A century ago, Cyril Walker won the U.S. Open. He died years later, penniless in a prison cell

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A century ago, Cyril Walker bested Bobby Jones and many of golf's greatest players in the U.S. Open at Oakland Hills. It was the pinnacle of Walker's career, perhaps even his life. Because what followed was a downward spiral fueled by anger and alcohol, which ended in a New Jersey jail cell. The penniless former pro had sought refuge from the rain and cold, only to be found by a sergeant the next morning, dead of pneumonia. As the U.S. Open prepares to get underway Thursday at Pinehurst, it may be worth recalling a curious story of a most unexpected champion.

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Dave Skretta


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