Fine research and listicle-ish reporting from Ben Everill at PGATour.com to get you in the mood for this week’s new PGA Tour stop at Detroit Golf Club, with its fine history and relatively unknown place in the game.
This one blew my mind…
Due to World War II, the Ryder Cup was put on hold. But before the 1939 matches were officially cancelled, most of the U.S. team captained by Walter Hagen had been selected. Gene Sarazen, a member of Hagen’s first six Ryder Cup teams, was not on the list, and he took it as a slight. Hagen said his team could not be beaten; Sarazen said he could pick other golfers who could beat Hagen’s crew. The challenge was accepted and the two “teams” of Americans played a series of matches for charity. The first one, in 1940, was at Oakland Hills, with Hagen’s team (that included Byron Nelson and Sam Snead) winning.
In 1941, the challenge matches were held at Detroit Golf Club. Sarazen was determined to beat Hagen, and so he called in a “ringer,” managing to coax 39-year-old Bobby Jones out of retirement.