illinois (Columbian Golf Club and Medinah Country Club) and at Shreveport Country Club in Shreveport, Louisiana where one of his caddies was future U.S. Open Champion Tommy Bolt. Espinosa's younger brother, Al, was also a professional golfer. Both men were known for their dashing, stylish attire on the links, as was, of course, the great Haig himself. Espinosa's first PGA Tour win came at the 1928 Western Open. His best finish in a major was a T-7 at the 1924 U.S. Open. After his playing days were over, he became involved in golf course architecture and design; his works include Heart River Municipal Golf Course in Dickinson, North Dakota. At the start of the 1914 U.S. Open, held at Midlothian Country Club outside of Chicago, Walter Hagen was a brash, 22-year-old who had not yet won any tournaments now recognized as PGA Tour wins. At the end of the tournament, Hagen was a U.S. Open winner - the first of his 45 wins recognized as PGA Tour victories, and the first of his 11 major championship wins. Hagen opened with a 68 despite playing in pain after a dinner the night before of some possibly tainted seafood. But shooting 68, the lowest score carded in a U.S. Open to this point, can make a man feel a whole lot better. Hagen led by two over Tom McNamara and by three over defending champion (and amateur) Francis Ouimet entering the final round, but both McNamara (83) and Ouimet (78) faltered over the final 18. Hagen held steady with a 73, finishing one stroke ahead of fast-closing amateur Chick Evans. Ouimet wound up in fifth place. Johnny McDermott, the 1911 and 1912 winner, tied for ninth. Despite being only 22 years old, it was McDermott's final appearance. Late in 1914, McDermott suffered a breakdown of some kind, from which he never recovered. He spent most of the rest of his life in a mental institution - although he continued to play golf recreationally, and often quite well. "Walter Charles Hagen (1892-1969) was a major figure in golf in the first half of the 20th century. His tally of eleven professional majors is third behind Jack Nicklaus (18) and Tiger Woods (14). He won the U.S. Open twice, and in 1922 he became the first native-born American to win the British Open, which he went on to win four times in total. He also won the PGA Championship a record-tying five times (1921, '24–'27), and the Western Open five times when it had near major championship status. Hagen totaled 45 PGA wins in his career, and was a six-time Ryder Cup captain. Hagen was a key figure in the development of professional golf. He emerged in an era when the division between amateurs and professionals was often stark, with the amateurs having the upper hand in some sports, golf among them. This was especially true in the United Kingdom, which was the leading country in competitive golf when Hagen began his career. Golf professionals were not allowed to partake of the facilities of the clubhouse, and were not allowed to enter the clubhouse by the front door. On one occasion, at the British Open, Deal, Kent 1920, Hagen hired a Pierce-Arrow car to serve as his private dressing room, because he was refused entrance to the clubhouse dressing room. He hired a chauffeur, and parked the expensive car in the club's driveway; this behavior raised a few eyebrows in class-conscious Britain. On another occasion he refused to enter a clubhouse to claim his prize because he had earlier been denied entrance. The 1920 U.S. Open in Toledo, Ohio marked a turning point; the players, encouraged by Hagen, donated a large grandfather clock to the host Inverness Club, in appreciation of the club allowing access for the professionals to their clubhouse during the tournament. Hagen was a dashing and assertive character who raised the status of professional golfers and improved their earnings as well. Throughout his career, he played hundreds of exhibition matches, all across the United States and around the world; these tours popularized golf to an immense degree. Hagen was also widely known for his dashing wardrobe while playing; this featured expensive tailored clothes in bright colors and plush fabrics. As one of the world's top players, Hagen found his skills were much in demand with this exhibition format, and concluded it was much more lucrative than playing most tournaments. Hagen also made significant money endorsing golf equipment, and played a major role in helping to design clubs for Wilson Sports, which bore his name (either "Walter Hagen" or "Haig Ultra"). His work with Wilson produced some of the first matched sets of irons, around the same time that his great rival Bobby Jones was performing similar work for the Spalding company. Hagen may have been the first sportsman to earn a million dollars in his career. He once stated that he "never wanted to be a millionaire, just to live like one". Hagen once expressed his creed in these words: "Don't hurry, don't worry, you're only here for a short visit, so be sure to smell the flowers along the way." Gene Sarazen, who was ten years Hagen's junior commented, "All the professionals should say a silent thanks to Walter Hagen each time they stretch a check between their fingers. It was Walter who made professional golf what it is." On the notion of golf as a financial endeavor, Hagen wrote in his autobiography, "My game was my business and as a business it demanded constant playing in the championship bracket, for a current title was my selling commodity." Hagen died in Traverse City, Michigan in 1969. His pall bearers included Arnold Palmer." A rare and highly desirable collectible.

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