“DID YOU KNOW”
Big Money Purses Could Be A Dilemma For The Golf Professionals!
In 1915 (one year before the PGA of America was founded), the summer was filled with tournaments for the golf professionals. For a stretch of eight weeks there were tournaments offering decent to exceptional money. To make matters worse, the USGA in an attempt to lure the great foreign professionals, had moved the U.S. Open from late August to June right after the Shawnee Open.
Along with that the Metropolitan, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and the Western Opens were also played one right after another. At that time the state Opens were open to any professional who wished to enter. In order to attract some of the better players who were in the East competing in the U.S. Open, Shawnee Open and Met Open the Massachusetts Open tripled its purse and the Connecticut Open made its tournament the best ever.
This created problems for the golf professionals, maybe good ones, as they all were working at golf facilities. None of them could be away for eight summer weeks. Decisions had to be made as to where to play and when to be at their clubs.
The Philadelphia professionals had a busy summer. Wilmington Country Club’s Gil Nicholls won the Met Open for a second time along with the Shawnee Open, where Walter Hagen was second, and he finished sixth at the Western Open in Chicago. Pocono Manor’s Eddie Loos lost the Pennsylvania Open in an 18-hole playoff to North Jersey’s Tom Anderson. Boston’s Tom McNamara won the Philadelphia Open, as Whitemarsh Valley’s Jim Barnes and Philmont’s Charlie Hoffner tied for second. Barnes finished seventh at the Western Open, where he was the defending champion and won the Connecticut Open later in the summer.
By 1922 the amateur golf leaders had become concerned about the purses being offered for professional golf tournaments and exhibitions. On November 12 the USGA issued a statement which the New York Times reported. “While the USGA has no desire to hinder or hamper any professional from competing in prize money tournaments or from earning money to the limit of his ability, nevertheless the present officials feel that if the practice now in vogue is not checked, great harm will be done in creating a class of professional players who will devote their time and attention in attending tournaments.”
In spite of the fears of some people the PGA Tour was taking form and who could have imagined the PGA Tour of today.