The Golfer Who Was Punished By the Military for Winning a Tournament

In 1945, British pro golfer Charlie Ward won a tournament. And for his efforts, he was punished by the Royal Air Force.

Ward was a prominent golfer in the 1940s and 1950s, one whose professional career began in the 1930s. In fact, he won his first significant pro title in 1934. But like most of the best British golfers of his time and his age, he served in the armed forces once World War II arrived. Ward joined the RAF.

Fast forward to 1945, and VE Day — Victory in Europe Day — has passed, the Allies having defeated the Nazis and the rest of the Axis. Some of Ward's pro golfer colleagues are already out of the service. The golf world is on the road to normalcy again.

The British PGA decides it is time to bring back professional tournament golf. And the first post-VE Day tournament? The Daily Mail Victory Tournament is scheduled for September at The Old Course at St. Andrews.

Ward is still in the RAF, and still stationed at an RAF camp in Wallingford, England. But as a golfer of some prominence pre-war, he gets permission from his superiors to travel to Scotland and play in the Daily Mail Victory Tournament.

And guess what? Ward wound up winning that tournament. He beat Max Faulkner by one stroke with a score of 298 — the highest winning score in the Daily Mail Tournament since 1922. But give the guys a break. They were just getting back to tournament play after a world-historical conflagration.

Ward had been given by his superiors a time he had to back at his RAF base following the tournament's conclusion. But after winning, he went through the trophy ceremony and various other gladhanding duties. And he got a late start back.

When his train finally delivered him back to the RAF camp in Wallingford, there was a problem: He was late. And in the military, lateness is not something taken lightly.

What did the RAF do? As punishment, they confined Ward to his barracks. And that is how Charlie Ward became the only golfer punished by the military for winning a pro golf tournament.

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