History

1940: The Haig's last victory

Champion: Byron Nelson, Toledo, Ohio
Site: Hershey Country Club, Hershey, Pa.
Date: Aug. 26 - Sept. 2
Purse: $11,050
Par: 36-37 - 73

Byron Nelson edged Sam Snead 1-up to win the 23rd PGA Championship, but it was also the competitive farewell in the Championship for a 48-year-old Walter Hagen, who won his first two matches, defeating Gil Sellers 1-up and Vic Ghezzi 2 and 1. The years of the good life were taking their toll on Hagen, who had won his last tournament in 1935. In his opening match, Hagen played the final five holes in 1-under-par to edge Sellers. Against Ghezzi, Hagen elected to use his last great stroke of gamesmanship. When Hagen had not arrived at the tee at the appointed time, Ghezzi went into the clubhouse to find him sipping Scotch at the clubhouse bar. Hagen looked out the window and saw raindrops. He wasn't to be hurried. "Why don't you begin to play?" Hagen asked Ghezzi, "I'll join you on the third hole." But Hagen wasn't allowed to concede the opening holes, finished his scotch and went to the first tee. Ghezzi, visibly upset, won the first two holes. Hagen recovered to win 2 and 1. It was Hagen's 40th match victory in 50 outings, including the inaugural PGA Championship in 1916. Hagen bowed out of the Championship that had been his trademark with a 1-up defeat to Harold "Jug" McSpaden.

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