The Country Club of Rochester to Present the First Walter Hagen Ambassador of the Game Award Thursday May 23 to Northern Ireland Golfer Darren Clarke

NBC Sports and Golf Channel Sportscaster, Jimmy Roberts, will lead a Q&A with Clarke After Presentation

TheCountry Club of Rochester (CCR) will present its first Walter Hagen Ambassador of the Game Award this Thursday, May 23 to Northern Ireland’sDarren Clarke, who is considered one of the world’s best international golfers. Clarke will be in Rochester this week to play in the 2019 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.

The Award Reception and Presentation will be held at The Country Club of Rochesterat 2935 East Avenue (entrance is on Elmwood Avenue). It begins with a reception at 7 p.m., the presentation will be at 7:45 p.m. immediately followed by a 15-minute Q&A led by Jimmy Roberts, 13-time Emmy Award-winning broadcaster and NBC Sports and Golf Channel Sportscaster, and author of Breaking the Slump.

The event is by invitation, and will be attended by professional golfers playing in the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship. The Country Club of Rochester’s Junior golfers will be also participating in the award event. 

The Walter Hagen Ambassador of the Game Award recognizes individuals who contribute to the growth of the game, and in this case Clarke is contributing to that effort by introducing the game and its virtues to juniors through his foundation. The Award’s namesake, Walter Hagen, is the Country Club of Rochester’s first head professional as well as golf’s first Ambassador. Hagen brought the game to the youth of the world.

Clarke has been a stalwart of The European Tour since 1991. He won The Open Championship in 2011 at Royal St. George's and also captained Europe's Ryder Cup team at Hazeltine in 2016. His Foundation helps further the development of junior golf in Ireland, and also raises money for Breast Cancer Awareness.

“Mr. Clarke has long demonstrated his skill as a great player,” said Mark Gianniny, a partner of Linden Oaks Management Company and Country Club of Rochester member, who will present the award to Clarke. “His activities off the course through The Darren Clarke Foundation make him an exemplary Ambassador of the game. The Foundation’s purpose of introducing the game of golf to juniors and stressing the virtues of honesty, integrity, responsibility, fair play and equality reflect most honorably upon him and embody the essence of Hagen. He, like Hagen, understands the junior golfers comprise 100% of the game’s future.”

Walter Hagen (born December 21, 1892 and died October 6, 1969) was a Rochester native who grew up in Corbett’s Glen, across the street form CCR. His storybook career began when he started caddying at The Country Club of Rochester in 1899 at the age seven. By 1913 he had become The Country Club of Rochester’s head professional. His 45 PGA Tour victories include 11 Majors. Hagen was the first American born player to win The Open Championship, and four consecutive PGA Championships, was Captain of the US team in the first six Ryder Cups played, the first touring golf professional, a founding Member of the PGA of America, and fought for the proper treatment of the golf professional inside the boundaries of privilege enjoyed by private clubs here and abroad.

A permanent bronze sculpture of Hagen was dedicated at The Country Club of Rochester in 2008. Clarke will be presented an engraved watch similar to the one presented to Hagen by CCR members after winning the 1914 US Open.

About The Country Club of Rochester

Founded in 1895, The Country Club of Rochester (CCR) is one of the fifty oldest clubs in the United States. The 1953 US Women’s Open, the 1962 US Women’s Amateur and the 1973 US Women’s Open have been hosted on the Donald Ross designed course. The Clubhouse lounge is named after Walter Hagen. CCR will celebrate its 125th anniversary in 2020.