This year the PGA Championship will be taking place at Bethpage Black Course on Long Island in Farmingdale, New York. It is a highly regarded course that has hosted the US Open and Barclays Championships.
Leading up to this year’s PGA Championship we look at the most memorable moments from past years.
1923 Walter Hagen vs Gene Sarazen at Pelham Golf Club
In 1923, the two big names went head to head in the final match play to decide the PGA champ at Pelham Golf Club. Walter and Gene were both tied after 36 holes which forced a playoff. On the 2nd sudden death hole, Sarazen hit his ball into the rough almost out of bounce. At this point, things were looking disastrous for Sarazen, as he proceeded to the approach shot. It is stated that before he placed the shot Sarazen told spectators,
“I’ll put this one up so close to the hole that it will break Walter’s heart.”
The shot fell two feet short to be exact. Walter’s shot ended up finding a bunker. The next shot Sarazen nailed a birdie to seal the win.
1984 Lee Stravino outlasts Gary Player and Lanny Wadkins at Shoal Creek
The battle for the PGA Championship was coming down to two old dogs Lee Stravino aged 44 and Gary Player aged 48, two players who you would assume are out of contention and in the twilight of their careers and the 1977 PGA Champion Lanny Wadkins. Stravino was playing with a new putter and went on to win by 4 shots. In the end, the battle was far tighter than it seemed and Stravino went on to become the first player to score four 60s in a PGA Championship. This ended up being Stravino’s final win on the tour until his Senior Tour days.
1991 John Daly’s remarkable finish at Crooked Stick
The ninth alternate for the PGA Championships, John Daly ended up playing in the PGA that year because Nick Price had to go home to be with his wife who was due to give birth. Daly proceeded to play without any expectations or any pressure smashing the ball up the fairways consistently beyond 300 yards not fazed with the obstacles the Crooked Stick Course posed. He went on to take the lead into the 3rd round having carded a round of 69. Thereafter the fearless Daly stormed to victory in most unlikely fashion surprising all the bookies and pundits with his laid back approach to professionalism and dieting, even sporting a massive mullet. Nick Price’s Caddie Jeff Medlin was instrumental in guiding Daly to the title as they partnered up and Medlin parted with his wisdom resulting in a title.
2000 Tiger Woods vs Bob May at Valhalla
Tiger Woods looked to be coasting towards his 3rd Major title of the year before another south Californian junior, Bob May, pulled off one brilliant round to tie Woods. The duo tied the PGA Championship lowest score record where they both shot 31 on the back nine. On Sunday they went toe to toe ending in a playoff battle that included multiple masterful plays by May and some signature putting from Woods. In the end, the more experienced Woods pulled off the win to cap off a memorable year that included US Open and Open Championships victories. The following year Woods went on to win the US Masters becoming the holder of all 4 major Championships at the same time. He is the only player to achieve this feat.
2014 Rory Mcllroy vs Phil Mickelson and Richie Fowler at Valhalla
The three-way contenders in the final round put up a remarkable final that resulted in leader Rory Mcllroy having a few tense moments towards the end as the sun started to set. Mcllroy went 3 shots behind in the first nine but made up the deficit on the back nine to hold the lead going into the final hole. On the final hole, it was getting dark and there was a stage of uncertainty whether Mcllroy would be able to play the final hole. In the end whilst Fowler and Mickelson were in the fairway, he was called up setting up the intense final push. Mickelson wasted an eagle opportunity as well as Fowler that resulted in Mcllroy taking the title to add to his Open Championship victory earlier in the year.