Golf: Sarazen, one of the greats, dies at 97

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GENE SARAZEN, one of only four players to have won each of golf's four Major tournaments, died yesterday in Naples, Florida, at the age of 97.

Nicknamed "The Squire" for his diminutive stature and fashionable attire, Sarazen landed seven Majors in his career. Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus are the others to win the Masters, the US Open, the Open and the PGA Championship at least once.

Sarazen won three PGA Championships (1922, 1923, 1933), two US Opens (1922, 1932), the 1932 British Open and the 1935 Masters. He also helped create the mystique about the Masters. During the final round of the 1935 tournament at Augusta, he recorded his legendary double-eagle at the par- five 15th hole, using a four-wood to hole his second shot from 220 yards.

Sarazen's last public appearance came at last month's Masters, when the native of New York joined Sam Snead and Byron Nelson as honorary starters. "The game has lost one of its great heroes," the PGA Tour commissioner, Tim Finchem, said last night.