Editor’s note: This is an edited version of a three-part series that originally appeared on the author’s website thinkingaboutgolf.com.
In January 1942, about a month after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Golf Association suspended “for the duration” all of its national championships. Not long afterwards, it was announced the Hale America National Open Golf Tournament would be held at Ridgemoor Country Club in suburban Chicago during the same week in June that the canceled 1942 U.S. Open had been scheduled, 80 years ago this week.
The replacement event was conceived by Tom McMahon, the president of the Chicago District Golf Association. Shortly after McMahon learned that the U.S. Open had been canceled, he traveled to New York and met with the USGA to enlist its participation in a war-relief event to be held in Chicago. At the urging of former Olympic rower John Kelly, who was promoting physical fitness on behalf of the government, the two organizations, later joined by the PGA of America, agreed to jointly sponsor...
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