The PGA Championship is one of four Major titles in the men’s professional game. It can often be swallowed up in the excitement of Augusta National or the anticipation of the Open Championship and US Open but the fact remains that it is a hugely prestigious and coveted tournament.
As the very best in the business ascend at Oak Hill Country Club for the 105th edition of the event, we detail 10 things that you may not know about the grand old championship…
1. The Importance Of Rodman Wanamaker
It is perhaps well known that the winner of the PGA Championship receives the Wanamaker Trophy for their efforts but did you know that it’s named after one of the most key figures in the history of the game?
Rodman Wanamaker was an American businessman with a key interest, among other things, in golf. In 1916, Wanamaker invited a group of prominent golfers and other leading industry representatives to the Taplow Club in New York. This resulted in the formation of the Professional Golfers’ Association of America – or the PGA.
Wanamaker insisted that the newly formed organisation needed an annual all-professional tournament and put up $2,500 of his own money and various trophies and medals as part of the prize fund. Seven months later, the first PGA Championship was played at Siwanoy Country Club in New York.
The trophy that Wanamaker put up was the very same that is competed for today. It stands at 28 inches high, 10 and a half inches in diameter, 27 inches from handle to handle and weighs 27 pounds.
2. Change In Format
Between its inception in 1916 and 1957, the PGA Championship was a match play event.
Following a consultation at a PGA of America meeting, the format changed to stroke play – starting in 1958 with the standard 72-hole format of 18 holes per day over four days. It is believed that network television broadcasters, who preferred a large group of well-known contenders on the final day, pressured the PGA of America to make the change.
The PGA Championship has remained a 72-hole stroke play event since.
3. The First Winner Was An Englishman
James ‘Jim’ Barnes won the inaugural PGA Championship in 1916 when it was contested at Siwanoy Country Club in New York. Back then, the format was match play with the Englishman coming out on top in the 36-hole final against Jock Hutchinson.
Barnes was awarded $500 for his victory as well as the Wanamaker Trophy and a diamond-studded medal. The tournament was then postponed for two…
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