Morgan was born in Haddock, Georgia, where he played baseball in his youth. "None of them had picture swings. Going into this week's Emerald CoastClassic, the 55-year-old Morgan, who used to pick cotton for twocents a pound, is ninth on the 1996 money list, with $807,903,and has a chance to top $1 million when the season concludesnext week at the $1.6 million Energizer Senior Tour Championshipat the Dunes Club in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

", Pausing, Morgan said something similar to what Sifford had saidabout him. "I wasn't toodisappointed because I found out that I was pretty good," hesays, "but I was too old to be with those young boys in thefirst place. On the PGA Tour, that record belongs to Sam Snead. Morgan is also the holder of the youngest golfer to shoot his age or better record. ", And play and play and play. "I knew from thebeginning that I was going to win out here," says Morgan. TheArmy made a good man out of me. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED is a registered trademark of ABG-SI LLC. If you let stuff like that bother you, you might as wellgo home.

The oldest-known golfer to shoot his age was 103-year-old Arthur Thompson of Victoria, British Columbia. "Life and death is in the jungle. But although he didn't play his first rounduntil he was 27, Morgan has won three times on the Senior tour,including twice this year. It was also where he started smokingcigars, establishing the four-to-six-cigar-a-day habit that hehas maintained ever since. Slammin' Sam fired a 67 at the Quad Cities Open in 1979, when he was 67 years old. As far as is known, the overall record belongs to John Powell. For example, a golfer of age 70 who shoots a 70 or better has just "shot his age.". [Walter Morgan sitting on mower], © 2020 ABG-SI LLC. "Itcan make you mad. "I think the military taught mepatience, how to forget bad things and go on," he says. Walter and his two brothers Thompson was playing the Uplands Golf Club in Victoria when he accomplished the feat in 1972. By using LiveAbout, you accept our, The Oldest Golfer Ever to Play on the PGA Tour, Oldest Golfer to Make the Cut in a PGA Tour Tournament, 1944 PGA Championship: Hamilton Tops Nelson in Final. "Neverwas curious about it," the soft-spoken Morgan says in the slowcadence of the rural South. ", But while Sifford is often bitter about the treatment he hasreceived from the golf establishment because of the color of hisskin, Morgan, who came up in a different era, keeps anyresentment he might feel locked inside. Tournament officials sent him atape of the final round. ", COLOR PHOTO: JACQUELINE DUVOISIN [Walter Morgan playing golf], COLOR PHOTO: DAVID LIAM KYLE Compared to the fieldwork Morgan did while growing up in Georgia, life on the Senior tour is easy pickings.

Although he wasdesperate to play on a real course, Morgan wouldn't try until hefelt he had reasonable control of the ball. He began playing golf at the age of 30 after 10 years in the military. But Morgan was locked into playing for Uncle Sam. ", Morgan competed often in regional tournaments, and seniors suchas Orville Moody, Rives McBee and John Paul Cain encouraged himto try the Senior tour. Smith, a doctor, first shot his age when he was 68 years old. But in 2006, Smith passed Bailey and continued on with the record until his death in 2012 at the age of 95. ", Almost immediately after retiring from the service as a 20-yearman in 1980, Morgan decided to find out how good he really was.He turned pro and entered the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament. Consistency'. In 2012, when Charles was 76, he carded a round of 66, 10 strokes below his age, at the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open on the European Senior Tour. Says Sifford, "Walt's awonderful guy. When he once again emerged fromthe Q school for the '95 season, he was a different player. Although he possessed astrong and accurate long game, he came up short around thegreens. I see a lot of me in him. There's a sense ofstillness and privacy about him, a quiet strength that onesuspects has been his most trusted companion in the cottonfields of Georgia, the jungles of Vietnam and on the cart pathsof the Senior tour. I'vegot to trust it. "Hebelieves in himself," Morgan added.

Before he was finished Smith matched or beat his age an amazing 3,359 times. "It was a good job, a good-paying job," hesays, "but you had to watch your back all the time. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

One season, whilestationed in Panama, he hit 26 homers in 30 games againstmilitary competition, which led to an offer from the PittsburghPirates.

He played in all the local amateurtournaments and won the 1975 and '76 All-Service championships.He found that golf suited him. Then he set a new record a day later, shooting 66. "Ireally wanted to try, yet I had to honor my commitment," hesays. But now I pay no attention. But Morgan can be aroused by his golf swing, a medley ofdipping, looping and lunging during which the only fixed pointis the stogie clenched firmly between his teeth. After school, from the time he was nine until he was 15, Walterand his brothers picked cotton along with much of the blackcommunity. As one of six African-Americans on the Senior tour (andcurrently the most successful), Morgan is well aware of his debtto the pioneers of black golf. He received the 1995 Comeback Player of the Year award, and was Champions Tour Player of the Month in September 1995 and March 1996. "I thought, Wow!What a terrible swing," he says. ", When he graduated from high school in 1960, Morgan was goodenough at baseball to be offered grants to play at a fewcolleges, including Tuskegee University. Walter told Carrie that she would get a call from a man named Jensen, who calls Carrie at home and gets spooked because she's a cop, then she offers him $10K for his information and agrees to meet him. In 2002, at age 61, Morgan shot a 60 in the AT&T Canada Senior Open Championship. Walter T. Morgan (born May 31, 1941) is an American professional golfer who has played on the Senior PGA Tour (now Champions Tour).. Morgan was born in Haddock, Georgia, where he played baseball in his youth.He served 20 years in the United States Army including two tours of duty in Vietnam.He began playing golf at the age of 30 after 10 years in the military. "I got paired with Ray Floyd the last round and flatchoked," he says. Morgan has received several Champions Tour awards.

Morgan had only a brief brush with golf when he was growing up.When his older brother, Evans Jr., acquired a secondhandseven-iron and some balls while caddying at a nearby course, thethree Morgan brothers cut makeshift holes in a field and tookturns using the club. In golf, an "age shooter" is a golfer whose score for an 18-hole round of golf matches or betters his age. Every time an establishedplayer--someone who spent decades on the regular Tour piling upearnings--turns 50, a player like Morgan gets pushed back.

His goal was to pick 100 pounds a session and make$2, but he was never able to come close. ", Trusting himself is what Morgan has been doing throughout a lifethat would have discouraged a less confident or adaptable man.

I'm here to playgolf. He grew up in Haddock, Ga., 85 milessoutheast of Atlanta. "He has this belief that whatever happens, hecan handle it." Morgan keeps at it because he's trying to work his wayup the career money list, on which the top 70 seniors areexempt. That year he played hisway into four Senior tour events, his best finish being a 19that the Showdown Classic. The tournament was played at Indian Spring Golf Club in La Quinta, Calif. Powell lowered the record by one, besting the 21-stroke difference established by 93-year-old Ed Ervasti, who in 2007, posted a 72 at Sunningdale Golf & Country Club (Old Course) in London, Ontario. On the pro tours, the most-strokes-below-age record is held by major championship winner and Hall of Famer Bob Charles. ", Returning to Hawaii after his second stint in Vietnam, Morganbegan breaking 70 regularly.

He was the son of Evans, a heavy-equipmentoperator, and Willie Pearl Morgan. In 2017, at the age of 86, Powell fired a 64 — 22 strokes better than his age — in the final round of a Southern California PGA section senior tournament. US Open Cut Rule: How Many Golfers Make the Cut? They were scramblers and sowas I, and I loved the competition. "That's all I've ever had. "You know yourself; other people don't. (Fred Couples played in the same Q school and made it bytying for the last spot.)

I know his father wasmilitary and that had to rub off.

"We learned how to hit all kinds of shotswith that club," says Morgan.

Morgan turned down theoffers, fearful that he might not be able to pay back thegrants. "I just look forward to getting up everymorning," he says. LiveAbout uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. He ain't going to breakdown, and he ain't afraid of nothing. Morgan has had those. He was the son of Evans, a heavy-equipment operator, and Willie Pearl Morgan. Then I thought, This is all I have. [2] He was eventually forced to retire from the game in 2004 for health reasons due to arthritis in his back and shoulders.[1]. [3], "The First Tee celebrates grand opening in Lake Norman",, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, 2002 Uniting Fore Care Classic (Georgia-Pacific Grand Champions event), This page was last edited on 14 August 2020, at 19:26. He bought a set of used clubs and for the next sixmonths hit balls every day at a driving range. "Walter stays very calm most of the time," says his wife andagent, Geraldine. "It was a very tough experience," hesays. Youmake a mistake there and it's all over.

Hall of Famer Joe Morgan is a distant cousin. "When I look at Tiger, I see myself. Morgan will say he is proud that only one of the42 men in his platoon was killed during his second tour. "Sure, I've been stoppedby security guards at the locker room door and gotten some funnylooks even after showing them my player's badge," he says. In 1994, with the goal of correcting this weakness,Morgan played mostly in the Senior satellite events, groovinghis skills from 80 yards and in. ", Morgan finally reached the Senior tour in 1992 by way of Qschool and had flashes of brilliance.

"But I never tried to play on areal course. Walter T. Morgan (born May 31, 1941) is an American professional golfer who has played on the Senior PGA Tour (now Champions Tour). YetMorgan doesn't find the quest to be a relentless, and possiblyfruitless, grind.

", Morgan is so stubbornly self-reliant that being asked if he hasever seen a swing coach or a sports psychologist almost promptsanother laugh. Because he never finished better than 57th on the money list inhis first three seasons, and only the top 31 stay exempt, Morganhad to keep returning to Q school. "I told myself that it's not life and death outhere on tour," he says. Morgan tried his hand--it was thefirst time he had hit something other than a seven-iron--and washooked. Hemade it to the final stage and missed earning a card by only onestroke. Still, the experience gave him someperspective. Carrie is now the prime suspect in the murder investigation of Morgan for she met twice with him, once for dinner at his house then just before he was shot to death the next day. The record for most times shooting your age belongs to T. Edison Smith of Moorhead, Minn. Frank Bailey of Abilene, Texas, had long held this record, matching or beating his age 2,623 times, from age 71 until age 98. ", Morgan is also quietly proud of his own place in the continuumof black golf. He grew up in Haddock, Ga., 85 miles southeast of Atlanta. He's got a temper,but you have to take him very deep.

And in 2012, a 71-year-old named Bob Kurtz set a record by shooting his age seven times in one day (he was doing a golf marathon to raise money for charity).

If he had, Morgan would have surely dismissed a career in golfas pure silliness. It's hard to get a rise out of Walter Morgan. "At the time I was just afraid of going into debt," hesays. It's a swingthat would have Johnny Miller sketching furiously on theTelestrator, and when Morgan is asked to describe it, achuckle--albeit a muted one--escapes his barrel chest.

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