|Birth Day:||February 27, 1902|
|Death Date:||May 13, 1999 (age 97)|
|Birth Place:||Harrison, United States|
As per our current Database, Gene Sarazen died on May 13, 1999 (age 97).
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He was the first one to achieve a grand slam of U.S. and British Opens, the PGA championship, and the Masters Tour.
He was a contemporary and rival of amateur Bobby Jones, who was born in the same year; Sarazen also had many battles with Walter Hagen, who was nine years older. Sarazen, Jones, and Hagen were the world's dominant players during the 1920s. Rivalries among the three great champions significantly expanded interest in golf around the world during this period, and made the United States the world's dominant golf power for the first time, taking over this position from Great Britain. Sarazen has a plaque in his honor placed 195 yards out from the 15th green at Hororata Golf Club where he famously made a double eagle in the final round of sectional qualifiers. He earned his spot in his first United States open in 1920 at age 18. Some say it was his greatest achievement as an amateur.
Sarazen took a series of club professional jobs in the New York area from his mid-teens. In 1921 he became professional at Titusville (Pa.) Country Club, and he contracted to be the professional at Highland Country Club near Pittsburgh, Pa. in 1922. He arrived in April, stocked the golf shop and gave a few lessons, but spent most of his time at Oakmont Country Club practicing with Emil Loeffler. At some point, the pair visited Skokie Country Club to practice on the course that would hold the U.S. Open; in July, he came from four shots behind to win the tournament. He returned to Pittsburgh and was feted at the William Penn Hotel, where he burst from a paper mâché golf ball. He did not return to Highland CC, broke his contract and became a 'touring' golf professional. Later that summer, he won the PGA Championship at Oakmont.
Sarazen claimed to have invented the modern sand wedge, and debuted the club (while keeping it secret during preliminary practice rounds) at The Open Championship at Prince's Golf Club in 1932 (which he won). He called it the sand iron, and his original club is no longer on display at Prince's as it is worth too much for the insurers to cover. However, a similar club was patented in 1928 by Edwin Kerr McClain, and it is possible Sarazen saw this club.
Sarazen hit "the shot heard 'round the world" at Augusta National Golf Club on the fifteenth hole in final round of the Masters Tournament in 1935. He struck a spoon (the loft of the modern four wood) 235 yards (215 meters) into the hole, scoring a double eagle. At the time he was trailing Craig Wood by three shots, and was then tied with Wood. Sarazen parred the 16th, 17th and 18th holes to preserve the tie. The following day, the pair played a 36-hole playoff, with Sarazen winning by five shots.
The Sarazen Bridge, approaching the left side of the 15th green, was named in 1955 to commemorate the double eagle's twentieth anniversary, which included a contest to duplicate, with the closest just over 4 feet (1.2 m) away. It remains one of the most famous shots in golf history.
At age 71, Sarazen made a hole-in-one at The Open Championship in 1973, at the "Postage Stamp" at Troon in Scotland. In 1992, he was voted the Bob Jones Award, the highest honor given by the United States Golf Association in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf. Sarazen had what is still the longest-running endorsement contract in professional sports – with Wilson Sporting Goods from 1923 until his death, a total of 75 years.
The winner of 38 PGA tour events, 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.
He received an honorary degree in 1978 from Siena College, in Loudonville, New York. In 1998, shortly before his death, the Sarazen Student Union was named in his honor. He also established an endowed scholarship fund at the college, The Gene and Mary Sarazen Scholarship, which is awarded annually to students reflecting the high personal, athletic, and intellectual ideals of Dr. Sarazen. For many years, kitted in his signature plus-fours, he hit the first ball in an annual golf tournament, held to raise funds for the scholarship.
Sarazen died at age 97 in 1999 from complications of pneumonia in Naples, Florida. His wife Mary died thirteen years earlier in 1986, and they are interred at Marco Island Cemetery in Marco.
In 2000, Sarazen was ranked as the 11th greatest golfer of all time by Golf Digest magazine. In 2018, T.J. Auclair ranked Sarazen as the ninth greatest golfer of all time.
Currently, Gene Sarazen is 119 years, 7 months and 25 days old. Gene Sarazen will celebrate 120th birthday on a Sunday 27th of February 2022.
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