On June 6, 2019 we will remember all of those that serviced our country during D Day. Even though I has been 75 years ago, we must not forget those that gave all they had in service to our country. And so, I thought it would be good to remember some of our Pro Golfers who have served in the U.S. Military.
Some of these Pro golfers include Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones, Horton Smith, Lloyd Mangrum, Ed Oliver, Sam Snead, Lee Trevino, Orville Moody, and Billy Hurley. Some of these names might be known to our younger golfers, but they played an important part in their military service as well as to professional golf.
Let’s look at a few of the professional golfers’ roles in their service.
Arnold left college to join the Coast Guard and become a man of the sea after the death of a very close friend. Arnold served three years in the Coast Guard and felt the three years he served was of great value to him. Palmer stated this when he was honored on 2008 for his service. After his thre years of service, Palmer return to college to continue his education.
Even though Bobby Jones was in is 40’s during the second world war, Bobby enlisted into the Air force, setting his golf career aside. Starting out as an aerial map analysis, Jones pushed is seniors to be place into a position with more action related service. Bobby when on to earn the rank of captain in the Air Force.
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Bobby became specialized in prisoner interrogation and served on the front lines at Normandy and was under when heavy fire with his Eventually, Jones’ unit was converted to infantry, and on June 7, 1944, D-Day Plus One, he went ashore at Normandy. For two days, he and his unit were under intense enemy fire. Jones lived, but not to tell about it. Like so many others who had engaged in combat, he refused to discuss his experience.
Winston Churchill said in 1942 regarding Bobby: Even a selfless golfer, one who put country first and served it honorably in Operation Overlord, the most important undertaking of the war.
When Trevino turned 17, he enlisted into the Marine Corps and became a machine gunner for four years of his service. While in the Marines, Trevino played golf after the war including competed in Armed Forces golf events in Asia.
Trevino left the Marine Corp in 1950 as a corporal and went on to become a top professional golfer. Lee said, “The Marine Corps was the greatest thing that ever happened to me.” “If they told me I had to go back in the Marines now, hell, I’d love it.”
Billy Hurley III
A 2004 Navy graduate, Hurley was one of the top amateurs in the country, competing for the winning American squad in the 2005 Walker Cup. Hurley served five years after graduation, including a tour of duty in the Persian Gulf. Prior to his win at Congressional, Hurley had seven career top 10s on the PGA Tour.
Mangrum was a three-time winner on tour when he went into World War II service. He was offered a job as a club professional at a military base but declined. He was awarded two Purple Hearts and was wounded at the Battle of the Bulge. When he returned from duty, Mangrum won the 1946 U.S. Open and would go on to capture the Vardon Trophy twice.
Moody, called “Sarge” on the PGA Tour, was in the Army for 14 years, and a true golfer at heart. The 1969 U.S. Open winner oversaw the development and maintenance of military golf courses around the world.
The retired sergeant continued to play in charity and other golf events until 2007. He passed away in 2008 at the age of 74, and is survived by his wife, their four children, and eight grandchildren.
The Missouri Mortician, who pulled off one of the biggest Masters upsets by defeating Ben Hogan in 1946, served aboard the USS Cincinnati in World War II.
And so, as an ex service man myself, my sincere thanks to all of these professionals that valued their country more than golf when they were in need to serve.