PGA CHAMPIONSHIP ‘24: Looking back at Tiger Woods and key anniversaries


A look at some of the anniversaries this year at the PGA Championship:

100 years ago (1924)

One year after losing to Gene Sarazen in the championship match, Walter Hagen captured the second of his five PGA Championship titles with a 2-up victory over Jim Barnes in Indiana. He also defeated Barnes in the 1921 finals. Sarazen lost in the second round at French Links Springs to Larry Nobholtz, and thus PGA domination returned to Hagen. With the victory, he had two PGAs, two British Opens and two U.S. Opens. Hagen would go on to win the next three PGA Championships.

The AP Story: “Walter Hagen of New York added another title to his list today by defeating James Barnes of New York, 2 up, in the 36-hole finals for the national professional golf championship over the French Lick course. Hagen, who has won virtually every open title in the world and now is possessor for the second time in three years of the British open crown, had a narrow escape today at the hands of the tall Englishman.”

75 years ago (1949)

Sam Snead became the first player to win the Masters and the PGA Championship in the same year when he beat Johnny Palmer, 3 and 2, at Hermitage Country Club in Virginia. Ben Hogan was unable to defend his title having nearly lost his life in a car accident at the start of the year. Snead, at 37 the oldest PGA champion at the time, had only one match go to the final hole, a 1-up victory over Dave Douglas in the third round. Only two other players have won the Masters and PGA in the same year since then — Jack Burke Jr. in 1956 and Jack Nicklaus in 1963 and 1975.

The AP story: “Sammy Snead swung a skittish putter, a sizzling niblick and his usual terrific woods today to win the Professional Golfers Association championship from Johnny Palmer 3 and 2. Snead becomes the first man in golf to win the PGA and the Masters in one season. And at 37 he is the oldest man to win a PGA — putting to shame Gene Sarazen’s often quoted speech that you can’t win big championships after you’re 35.”

50 years ago (1974)

Lee Trevino continued his mastery over Jack Nicklaus in the majors. Despite opening with a 73 that put him in a tie for 43rd, the Merry Mex followed with 66-68-69 for a one-shot victory over Nicklaus at Tanglewood Golf Club in North Carolina. Nicklaus was trying to become the first player to win the PGA in back-to-back years in stroke play. It was the fourth time Nicklaus was runner-up to Trevino in majors after the 1968 U.S. Open, the 1971 U.S. Open and the 1972 British Open. Sam Snead tied for third, three shots behind, at age 62.

The AP story: “Every tournament I enter, I figure if I can beat Jack Nicklaus I’m gonna do pretty good, maybe win the championship,” Lee Trevino said. He did it again Sunday. This time it was a head-to-head confrontation with Nicklaus in the final round of the PGA Championship — the last of the year’s four major tests of golf. Trevino, armed with a new putter and the old, unbounded confidence, put together a solid 69, one under par on the hilly, heavily wooded Tanglewood Golf Club course, and gained his fifth major title with a 276 total — one shot ahead of Nicklaus.”

25 years ago (1999)

Tiger Woods had gone 10 majors with winning since his 12-shot victory in the 1997 Masters. But once his swing changes with Butch Harmon took hold in the spring, he was hard to beat. Sergio Garcia, the 19-year-old rookie from Spain, nearly pulled it off. Garcia rallied from a five-shot deficit at Medinah, once saving par after gouging a shot out of the base of a tree. Woods made a clutch par putt on the 17th and held on to win by one. That was the start of Woods winning five of six majors. Garcia would have to wait 18 years to finally win a major.

The AP story: “The only thing that belonged to Tiger Woods was what mattered the most — winning the PGA Championship. Everything else was the property of 19-year-old Sergio Garcia, who stole the show at Medinah Country Club and almost robbed Woods of another major championship. Woods, 23, became the youngest player since Seve Ballesteros in 1980 to win two majors.”

20 years ago (2004)

In the first major at Whistling Straits, Vijay Singh won his second PGA title with the highest final round (76) by a champion. Justin Leonard had a two-shot lead with five holes to play until his putter went cold. That led to a three-hole aggregate playoff that included Chris DiMarco. Singh had not made a birdie Sunday until nearly driving the 10th green to set up birdie. Leonard and DiMarco couldn’t catch him, and the big Fijian had his third major.

The AP story: “The only birdie Vijay Singh made all day was the only one that mattered. Singh took advantage of a late collapse by Justin Leonard to get into a three-way playoff Sunday at Whistling Straits, then made the only birdie over the three extra holes to win the final major of the year. Despite closing with a 4-over 76 — the highest winning score ever by a PGA champion — and taking 34 putts in regulation, Singh nearly drove the green on the first of three playoff holes and made a 6-foot putt.”

10 years ago (2014)

Rory McIlroy capped off the best summer of his career by winning his second straight major. He had an easy time at Royal Liverpool in July. He had to maneuver around Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson in a dynamic conclusion to a rain-soaked week at Valhalla that nearly didn’t finish. McIlroy in the final group teed off as Mickelson and Fowler were still in the fairway. McIlroy closed with a 4-under 68 for a one-shot victory over Mickelson, whose runner-up finish secured a spot on his 10th straight Ryder Cup team.

The AP story: “Rory McIlroy stood over a 10-inch putt in gathering darkness to win the PGA Championship as flashes from thousands of camera lit up Valhalla like a rock concert. Everyone wanted to capture a moment from golf’s latest coronation. In his biggest test, McIlroy played his best golf Sunday to win his second straight major and establish himself as golf’s next star. The final major was pure theater with an All-Star cast — Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson all with a share of the lead on the back nine. The final two hours were filled with eagles and birdies, with tension and chaos.”

5 years ago (2019)

The PGA Championship moved to May for the first time in some seven decades, and Brooks Koepka joined Tiger Woods as the only back-to-back winners in stroke play. It was a lot harder than it should have been. Koepka set the 36-hole major championship record at 128 (63-65) and set PGA record for largest 36- and 54-hole leads (seven shots for both). But he began to fade on the back nine at Bethpage Black as Dustin Johnson charged. The lead was down to one until Johnson made a pair of bogeys. Koepka won by two shots for his fourth major.

The AP story: “Brooks Koepka took his place in PGA Championship history with a wire-to-wire victory, minus the style points. In a raging wind that turned Bethpage Black into a beast, Koepka lost all but one shot of his record seven-shot lead Sunday. He lost the brutal Long Island crowd, which began chanting “DJ!” for Dustin Johnson. But he delivered the key shots over the closing stretch, and Koepka closed with a 4-over 74 for a two-shot victory. Koepka said at the start of the week that majors are sometimes the easiest to win. This one should have been. It wasn’t.”


AP golf:

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