The 100th edition of the PGA Championship gets underway today at Bellerive Country Club outside St. Louis. It will be the second PGA held at Bellerive: Nick Price won there in 1992.
The PGA is one of the four major championships in professional golf. Traditionally played in August, it is the last major of the season. Conducted by the Professional Golfer’s Association of America, the tournament was first held in 1916, and is the only major that reserves a large number of spots [20 of 156] for club professionals. This week’s tournament marks the centennial event of the PGA Championship. Beginning in 2019, the PGA will move to May, making it the second major of the season.
Some of golf’s most thrilling moments have come at the PGA Championship. Here are 11 of our favorites.
- Two golf prodigies dueled at Medinah, as 19-year-old Sergio Garcia of Spain and 1997 Masters winner, Tiger Woods, went mano a mano for the Wanamaker Trophy. Woods closed out Garcia on the 72nd hole to capture is first PGA – and second major.
- Tied with Steve Elkington and Thomas Bjorn on the 72nd hole at Baltusrol, Phil Mickelson knocked his approach shot into deep rough near the 18th green. In typical fashion, Lefty flopped his chip to two feet and made birdie to win by one.
- Davis Love III outdueled Justin Leonard at Winged Foot to win his only major. The son of a beloved PGA professional, Love rolled in a final birdie putt for 66 to win by five just as a rainbow appeared. It was a fitting tribute to his late father.
- Trailing Phil Mickelson by one on Saturday at the Atlanta Country Club, David Toms knocked a five-wood into the devilish par-3 15th. The ball hopped twice, hit the stick and dropped in for an ace. The following day, he calmly laid up on the 72nd hole, wedged to within a dozen feet, then poured in the par putt for a one-shot win over Lefty.
- Gene Sarazen and Walter Hagen – titans of the tour – met in the match-play final. All square on the second hole of sudden death, Sarazen nearly sailed his tee shot out of bounds, while Hagen’s drive settled only 20 feet from the hole. The Squire showed his mettle, knocking his approach to four feet and making birdie to capture his second straight PGA Championship.
- Tiger Woods and Bob May, former junior golf rivals, put on a thrilling show at Valhalla. After May drained a 15-foot putt on the 72nd hole, Woods had to sink a six-footer to force a playoff. He did, then edged May by one in a three-hole playoff to retain the Wanamaker Trophy, which he had claimed the prior year over Garcia.
- “Little” Jerry Barber rode a hot putter to victory at Olympia Fields. Don January seemed to have the tournament in his grasp before the 5’5” Barber caught fire. He rolled in a 20-footer for birdie at 16, sank a 40-foot par putt at 17 and holed a 60-footer at 18 to force a playoff. The next day, Barber felled January by a stroke to seize his only major.
- Greg Norman held the 54-hole lead at every major championship – including the PGA — in 1986. Four shots back of Norman with eight to play, Bob Tway caught The Shark on the 14th. Still tied at the last hole, victory seemed likely for Norman after he reached the short par-4 in regulation while Tway had found a deep green-side bunker. Playing first, Tway promptly holed his bunker shot. When a stunned Norman missed his birdie putt, the 27-year-old Tway captured his one and only major.
- Two legends of golf hooked up at Hershey Country Club, when Byron Nelson and Sam Snead battled in match play on Sunday. One down with three holes to play, Lord Byron birdied 16 and 17 to seize the lead, then parred the last to win one-up. It was the third of Nelson’s five career major titles.
- Coming into Hazeltine, Tiger Woods was 14-for-14 when he held the final round lead in a major. Tiger entered Sunday with a two-shot lead, which Korea’s Y.E. Yang erased after eight holes. Yang chipped in for eagle at the 14th to grab the lead, then held on to beat Woods by three. Yang became the first Asian male to win a major.
- John Daly became the most unforeseen major championship winner in golf history at Crooked Stick. The ninth alternate who only qualified after several other players pulled out of the tournament, the 25-year-old unknown brought the 7,567-yard course to its knees. Employing a grip it and rip it style of play, he fired a 12-under-par 276 to better Bruce Lietzke by three shots for his first tour win.