Tom Wargo’s path to golf stardom was unconventional. Unlike most who achieve fame in the game, his beginnings were modest.
He didn’t caddie as a youth or have parents who played golf. He grew up on a dairy farm in Mayville, Michigan, the heart of the Thumb area. He worked on a Buick assembly line, toiled 400 feet in the air as an ironworker, and it wasn’t until he was 25 that he taught himself how to play golf.
Twenty-five years later, after working as a club pro in Centralia, Ill., and winning multiple state and PGA of America section events, he joined the PGA TOUR Champions where he was an immediate success by winning a major championship.
Wargo defeated Bruce Crampton in a playoff to take the PGA Senior Championship in 1993 at PGA National’s Bear-Trapped Champion course, snapping a three-year reign by Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino.
Wargo followed in 1994 with another major title, the British Senior Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. Wargo, with his trademark wide-brim straw hat and mustache, became a familiar figure on the Champions Tour with more than 430 starts including five wins and 100-plus top ten finishes.
Year inducted: 2009