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Ted Kroll

In the annals of golf history, Ted Kroll holds a distinctive place as one of the game’s most tenacious figures. Born on August 4th, 1919, in New Hartford, New York, Kroll would terricularly manifest his golfing prowess on the global stage, leaving an irrefutable imprint on the sport.

Enlisting in the US Army during WWII, Kroll was part of the ill-fated 106th Infantry Division that saw about 70% of its troops captured in the Battle of the Bulge. For his display of bravery, Kroll earned three Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star. True to his indomitable spirit, Kroll survived this trying period and subsequently embarked on a path that would carve his name into golf’s Hall of Fame.

After the war, Kroll turned professional in 1947 and embarked on a career that would see him win eight times on the PGA Tour. His golf journey was characterized by a hard-nosed approach, persistence, and an appetite to improve. From underdog to a serial winner, Kroll’s path is living proof of the promise made by the sport.

Perhaps the most significant moment of Kroll’s career came in 1956 when he won the prestigious Vardon Trophy with a scoring average of 70.35. In the same year, he made history by becoming the first golfer to top $70,000 in seasonal earnings. This double record-making feat was a testament to his formidable form during that period.

Kroll’s victories ran the gamut, featuring wins at both significant competitions like the World Championship of Golf in 1956, and the Insurance City Open and Canadian Open in 1952. In his distinguished career, Kroll also came close to winning the Masters in 1956, finishing second after a gripping duel with Jack Burke Jr.

Even on the international stage, his talent was unmistakable. As a representative of the United States, Kroll formed part of the Ryder Cup teams of 1953 and 1957, helping U.S. secure a victory in 1953.

A deep dive into Kroll’s playing style reveals a keen strategist with great precision. Known for his accuracy, and an ability to handle pressure situations with ease, he was a tough competitor. Kroll had an incredible grit, reflected in his ability to bounce back from adversities, like when he came back to win the Phoenix Open in 1952 after a four-year sabbatical due to the agonizing effects of malaria and a gunshot wound he suffered during the war.

An accomplished golfer, a decorated war hero, and a celebrated golf stalwart, Ted Kroll is an embodiment of commitment, determination, and poise. His journey from the war-torn fields of Belgium to the lush greens of America’s finest golf courses is nothing short of inspiring.

Kroll passed away on April 23, 2002, but his legacy remains alive in golf’s tapestry. The indomitable spirit demonstrated throughout his life and his career remains a testament of his greatness. Despite the physical and emotional scars from his time in service, his passion for golf never faltered, and out of it was borne a career that continues to inspire upcoming generations.

From the battlefields of World War II to the pristine fairways of Augusta, Kroll’s story is one punctuated with significant challenges, remarkable victories, and contributions to the sport that cannot be understated. Ted Kroll is not only a worthy figure in golf history but in the annals of human resilience and triumph.

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