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1979 HONOREES: GENE SARAZEN
On July 15, 1922 at Skokie Country Club, Gene Sarazen, age 20 and with virtually no competitive credentials, burst into big-time golf with one of the most sensational victories in history with a birdie at the final hole to defeat Bob Jones and John Black in the U.S. Open Championship.
Among the smallest of the great players at 5’5” and 145 lbs., Sarazen was also one of the strongest and fittest as evidenced by his lengthy playing career, a career that included being the first to win the modern day Grand Slam. He won two U.S. Open Championships, one British Open Championship, three PGA Championships and one Masters title.
His last major championship victory was as memorable as his first. In the 1934 Masters tournament, he hit four-wood 235 yards into the cup for a double-eagle on the par-five 15th hole, enabling him to tie Craig Wood and win a playoff. Ever since, that shot has become know as the “shot heard round the world.”