- PGA Championship
The PGA Championship is one of the four major championships in golf and it’s the only one these four competitions which does not explicitly invite amateurs to participate. It’s also the only major to reserve twenty places in the field for club professionals who qualify from the PGA Professional Championship. Organized by the PGA of America, this annual event is limited to 156 players.
It began as a match play tournament in 1916 at Siwanoy Country Club in New York (with Englishman Jim Barnes receiving $500 and a diamond-studded gold medal for his win) and this format of knock-out competition continued until the 39th edition in 1957. From then on, the championship changed to the tried and trusted arrangement of four rounds of stroke play golf over four days.
Rodman Wanamaker, heir to a New York department store empire, was instrumental in establishing the PGA and he put up the $2,500 prize money for the inaugural contest, along with a magnificent silver cup – The Wanamaker Trophy – which stands 28 inches high, 10.5 inches in diameter, 27 inches from handle to handle and weighs in at 27 pounds.
Walter Hagen won the PGA for four straight years between 1924 and 1927 but, after he was beat in the quarter final in 1928, he was forced to admit that he didn’t have the trophy. The story goes that he’d lost it celebrating his 7th major championship win at the 1925 PGA in Olympia Fields by jumping out of a taxi at a nightclub in Chicago and leaving the Wanamaker Trophy behind. It turned up a few years later in Detroit in an unmarked case at L.A. Young & Company, the firm that made Hagen’s clubs.
Hagen’s five-time success rate in six finals is the record number of match play PGA wins by any professional but he doesn’t hold the greatest margin of victory in a final. That honour belongs to Paul Runyans, who retained his title against Sam Snead by a score of 8&7 at The Shawnee Inn & Golf Resort in 1938. Snead would later go on to win the event three times between 1942 and 1951.
In the stroke play era, Jack Nicklaus also won the PGA five times, from 1963 to 1980, finishing in the runner-up position another four times. Only twelve editions of the stroke play championships had been claimed by a non-American player before Rory McIlroy from Northern Ireland lifted the trophy on the Ocean course at Kiawah Island in 2012, recording a record eight-stroke victory against the field.
Most of the PGA Championship venues are located on the east side of the United States. Three states in this part of the country have been used for around a third of the events – New York (13), Ohio (11) and Pennsylvania (9) –while the Mountain and Pacific Divisions in the west have only ever hosted a total of ten PGAs at eight different clubs. Southern Hills in Oklahoma has held four tournaments, which is one more than seven other clubs.
In the list below, you’ll not find courses at the following three venues as they no longer exist: Fresh Meadow and Pomonock Country Club in Flushing, New York (1930 and 1939 respectively); and Pecan Valley Golf Club in San Antonio, Texas (1968).
Also absent from our list are: Cedar Crest (1927), Hermitage now Belmont (1949), Salisbury (now the Red course at Eisenhower Park) (1926) and Seaview (Pines) (1942).
PGA Championship Top 100 Leaderboard
B-NL Challenge Trophy