hours and circulating in the best of country-club society, Hahn has grossed
upward of $1 million during his 17-year career—a fact that has not been lost on
a certain young man of 25 who at the moment of this writing probably is out
practicing one-handed two-irons blindfolded. "He has every shot I have, and
more," Hahn says. He is speaking of Jim Hahn, his son. "One of these
days he'll go on the road as Paul Hahn Jr. But he's not quite ready now. He's
not yet as glib, not as articulate, as the old man. You've got to have the
patter. My tongue is what made my fortune."
Indeed, it was
Hahn's tongue, not his clubs, that stood by him and saved the day at the
crucial junction of his career. At the 1953 Masters he stood before a crowd of
thousands. Past champions of the Masters, decked out in their green blazers,
sat regally in a row of folding chairs around the tee. Hahn was petrified. He
was the only trick-shot artist ever to have been invited to appear at the
Masters, and, like a baritone making his debut at the Met, he would either
disgrace himself or continue on to riches. He took a five-iron from his bag
and, hands trembling, began his warmup swings.
With his first
swing he shanked. He lay down another ball and shanked again. His third attempt
was still another shank. The silence around him was crushing. "Ladies and
gentlemen," Hahn piped, turning to the crowd. "The most difficult shot
in golf—the intentional shank!"
Hahn played the
Masters four years running, declining a fifth invitation lest he bore Augusta.
He has performed at 10 PGA Championships around the country, and at least once
at every major American golf tournament. Even an Arnold Palmer must envy a
golfer who owns a plane, a new Cadillac every year and a home across the
fairway from Jackie Gleason's without ever having had to putt.