U.S. Mid-Am winner Stewart Hagestad on getting permission to play from his boss and the wildly overblown Walker Cup controversy

September 19, 2023

Ross Parker/R&A

With his third U.S. Mid-Amateur victory last Thursday, Stewart Hagestad made some impressive history, joining an elite group of players to have won the same USGA Championship three times. And to think, his day job almost kept him from even teeing it up at Sleepy Hollow in the first place.

That's right, despite what your preconceived notion of Hagestad might be, the decorated amateur golfer does have an actual job that he does have to do actual work at. In fact, he had to get permission from his boss to play in the U.S. Mid-Am, which he told us was hardly a foregone conclusion.

"I ran it by my boss a week ago," Hagestad said on this week's episode of The Loop podcast. "And I say this kind of in jest, but also kind of seriously, so hopefully it's taken the right way. I go into his office and I was like, I'd really love to play the Mid-Am and he was like 'I'll run it up the flagpole.' And in my head I'm like ... run it up the flagpole? Like, c'mon, there's a couple of pretty unique potential carrots at the end of this. My mind had been made up, but it's not always up to me." 

Fortunately, his boss ran it up the flagpole and Hagestad got the OK, allowing him to pick up his third U.S. Mid-Am win since 2016 and to potentially lock up a spot in the 2024 Masters, which would be his third appearance. U.S. Mid-Am winners are not guaranteed an invitation from Augusta National, but Hagestad has received one after each of his last two U.S. Mid-Am wins. 

During our full interview, Hagestad also talked about the overblown Walker Cup hat "controversy," why the professional golf life was never for him and why he was a little bit upset to miss out on the U.S. Open at LACC, where he is a member. To hear the full podcast, please have a listen below, and like and subscribe to The Loop wherever you get your podcasts.