Gene Sarazen

Gene Sarazen

Class of: 1980

Sport: Golf

Gene Sarazen (February 27, 1902 – May 13, 1999) was a professional golfer, one of the world’s top players in the 1920s and 1930s. He is one of five golfers (along with Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods) to win all the current major championships in his career, the Career Grand Slam: U.S. Open in 1922, 1932; PGA Championship in 1922, 1923, 1933; British Open in 1932; and The Masters in 1935.

The winner of 39 PGA Tournaments, Sarazen was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974. He was the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year in 1932 and won the PGA Tour’s first Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996. He played on six U.S. Ryder Cup teams: 1927, 1929, 1931, 1933, 1935, and 1937.

Sarazen invented the modern sand wedge, and debuted the club (while keeping it secret during preliminary practice rounds) at the British Open at Prince’s Golf Club in 1932 (which he won).

Sarazen died in Naples, FL in 1999 from complications of pneumonia at the age of 97.