PGA is formed

PGA is formed

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On January 17, 1916, a group of golf professionals and several leading amateur golfers gather at the Taplow Club in New York City, in a meeting that will result in the founding of the Professional Golfers Association (PGA).

The lunch meeting occurred at the invitation of Rodman Wanamaker, the son of the pioneering founder of Wanamaker’s department stores (now Macy’s). A graduate of Princeton University, Wanamaker joined his father’s business in 1886. He used his considerable wealth and influence to support a number of interests, including aviation, art and sports. Believing that golf needed an official organization to promote interest in the game, which was already growing at the time, Wanamaker invited a group of players, including the celebrated Walter Hagen, and other representatives of the sport to the Taplow Club for an exploratory meeting.

The Taplow Club gathering began a series of several meetings over the next several months, and on April 10, 1916, the PGA was officially established with 35 charter members. Wanamaker proposed that the newly formed organization hold an annual tournament, and offered to donate money for a trophy and prize fund. That October, the first annual PGA Championship took place at the Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, New York. James M. Barnes defeated Jock Hutchinson in the championship match, taking home the trophy and a purse of $2,580.

In the years since 1916, the PGA has grown into one of the sporting world’s largest professional associations. Each summer, top golfers compete at a different outstanding course for one of golf’s most prestigious awards, the Wanamaker Trophy.

United States Golf Association

The United States Golf Association (USGA) is the United States' national association of golf courses, clubs and facilities and the governing body of golf for the U.S. and Mexico. [1] Together with The R&A, the USGA produces and interprets the rules of golf. The USGA also provides a national handicap system for golfers, conducts 14 national championships, including the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open and U.S. Senior Open, and tests golf equipment for conformity with regulations. The USGA and the USGA Museum are located in Liberty Corner, New Jersey. [2]

Professional Golfers' Association of America

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Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA of America), organization formed in the United States in 1916 at the instigation of Rodman Wanamaker, a Philadelphia businessman, with the stated purpose of promoting interest in professional golf, elevating the standards of the game, and advancing the welfare of its members. By the early 21st century the PGA of America (often conventionally shortened to “PGA”) had a membership of more than 25,000 playing and teaching professionals. Its annual PGA Championship is one of the world’s four major golf tournaments. In addition, it shares in the conduct of an international team match with Great Britain for the Ryder Cup and cosponsors an annual yearlong series of tournaments, called the PGA Tour, held throughout North America (but primarily in the United States). Other activities include maintenance of a PGA Hall of Fame and a training program for would-be touring professionals. The PGA headquarters are in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

Similar organizations exist in other countries (the PGA of Canada was founded in 1911). The women’s equivalent of the PGA is the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), founded in 1950. It provides organized professional tournament golf for women and holds the LPGA Championship tournament.


The PGA is divided into seven regional sections and a dedicated women's section (the WPGA), each of which has its own headquarters and organises its own tournaments:

  • East (England)
  • Midlands (England)
  • North (Northern England, North Wales and the Isle of Man)
  • South (Southern England and the Channel Islands)
  • West (West of England and South Wales)
  • Scotland
  • Ireland

The PGA also has an international community for members outside Great Britain and Ireland. [1]

All students who go through the three-year course and succeed in passing the comprehensive examinations at the end of that period are then known as PGA Professionals and are able to teach and work within the golf industry anywhere in the world. The Professional Golfers' Association qualification (Foundation Degree in Professional Golf Studies) is recognised as one of the most prestigious golfing qualifications in the world. For information on how to become a PGA professional see [1] on the official site. A second route into the PGA is via a three-year BA Hons Degree in Applied Golf Management Studies at the University of Birmingham. The AGMS is the first degree of its kind in the UK and is ideal for golfers interested in pursuing senior managerial roles in golf.

It was a letter from a North Wales pro in Golf Illustrated on 12 April 1901 that triggered the idea of a professional golfers' association, advocating that pros needed to band together to protect their interests.

Within months the leading players of the day, led by the legendary J.H. Taylor had galvanised enough support to form the London and Counties Professional Golfers' Association. The formation of the association was announced in The Times on 9 August 1901. [2] Arthur Balfour consented to be the president of the association. [3] The association had already announced its first competition, to be held at Tooting Bec Golf Club, Furzedown on 8 October. [4] The event was delayed by a week and was played on 15 October. The Tooting Bec Club donated a "silver challenge cup" to be awarded to the winner. Of the 50 members who entered 46 played, the tournament being over 36 holes of stroke play. [5]

The name of the association was changed at the first AGM on 2 December 1901 to The Professional Golfers' Association. Membership was reported as 59 professionals with 11 assistants and funds of just over £47. The golfing landscape in those early days was very different to the modern game with pros, even the very best like Taylor, Vardon and Braid, earning a living from club duties, club and ball-making, green-keeping, teaching here and there and of course competing in tournaments.

A separate Northern Counties Professional Golfers' Association was formed as a result of a meeting in Leeds on 9 January 1902. [6] At a subsequent meeting, also in Leeds, on 24 March 1902 it was decided that, subject to certain conditions, it would amalgamate with the London-based Professional Golfers' Association and become the northern section of the new enlarged association. [7] The same meeting also agreed to accept an offer from the Leeds Golf Club to host a tournament on 6 May at which the club would provide a prize. This prize became the Leeds Cup.

Administration and organisation of the PGA took a big step forward with the appointment of Commander Roe as secretary in 1934.

He was at the helm for 28 years and under his leadership regulated membership, improved the quality of tournaments, balanced the books and generally endeavoured to promote an increase in the number of people playing the game.

During the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, the advent of the Ryder Cup, new golf heroes such as Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen and Henry Cotton, all helped golf's popularity and reinforced the PGA's position as a leading golf organisation.

As the tournament circuit flourished in the late 1960s and 1970s, the PGA Tournament Division went from strength to strength, ultimately going on to form the European Tour in 1984, while the interests of the club professional continued to be represented by the Association at its Belfry headquarters.

During the 1960s and 1970s, the PGA rejuvenated its training and education programme, something it has continued to the present day with assistant professionals now graduating with foundation degrees and honours degrees covering all aspects of golf - from playing and coaching through to golf business and marketing.

The PGA has strong links to Europe as a member of the PGAs of Europe and is committed to growing the game and helping ordinary golfers enjoy the game to its maximum.


In 1894, with 41 golf courses operating in the United States, two unofficial national championships for amateur golfers were organized. One was held at Newport Country Club in Rhode Island, and the other at St. Andrew's Golf Club in New York. In addition, and at the same time as the amateur event, St. Andrew's conducted an Open championship for professional golfers. None of the championships was officially sanctioned by a governing body for American golf, causing considerable controversy among players and organizers. Later in 1894 this led to the formation of the United States Golf Association (USGA), which became the first formal golf organization in the country. After the formation of the USGA, golf quickly became a sport of national popularity and importance.

In February 1916 the Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA) was established in New York City. One month earlier, the wealthy department store owner Rodman Wanamaker hosted a luncheon with the leading golf professionals of the day at the Wykagyl Country Club in nearby New Rochelle. The attendees prepared the agenda for the formal organization of the PGA [5] consequently, golf historians have dubbed Wykagyl "The Cradle of the PGA." [6] The new organization's first president was Robert White, one of Wykagyl's best-known golf professionals. [ citation needed ]

The first PGA Championship was held in October 1916 at Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, New York. [7] The winner, Jim Barnes, received $500 and a diamond-studded gold medal donated by Rodman Wanamaker. The 2016 winner, Jimmy Walker, earned $1.8 million. The champion is also awarded a replica of the Wanamaker Trophy, which was also donated by Wanamaker, to keep for one year, and a smaller-sized keeper replica Wanamaker Trophy. [8] [9]

Format Edit

The PGA Championship was originally a match play event in the early fall, but it varied from May to December. After World War II, the championship was usually in late May or late June, then moved to early July in 1953 and a few weeks later in 1954, with the finals played on Tuesday. As a match play event (with a stroke play qualifier), it was not uncommon for the finalists to play over 200 holes in seven days. The 1957 event lost money, [10] and at the PGA meetings in November it was changed to stroke play, starting in 1958, with the standard 72-hole format of 18 holes per day for four days, Thursday to Sunday. Network television broadcasters, preferring a large group of well-known contenders on the final day, pressured the PGA of America to make the format change. [11]

During the 1960s, the PGA Championship was played the week after The Open Championship five times, making it virtually impossible for players to compete in both majors. In 1965, the PGA was contested for the first time in August, and returned in 1969, save for a one-year move to late February in 1971, played in Florida. The 2016 event was moved to late July, two weeks after the Open Championship, to accommodate the 2016 Summer Olympics in August. [12]

Before the 2017 edition, it was announced that the PGA Championship would be moved to May on the weekend before Memorial Day, beginning in 2019. The PGA Tour concurrently announced that it would move its Players Championship back to March the same year it had been moved from March to May in 2007. The PGA of America cited the addition of golf to the Summer Olympics, as well as cooler weather enabling a wider array of options for host courses, as reasoning for the change. It was also believed that the PGA Tour wished to re-align its season so that the FedEx Cup Playoffs would not have to compete with the start of football season in late-August. [13] [14] [15]

Location Edit

The PGA Championship has normally been played in the eastern half of the United States. except eleven times, most recently in 2020 at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. [16] [17] It was the first for the Bay Area, returning to California after a quarter century. Prior to 2020, it was last played in the Pacific time zone in 1998, at Sahalee east of Seattle. (The Mountain time zone has hosted three editions, all in suburban Denver, in 1941, 1967, and 1985.) The 103rd PGA Championship was held at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort's Ocean Course in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. [18]

The state of New York has hosted thirteen times, followed by Ohio (11) and Pennsylvania (9).

Promotion Edit

The tournament was previously promoted with the slogan "Glory's Last Shot". In 2013, the tagline was dropped in favor of "The Season's Final Major", as suggested by PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem while discussing the allowance of a one-week break in its schedule before the Ryder Cup. Finchem had argued that the slogan was not appropriate as it weakened the stature of events that occur after it, such as the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup playoffs. PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua explained that they had also had discussions with CBS, adding that "it was three entities that all quickly came to the same conclusion that, you know what, there's just not much in that tag line and we don’t feel it's doing much for the PGA Championship, so let's not stick with it. Let's think what else is out there." [19] [20] For a time, the tournament used the slogan "This is Major" as a replacement. [21] [22]

The Wanamaker Trophy, named after businessman and golfer Rodman Wanamaker, stands nearly 2.5 feet (75 cm) tall and weighs 27 pounds (12 kg). The trophy was lost, briefly, for a few years until it showed up in 1930 in the cellar of L.A. Young and Company. Ironically, this cellar was in the factory which made the clubs for the man responsible for losing it, Walter Hagen. Hagen claimed to have trusted a taxi driver with the precious cargo, but it never returned to his hotel. There is a smaller replica trophy that the champion gets to keep permanently, but the original must be returned for the following years tournament. [23]

The PGA Championship was established for the purpose of providing a high-profile tournament specifically for professional golfers at a time when they were generally not held in high esteem in a sport that was largely run by wealthy amateurs. This origin is still reflected in the entry system for the Championship. It is the only major that does not explicitly invite leading amateurs to compete (it is possible for amateurs to get into the field, although the only viable ways are by winning one of the other major championships, or winning a PGA Tour event while playing on a sponsor's exemption), and the only one that reserves so many places, 20 of 156, for club professionals. These slots are determined by the top finishers in the club pro championship, which is held in late April.

Since December 1968, the PGA Tour has been independent of the PGA of America. [24] [25] [26]

The PGA Tour is an elite organization of tournament professionals, but the PGA Championship is still run by the PGA of America, which is mainly a body for club and teaching professionals. The PGA Championship is the only major that does not explicitly grant entry to the top 50 players in the Official World Golf Ranking, although it invariably invites all of the top 100 (not just top 50) players who are not already qualified. [ citation needed ]

List of qualification criteria to date:

  • Every former PGA Champion.
  • Winners of the last five U.S. Opens.
  • Winners of the last five Masters.
  • Winners of the last five Open Championships.
  • Winners of the last three The Players Championships.
  • The current Senior PGA Champion.
  • The low 15 scorers and ties in the previous PGA Championship.
  • The 20 low scorers in the last PGA Professional Championship.
  • The 70 leaders in official money standings on the PGA Tour (starting one week before the previous year's PGA Championship and ending two weeks before the current year's PGA Championship).
  • Members of the most recent United States and European Ryder Cup Teams, provided they are in the top 100 of the Official World Golf Ranking as of one week before the start of the tournament.
  • Any tournament winner co-sponsored or approved by the PGA Tour since the previous PGA Championship .
  • The PGA of America reserves the right to invite additional players not included in the categories listed above.
  • The total field is a maximum of 156 players. Vacancies are filled by the first available player from the list of alternates (those below 70th place in official money standings).

Stroke play era winners Edit

Year Champion Score To par Margin of
Runner(s)-up Winner's
share ($) [27]
Venue Location
2021 Phil Mickelson (2) 282 −6 2 strokes Brooks Koepka
Louis Oosthuizen
2,160,000 Kiawah Island Golf Resort
Ocean Course
Kiawah Island, South Carolina
2020 Collin Morikawa 267 −13 2 strokes Paul Casey
Dustin Johnson
1,980,000 TPC Harding Park San Francisco, California
2019 Brooks Koepka (2) 272 −8 2 strokes Dustin Johnson 1,980,000 Bethpage Black Course Farmingdale, New York
2018 Brooks Koepka 264 −16 2 strokes Tiger Woods 1,980,000 Bellerive Country Club Town and Country, Missouri
2017 Justin Thomas 276 −8 2 strokes Francesco Molinari
Louis Oosthuizen
Patrick Reed
1,890,000 Quail Hollow Club Charlotte, North Carolina
2016 Jimmy Walker 266 −14 1 stroke Jason Day 1,800,000 Baltusrol Golf Club
Lower Course
Springfield, New Jersey
2015 Jason Day 268 −20 3 strokes Jordan Spieth 1,800,000 Whistling Straits
Straits Course
Kohler, Wisconsin [N 1]
2014 Rory McIlroy (2) 268 −16 1 stroke Phil Mickelson 1,800,000 Valhalla Golf Club Louisville, Kentucky
2013 Jason Dufner 270 −10 2 strokes Jim Furyk 1,445,000 Oak Hill Country Club
East Course
Rochester, New York [N 2]
2012 Rory McIlroy 275 −13 8 strokes David Lynn 1,445,000 Kiawah Island Golf Resort
Ocean Course
Kiawah Island, South Carolina
2011 Keegan Bradley 272 −8 Playoff Jason Dufner 1,445,000 Atlanta Athletic Club
Highlands Course
Johns Creek, Georgia [N 3]
2010 Martin Kaymer 277 −11 Playoff Bubba Watson 1,350,000 Whistling Straits
Straits Course
Kohler, Wisconsin [N 1]
2009 Yang Yong-eun 280 −8 3 strokes Tiger Woods 1,350,000 Hazeltine National Golf Club Chaska, Minnesota
2008 Pádraig Harrington 277 −3 2 strokes Ben Curtis
Sergio García
1,350,000 Oakland Hills Country Club
South Course
Bloomfield, Michigan
2007 Tiger Woods (4) 272 −8 2 strokes Woody Austin 1,260,000 Southern Hills Country Club Tulsa, Oklahoma
2006 Tiger Woods (3) 270 −18 5 strokes Shaun Micheel 1,224,000 Medinah Country Club
Course No. 3
Medinah, Illinois
2005 Phil Mickelson 276 −4 1 stroke Thomas Bjørn
Steve Elkington
1,170,000 Baltusrol Golf Club
Lower Course
Springfield, New Jersey
2004 Vijay Singh (2) 280 −8 Playoff Chris DiMarco
Justin Leonard
1,125,000 Whistling Straits
Straits Course
Kohler, Wisconsin [N 1]
2003 Shaun Micheel 276 −4 2 strokes Chad Campbell 1,080,000 Oak Hill Country Club
East Course
Rochester, New York [N 2]
2002 Rich Beem 278 −10 1 stroke Tiger Woods 990,000 Hazeltine National Golf Club Chaska, Minnesota
2001 David Toms 265 −15 1 stroke Phil Mickelson 936,000 Atlanta Athletic Club
Highlands Course
Duluth, Georgia [N 3]
2000 Tiger Woods (2) 270 −18 Playoff Bob May 900,000 Valhalla Golf Club Louisville, Kentucky [N 4]
1999 Tiger Woods 277 −11 1 stroke Sergio García 630,000 Medinah Country Club
Course No. 3
Medinah, Illinois
1998 Vijay Singh 271 −9 2 strokes Steve Stricker 540,000 Sahalee Country Club Sammamish, Washington
1997 Davis Love III 269 −11 5 strokes Justin Leonard 470,000 Winged Foot Golf Club
West Course
Mamaroneck, New York
1996 Mark Brooks 277 −11 Playoff Kenny Perry 430,000 Valhalla Golf Club Louisville, Kentucky [N 4]
1995 Steve Elkington 267 −17 Playoff Colin Montgomerie 360,000 Riviera Country Club Pacific Palisades, California [N 5]
1994 Nick Price (2) 269 −11 6 strokes Corey Pavin 310,000 Southern Hills Country Club Tulsa, Oklahoma
1993 Paul Azinger 272 −12 Playoff Greg Norman 300,000 Inverness Club Toledo, Ohio
1992 Nick Price 278 −6 3 strokes John Cook
Nick Faldo
Jim Gallagher Jr.
Gene Sauers
280,000 Bellerive Country Club St. Louis, Missouri [N 6]
1991 John Daly 276 −12 3 strokes Bruce Lietzke 230,000 Crooked Stick Golf Club Carmel, Indiana
1990 Wayne Grady 282 −6 3 strokes Fred Couples 225,000 Shoal Creek Golf and Country Club Birmingham, Alabama
1989 Payne Stewart 276 −12 1 stroke Andy Bean
Mike Reid
Curtis Strange
200,000 Kemper Lakes Golf Club Kildeer, Illinois
1988 Jeff Sluman 272 −12 3 strokes Paul Azinger 160,000 Oak Tree Golf Club Edmond, Oklahoma
1987 Larry Nelson (2) 287 −1 Playoff Lanny Wadkins 150,000 PGA National Resort & Spa Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
1986 Bob Tway 276 −8 2 strokes Greg Norman 145,000 Inverness Club Toledo, Ohio
1985 Hubert Green 278 −6 2 strokes Lee Trevino 125,000 Cherry Hills Country Club Cherry Hills Village, Colorado
1984 Lee Trevino (2) 273 −15 4 strokes Gary Player
Lanny Wadkins
125,000 Shoal Creek Golf and Country Club Birmingham, Alabama
1983 Hal Sutton 274 −10 1 stroke Jack Nicklaus 100,000 Riviera Country Club Pacific Palisades, California [N 5]
1982 Raymond Floyd (2) 272 −8 3 strokes Lanny Wadkins 65,000 Southern Hills Country Club Tulsa, Oklahoma
1981 Larry Nelson 273 −7 4 strokes Fuzzy Zoeller 60,000 Atlanta Athletic Club
Highlands Course
Duluth, Georgia [N 3]
1980 Jack Nicklaus (5) 274 −6 7 strokes Andy Bean 60,000 Oak Hill Country Club
East Course
Rochester, New York [N 2]
1979 David Graham 272 −8 Playoff Ben Crenshaw 60,000 Oakland Hills Country Club
South Course
Bloomfield, Michigan
1978 John Mahaffey 276 −8 Playoff Jerry Pate
Tom Watson
50,000 Oakmont Country Club Plum, Pennsylvania
1977 Lanny Wadkins 282 −6 Playoff Gene Littler 45,000 Pebble Beach Golf Links Pebble Beach, California
1976 Dave Stockton (2) 281 +1 1 stroke Raymond Floyd
Don January
45,000 Congressional Country Club
Blue Course
Bethesda, Maryland
1975 Jack Nicklaus (4) 276 −4 2 strokes Bruce Crampton 45,000 Firestone Country Club
South Course
Akron, Ohio
1974 Lee Trevino 276 −4 1 stroke Jack Nicklaus 45,000 Tanglewood Park
Championship Course
Clemmons, North Carolina
1973 Jack Nicklaus (3) 277 −7 4 strokes Bruce Crampton 45,000 Canterbury Golf Club Beachwood, Ohio
1972 Gary Player (2) 281 +1 2 strokes Tommy Aaron
Jim Jamieson
45,000 Oakland Hills Country Club
South Course
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
1971 Jack Nicklaus (2) 281 −7 2 strokes Billy Casper 40,000 PGA National Golf Club Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
1970 Dave Stockton 279 −1 2 strokes Bob Murphy
Arnold Palmer
40,000 Southern Hills Country Club Tulsa, Oklahoma
1969 Raymond Floyd 276 −8 1 stroke Gary Player 35,000 NCR Country Club
South Course
Dayton, Ohio
1968 Julius Boros 281 +1 1 stroke Bob Charles
Arnold Palmer
25,000 Pecan Valley Golf Club San Antonio, Texas
1967 Don January 281 −7 Playoff Don Massengale 25,000 Columbine Country Club Columbine Valley, Colorado
1966 Al Geiberger 280 E 4 strokes Dudley Wysong 25,000 Firestone Country Club
South Course
Akron, Ohio
1965 Dave Marr 280 −4 2 strokes Billy Casper
Jack Nicklaus
25,000 Laurel Valley Golf Club Ligonier, Pennsylvania
1964 Bobby Nichols 271 −9 3 strokes Jack Nicklaus
Arnold Palmer
18,000 Columbus Country Club Columbus, Ohio
1963 Jack Nicklaus 279 −5 2 strokes Dave Ragan 13,000 Dallas Athletic Club
Blue Course
Dallas, Texas
1962 Gary Player 278 −2 1 stroke Bob Goalby 13,000 Aronimink Golf Club Newtown Square, Pennsylvania
1961 Jerry Barber 277 −3 Playoff Don January 11,000 Olympia Fields Country Club Olympia Fields, Illinois
1960 Jay Hebert 281 +1 1 stroke Jim Ferrier 11,000 Firestone Country Club
South Course
Akron, Ohio
1959 Bob Rosburg 277 −3 1 stroke Jerry Barber
Doug Sanders
8,250 Minneapolis Golf Club St. Louis Park, Minnesota
1958 Dow Finsterwald 276 −4 2 strokes Billy Casper 5,500 Llanerch Country Club Havertown, Pennsylvania

Match play era winners Edit

Year Champion Score Runner-up Venue Location Winners
share ($)
1957 Lionel Hebert 2 & 1 Dow Finsterwald Miami Valley Golf Club Dayton, Ohio 8,000
1956 Jack Burke Jr. 3 & 2 Ted Kroll Blue Hill Country Club Canton, Massachusetts 5,000
1955 Doug Ford 4 & 3 Cary Middlecoff Meadowbrook Country Club Detroit, Michigan 5,000
1954 Chick Harbert 4 & 3 Walter Burkemo Keller Golf Course Maplewood, Minnesota 5,000
1953 Walter Burkemo 2 & 1 Felice Torza Birmingham Country Club Birmingham, Michigan 5,000
1952 Jim Turnesa 1 up Chick Harbert Big Spring Country Club Louisville, Kentucky 3,500
1951 Sam Snead (3) 7 & 6 Walter Burkemo Oakmont Country Club Plum, Pennsylvania 3,500
1950 Chandler Harper 4 & 3 Henry Williams Jr. Scioto Country Club Columbus, Ohio 3,500
1949 Sam Snead (2) 3 & 2 Johnny Palmer Hermitage Country Club Richmond, Virginia 3,500
1948 Ben Hogan (2) 7 & 6 Mike Turnesa Norwood Hills Country Club St. Louis, Missouri 3,500
1947 Jim Ferrier 2 & 1 Chick Harbert Plum Hollow Country Club Detroit, Michigan 3,500
1946 Ben Hogan 6 & 4 Ed Oliver Portland Golf Club Portland, Oregon 3,500
1945 Byron Nelson (2) 4 & 3 Sam Byrd Moraine Country Club Dayton, Ohio 3,750
1944 Bob Hamilton 1 up Byron Nelson Manito Golf and Country Club Spokane, Washington 3,500
1943: Not held due to World War II
1942 Sam Snead 2 & 1 Jim Turnesa Seaview Country Club Atlantic City, New Jersey 1,000
1941 Vic Ghezzi 38 holes Byron Nelson Cherry Hills Country Club Cherry Hills Village, Colorado 1,100
1940 Byron Nelson 1 up Sam Snead Hershey Country Club
West Course
Hershey, Pennsylvania 1,100
1939 Henry Picard 37 holes Byron Nelson Pomonok Country Club Flushing, New York 1,100
1938 Paul Runyan (2) 8 & 7 Sam Snead The Shawnee Inn & Golf Resort Smithfield Township, Pennsylvania 1,100
1937 Denny Shute (2) 37 holes Harold McSpaden Pittsburgh Field Club O'Hara Township, Pennsylvania 1,000
1936 Denny Shute 3 & 2 Jimmy Thomson Pinehurst Resort
No. 2 Course
Pinehurst, North Carolina 1,000
1935 Johnny Revolta 5 & 4 Tommy Armour Twin Hills Golf & Country Club Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 1,000
1934 Paul Runyan 38 holes Craig Wood The Park Country Club Williamsville, New York 1,000
1933 Gene Sarazen (3) 5 & 4 Willie Goggin Blue Mound Golf & Country Club Wauwatosa, Wisconsin 1,000
1932 Olin Dutra 4 & 3 Frank Walsh Keller Golf Course Maplewood, Minnesota 1,000
1931 Tom Creavy 2 & 1 Denny Shute Wannamoisett Country Club Rumford, Rhode Island 1,000
1930 Tommy Armour [a] 1 up Gene Sarazen Fresh Meadow Country Club Queens, New York
1929 Leo Diegel (2) 6 & 4 Johnny Farrell Hillcrest Country Club Los Angeles, California
1928 Leo Diegel 6 & 5 Al Espinosa Baltimore Country Club
East Course
Timonium, Maryland
1927 Walter Hagen (5) 1 up Joe Turnesa Cedar Crest Country Club Dallas, Texas
1926 Walter Hagen (4) 5 & 3 Leo Diegel Salisbury Golf Club
Red Course
East Meadow, New York
1925 Walter Hagen (3) 6 & 5 Bill Mehlhorn Olympia Fields Country Club Olympia Fields, Illinois
1924 Walter Hagen (2) 2 up Jim Barnes French Lick Springs Resort
Hill Course
French Lick, Indiana
1923 Gene Sarazen (2) 38 holes Walter Hagen Pelham Country Club Pelham Manor, New York
1922 Gene Sarazen 4 & 3 Emmet French Oakmont Country Club Plum, Pennsylvania 500
1921 Walter Hagen 3 & 2 Jim Barnes Inwood Country Club Inwood, New York 500
1920 Jock Hutchison [a] 1 up J. Douglas Edgar Flossmoor Country Club Flossmoor, Illinois 500
1919 Jim Barnes (2) 6 & 5 Fred McLeod Engineers Country Club Roslyn Harbor, New York 500
1917–18: Not held due to World War I
1916 Jim Barnes 1 up Jock Hutchison Siwanoy Country Club Bronxville, New York 500
  1. ^ ab These players were British born, but they were based in the United States when they won the PGA Championship, and they became U.S. citizens: Tommy Armour – Born in Scotland but moved to the U.S. in the early 1920s and became a U.S. citizen in 1942. Jock Hutchison – Born in Scotland. He became a U.S. citizen in 1920.

The table below lists the field sizes and qualification methods for the match play era. All rounds were played over 36 holes except as noted in the table. [28]

Years Field size Qualification 18 hole rounds
1916–21 32 sectional*
1922 64 sectional 1st two rounds
1923 64 sectional
1924–34 32 36 hole qualifier
1935–41 64 36 hole qualifier 1st two rounds
1942–45 32 36 hole qualifier
1946–55 64 36 hole qualifier 1st two rounds
1956 128 sectional 1st four rounds
1957 128 sectional 1st four rounds, consolation matches (3rd-8th place)

* In 1921, the field consisted of the defending champion and the top 31 qualifiers from the 1921 U.S. Open.

Summary by course, state and region
Course/State/Region Number State No. Region No.
Blue Hill Country Club 1
Total Massachusetts 1
Wannamoisett Country Club 1
Total Rhode Island 1
Total New England 2
Baltusrol Golf Club 2
Seaview Country Club 1
Total New Jersey 3
Bethpage Black Course 1
Engineers Country Club 1
Fresh Meadow Country Club 1
Inwood Country Club 1
Oak Hill Country Club 3
Pelham Country Club 1
Pomonok Country Club 1
Salisbury Golf Club 1
Siwanoy Country Club 1
The Park Country Club 1
Winged Foot Golf Club 1
Total New York 13
Aronimink Golf Club 1
Hershey Country Club 1
Laurel Valley Golf Club 1
Llanerch Country Club 1
Oakmont Country Club 3
Pittsburgh Field Club 1
The Shawnee Inn & Golf Resort 1
Total Pennsylvania 9
Total Mid-Atlantic 24
PGA National Golf Club 1
Total Florida 1
Atlanta Athletic Club 3
Total Georgia 3
Baltimore Country Club 1
Congressional Country Club 1
Total Maryland 2
Pinehurst Resort 1
Quail Hollow 1
Tanglewood Park 1
Total North Carolina 3
Kiawah Island Golf Resort 2
Total South Carolina 2
Hermitage Country Club 1
Total Virginia 1
Total South Atlantic 13
Shoal Creek Golf and Country Club 2
Total Alabama 2
Big Spring Country Club 1
Valhalla Golf Club 3
Total Kentucky 4
Total East South Central 6
Oak Tree Golf Club 1
Southern Hills Country Club 4
Twin Hills Golf & Country Club 1
Total Oklahoma 6
Cedar Crest Country Club 1
Dallas Athletic Club 1
Pecan Valley Golf Club 1
Total Texas 3
Total West South Central 9
Flossmoor Country Club 1
Kemper Lakes Golf Club 1
Medinah Country Club 2
Olympia Fields Country Club 2
Total Illinois 6
Crooked Stick Golf Club 1
French Lick Springs Resort 1
Total Indiana 2
Birmingham Country Club 1
Meadowbrook Country Club 1
Oakland Hills Country Club 3
Plum Hollow Country Club 1
Total Michigan 6
Canterbury Golf Club 1
Columbus Country Club 1
Firestone Country Club 3
Inverness Club 2
Miami Valley Golf Club 1
Moraine Country Club 1
NCR Country Club 1
Scioto Country Club 1
Total Ohio 11
Blue Mound Golf & Country Club 1
Whistling Straits 3
Total Wisconsin 4
Total East North Central 29
Hazeltine National Golf Club 2
Keller Golf Course 2
Minneapolis Golf Club 1
Total Minnesota 5
Bellerive Country Club 2
Norwood Hills Country Club 1
Total Missouri 3
Total West North Central 8
Cherry Hills Country Club 2
Columbine Country Club 1
Total Colorado 3
Total Mountain 3
Hillcrest Country Club 1
Pebble Beach Golf Links 1
Riviera Country Club 2
TPC Harding Park 1
Total California 5
Portland Golf Club 1
Total Oregon 1
Manito Golf and Country Club 1
Sahalee Country Club 1
Total Washington 2
Total Pacific 8
  • Most wins: 5, Jack Nicklaus, Walter Hagen
  • Most runner-up finishes: 4, Jack Nicklaus
  • Oldest winner: Phil Mickelson in 2021 (50 years, 11 months)
  • Youngest winner: Gene Sarazen in 1922 (20 years, 174 days)
  • Greatest winning margin in the match play era: Paul Runyan beat Sam Snead 8 & 7 in 1938
  • Greatest winning margin in the stroke play era: 8 strokes, Rory McIlroy in 2012
  • Lowest absolute 72-hole score: 264, Brooks Koepka (69-63-66-66), 2018
  • Lowest 72-hole score in relation to par: −20, Jason Day (68-67-66-67=268) in 2015
    • This is the lowest score in relation to par at any major championship.
    • Koepka's 2018 score was −16. The 2018 site, Bellerive Country Club, played to par 70, while the 2015 site, the Straits Course at Whistling Straits, played to par 72. (Bellerive played to par 71 when it hosted in 1992, and the Straits Course also played to par 72 when it hosted in 2004 and 2010.)
    • 4 PGA Championships: Southern Hills Country Club – 1970, 1982, 1994, 2007, (2022, 2030 planned).
    • 3 PGA Championships: Atlanta Athletic Club, Highlands Course – 1981, 2001, 2011.
    • 3 PGA Championships: Firestone Country Club, South Course – 1960, 1966, 1975.
    • 3 PGA Championships: Oakland Hills Country Club, South Course – 1972, 1979, 2008.
    • 3 PGA Championships: Oakmont Country Club – 1922, 1951, 1978.
    • 3 PGA Championships: Oak Hill Country Club, East Course – 1980, 2003, 2013, (2023 planned).
    • 3 PGA Championships: Valhalla Golf Club – 1996, 2000, 2014, (2024 planned).
    • 3 PGA Championships: Whistling Straits, Straits Course – 2004, 2010, 2015.

    The PGA Championship is televised in the United States by CBS and ESPN. Beginning 2020, ESPN holds rights to early-round and weekend morning coverage, and will air supplemental coverage through its digital subscription service ESPN+ prior to weekday coverage and during weekend broadcast windows. CBS holds rights to weekend-afternoon coverage. Both contracts run through 2030, with ESPN's contract replacing a prior agreement with TNT. CBS has televised the PGA Championship since 1991, when it replaced ABC. [29] [30] [31] The ESPN telecasts are co-produced with CBS Sports, mirroring the broadcast arrangements used by ESPN for the Masters Tournament. [32]

    PGA is formed - HISTORY

    The LPGA Tour is founded in 1950 and chartered in 1951. A handful of pioneering womenmake the fledgling LPGA Tour their "labor of love" by administering the tournaments whilecompeting in them at the same time for little or sometimes no financial reward.

    * Patty Berg is elected the LPGA's first president, and she is later succeeded in that role byLouise Suggs.

    * By 1952, the LPGA boasts a schedule of 21 events -- nearly three times the number oftournaments held just two years before.

    * LPGA Founder, Charter, and Hall of Fame member Betty Jameson donates the Vare Trophy to the LPGA Tour in 1952 in honor of women's amateur great Glenna Collett Vare. The Vare Trophy recognizes the player with the lowest scoring average at the end of each season.

    * The players of that early era greatly contribute to the success of the LPGA. Babe Zaharias,Peggy Kirk, Patty Berg, Louise Suggs, Marilynn Smith and Betsy Rawls add the individualflare needed to escalate interest in the LPGA.

    * The LPGA Teaching Division, renamed the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional (T&CP) Division in 1992, is founded in 1959.

    * The LPGA Tour prize money reaches $200,000 in 1959.

    The young LPGA begins to find its feet as women in sport gradually gain more acceptance. Thenumbers of tournaments and prize money are still scarce, but golf industry manufacturers step tothe fore to help with the continued establishment of an organized Tour for women golf professionals. The LPGA's first television coverage gives this growth a healthy boost in 1963.

    * Mickey Wright joins the LPGA in the early 1960's and her outstanding accomplishmentsgained the attention of the media, which helped the Tour prosper even more.

    * The 1960's see LPGA Hall of Fame member Kathy Whitworth win 53 of her now 88 LPGA titles. This is when the foundation of her title as the winningest professional golfer of all time begins.

    * The LPGA receives its first television coverage in 1963 during the final round of the U.S.Women's Open Championship. The first tournament to have national television coverage ofall four rounds was the 1982 Nabisco Dinah Shore.

    * By the end of the 1960's, prize money has grown to $600,000 and the schedule offers 34events.

    * In the 1960's, the LPGA Hall of Fame is established, with existing Women's Golf Hall of Famemembers Patty Berg, Betty Jameson, Louise Suggs and Babe Zaharias as its first members.

    A dramatic shift from a primarily player-run organization to a modern business, marks a pivotaltime for women's professional golf. The LPGA survives this make-or-break transition by hiring itsfirst Commissioner in 1975. The LPGA offices moved from Georgia to New York City, and bigbusiness backed by international corporate support springboards the LPGA into its next period ofgrowth.

    * Ray Volpe is hired as the LPGA's first Commissioner on July 8, 1975. As Commissioner, Volpe moves the LPGA headquarters from Atlanta to New York, creates a Board of Directors and appoints a player council.

    * Judy Rankin becomes the first-ever LPGA player to win over $100,000 in a season in 1976.

    * Nancy Lopez takes the LPGA by storm and sets a new record in 1978 by winning nine tournaments, including another record five in a row.

    * JoAnne Carner begins her dominance as "Big Momma" by winning 23 of her 43 career wins in the 1970's.

    * Jan Stephenson and Amy Alcott join the ranks of the LPGA and enhance the new-age style and character of women's golf with their winning performances and effervescent personalities.

    * Annual LPGA Tour prize money reaches $4.4 million in 1979.

    * During Volpe's tenure, purses increase from $1.5 million to $6.4 million.

    An influx of new young stars result from the influence of Title IX legislation and the sophisticationof women's sports programs in college and high schools. Such is the impact of the growingnumbers of young women turning to Tour golf as a profession that the implementation of an all-exempt qualifying system is required. Prize money and exposure continue their steady climb ascorporate America begins to shift its focus towards women's golf.

    * The first non-team sport retirement system is approved in 1981 and is initially funded with$400,000 of the LPGA's finances.

    * In the 1980's, players of the caliber of Beth Daniel, Betsy King and Patty Sheehan begin tomake their presence known as they challenge veteran stars for dominance of the Tour.

    * In 1981, Kathy Whitworth becomes the first LPGA player to cross $1 million mark in careerearnings.

    * John D. Laupheimer succeeds Volpe in April, 1982. Under Laupheimer's guidance, purses escalate from $6.4 million to $14 million, television coverage increases and the LPGA moves its headquarters to Sugar Land, Texas. After six years as Commissioner, Laupheimer resigns in July, 1988.

    * Pat Bradley records a phenomenal 1986 season by winning five titles, including three of thefour major championships, the Rolex Player of the Year Award and the Vare Trophy forscoring average.

    * William A. Blue is chosen as Laupheimer's successor in November, 1988. Blue moves the national headquarters of the LPGA from Sugar Land, Texas, to Daytona Beach, Florida.

    * In 1989, the LPGA makes a commitment to kids with the foundation of the LPGA Urban Youth Golf Program and the LPGA Girls Golf Club.

    * Annual LPGA Tour prize money reaches $14 million in 1989.

    Women's professional golf continues to break through new barriers as it evolves towards themillennium. The prosperity of the high-profile, multi-million dollar LPGA Tour continues to attractthe world's finest players to test their skills against the best in women's golf - all contributing tothe global feel of the LPGA. The wealth of youthful talent blends with the charisma of veteran starsto provide unmatched entertainment value. Simultaneously, the LPGA has continued to reach outbeyond its high profile stage to impact the everyday lives of the core golfers, women and childrenwith dynamic grass roots programs that make a real and lasting difference.

    * In 1990, the LPGA Tour announces two $1 million events, which are now the McDonald's LPGA Championship and the Sprint Titleholder's Championship.

    * After two years as Commissioner, Blue is succeeded by Charles S. Mechem, Jr. in November, 1990. Mechem officially serves as Commissioner from January, 1991 to December, 1995 and is instrumental in numerous positive advances for the future of women's professional golf.

    * The Solheim Cup, the first-ever Ryder Cup-type event for women, is introduced in 1990 andbecomes the most prestigious event in women's golf worldwide. In the three stagings of theSolheim Cup, the United States stands 2-1 over the Europeans.

    * Beth Daniel breaks new performance barriers by winning seven titles in 1990 and over$1 million in a 12-month period.

    * Pat Bradley, Patty Sheehan and Betsy King are inducted into the LPGA's Hall of Fame as itsnewest inductees, and discussions continue on the difficulty of entry.

    * The LPGA Foundation is established in 1991 as a charitable organization that benefits youthgolf and scholarships, a catastrophic illness fund for members, and the development of the LPGA Hall of Fame.

    * The first-ever Women in Golf Summit is held in 1991. The focus is on defining the issues inwomen's golf. It is so successful that there are two additional Women in Golf Summits: 1993and 1995.

    * The changing role of women in business makes a positive impact on the growth of the LPGA, and a number of clinics and seminars for women is conceived.

    * Purses grew from $18.4 million in 1991 to $25.3 million in 1996. The promotional partner and licensee family in 1996 totals 28.

    * In 1992, the LPGA T&CP Division hires its first full-time staff at LPGA headquarters.

    * The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation is named the official national charity of the LPGA in 1992. The LPGA becomes the first professional golf organization to partner with an official national charity.

    * From 1981 through 1995, the LPGA raises over $78 million for charity. No other professional sport is solely dedicated to fund raising.

    * The Rees Jones-designed golf course at LPGA INTERNATIONAL, home of the LPGA, opens in July, 1994 in Daytona Beach.

    * Jim Ritts is appointed as the LPGA Commissioner-elect in June of 1995. In January, 1996, Ritts officially begins his tenure as Commissioner of the LPGA.

    * In 1996, the LPGA has five $1 million-plus events on its schedule and receives television coverage at 26 of the Tour's 38 events.

    PGA of America

    The PGA of America is one of the world's largest sports organizations, composed of PGA Professionals who work daily to grow interest and participation in the game of golf.

    Benefits of Hiring a PGA Professional

    Selecting the best PGA Professional for your facility is one of the most important decisions you will make. Employers of PGA Professionals reap the rewards of unrivaled marketing and operational benefits thanks to a variety of tools, resource and cost-saving benefits.

    Benefits of Membership

    Grow the Game You Love

    As the industry's standard bearer, PGA Professionals serve as the recognized teachers and leaders of the game and promote its growth passionately.

    Expand Your Career

    PGA Professionals have the opportunity to pursue a variety of exciting careers within the golf industry including golf operations, teaching and coaching and executive management.

    Play Your Best

    PGA Members have the opportunity to compete in numerous tournaments throughout the country on some of the best courses in the world.

    Your Journey Starts Here

    Whether you work in the golf business or are taking your first swings if you are picking the game back up after some time off or have won at the highest level of competitive golf every journey is unique and no one can take that journey alone.

    On the brink of history

    There’s a reason Jordan Spieth is so popular. For a player who sits comfortably under the global superstar banner, Spieth is about as relatable to us mere mortals as it gets.

    Not many on the tour circuit plead with their golf ball the way a club hacker does – “Please be enough!” – or put himself under the oh-so-familiar mental torture that is the decision to use a 5-wood or a 9-iron for a risky second shot to a par-5, only to select the safe option and pipe it into the thick stuff. We all live the tour life through Spieth.

    And yet the Texan is just four rounds of golf away from about the most unrelatable achievement in the game – the Grand Slam. This month’s PGA Championship will be the 456th major played in the men’s game. Only five golfers – Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods – have won them all.

    As the spotlight continues to beam on the other two active players one win away from their own Grand Slam – Rory McIlroy needs a Green Jacket and Phil Mickelson’s fading hopes rely on US Open glory – Spieth has quietly gone about his business in his own bid.

    “It’s something that I really want,” he said ahead of the PGA Championship last August. “My No 1 goal is to try and capture that.

    “I would love to be able to hold all four trophies, and this is the one that comes in the way.”

    His honesty is refreshing, but the cold reality is Spieth is yet to put up any real challenge on adding the Wanamaker to his trophy cabinet.

    Having completed the third leg of the Grand Slam at the Open in 2017, he only had to wait two and a half weeks for his first attempt. He broke par just once at Quail Hollow and finished 10 shots and 27 places behind his good friend Justin Thomas.

    A tie for 12th followed a year later at Bellerive, but again he was 12 shots behind champion Brooks Koepka.

    A move to May in 2019 meant he didn’t have to wait long for another effort, and a tie for third is more flattering than the reality with Spieth finishing six behind an unstoppable Koepka at Bethpage. That was as close as he’d got to the defending champion all week.

    Spieth’s fourth attempt came at the postponed PGA Championship in 2020. By this point he had fallen outside the world’s top 50 for the first time since entering it in 2013 as his struggle for form gained more and more headlines. Only a handful of players that made the cut finished below him at a fan-free Harding Park.

    It means history is now against Spieth. Of the five who have completed golf’s Grand Slam, the longest wait between completing the third and fourth legs was three years, which each of Sarazen, Player and Nicklaus needed.

    Time is on his side, though, and now, crucially, so too is form.

    The 27-year-old plummeted as low as 92nd in the rankings at the start of 2021 before – in his own words – “going back to basics” as he rediscovered his swing and won his first title since the Claret Jug at the Texas Open in April, days before challenging – again – at Augusta, where his record remains other-worldly.

    Not that it matters to Spieth. “Majors aren’t necessarily about form,” he explained. “They’re about experience and being able to grind it out, picking apart golf courses. So I feel like I probably have more confidence going into a major no matter where my game is at than any other golf tournament.”

    His results prove that it helps, though, and the key factor in Spieth’s resurgence, he says, has been the people around him.

    “It’s been a long road that’s had a lot of tough days,” he explained after that win, his 12th on the PGA Tour. “I’ve had people in my corner that have always believed in me even when I’ve believed less in myself.”

    It was also Spieth’s first win as a married man, and he singled wife Annie out for special praise: “She has been a rock to me.

    “When you’re struggling at work, you try not to bring it home. I’m very grateful for the people that I have around me. I’m blessed with a great family who are always just looking out for my best interests.

    “I’ve got an amazing team and I’ve got full trust in everyone that’s on my side that they’re going to be the best at what they do so I can go out and feel the freedom to enjoy playing golf.”

    Spieth’s Open and US Open wins came on the coast at Royal Birkdale and Chambers Bay respectively. As he tees up at Kiawah Island and the fresh sea air fills his lungs, perhaps he’ll feel that return to his happy place.

    And when Spieth is happy, he contends. And when Spieth contends, he often wins.

    It all suggests that we could be on the brink of history. Just don’t forget us when you’re a member of golf’s most exclusive club, Jordan.

    Golf’s Grand Slam champions

    The five players who have won the Grand Slam and the majors that saw them achieve golf’s most sought-after feat…

    Gene Sarazen
    Masters: 1935
    PGA Championship: 1922, 1923, 1933
    US Open: 1922, 1932
    Open: 1932

    Ben Hogan
    Masters: 1951, 1953
    PGA Championship: 1946, 1948
    US Open: 1948, 1950, 1951, 1953
    Open: 1953

    Gary Player
    Masters: 1961, 1974, 1978
    PGA Championship: 1962, 1972
    US Open: 1965
    Open: 1959, 1968, 1974

    Jack Nicklaus
    Masters: 1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975, 1986
    PGA Championship: 1963, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1980
    US Open: 1962, 1967, 1972, 1980
    Open: 1966, 1970, 1978

    Tiger Woods
    Masters: 1997, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2019
    PGA Championship: 1999, 2000, 2006, 2007
    US Open: 2000, 2002, 2008
    Open: 2000, 2005, 2006

    The Nearly Men

    All these players came or are within one victory of completing the Grand Slam…

    Missing a Masters: Walter Hagen, Tommy Armour, Lee Trevino, Rory McIlroy

    Missing a PGA Championship: Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Jordan Spieth

    Missing a US Open: Sam Snead, Phil Mickelson

    Missing an Open Championship: Byron Nelson, Raymond Floyd

    About the NENY PGA

    The mission of The Northeastern New York Section of the Professional Golfers Association (NENY PGA) is to enhance the profession of our section members and grow the game. By so doing, The PGA will elevate the standards of the the professional’s vocation, enhance the economic well-being of the individual member, stimulate interest in the game of golf, and promote the overall vitality of the game in our local community.

    Although the Section maintains a close working relationship with The PGA of America, the NENY PGA Section is governed by its own board and committee structure of PGA professionals who volunteer their time and expertise to lead at their local level. Elections are held and board members and officers are elected by their member peers. The Section maintains their own office in Schenectady, NY on property at The Town of Colonie Golf Course, a 36-hole municipal-owned golf course. The Office is headed by an executive director who administers the operations of the Section with the help of other key staff in the areas of Tournament Operations and Player Development.

    With approximately 180 PGA members and associates, the Northeastern New York PGA is one of the smallest sections in the country. Our boundaries run north to the Canadian border and west to Massena, NY, on the St. Lawrence River. From there, the boundaries stretch down to Old Forge, NY, and through Oneonta, NY, to the Catskill Mountains. Our southern border runs through the Catskill Mountains to Kingston, NY. Finally, our eastern boundaries encompass eastern New York and cross the New York/Massachusetts state line and encompass Berkshire County of Western Massachusetts.

    As the PGA Championship begins, a look at the history of slavery and golf along South Carolina’s coast

    A large likeness of the Wanamaker Trophy is displayed during a practice round before the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island Resort’s Ocean Course on May 18 in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    On Thursday, the 103rd PGA Championship will begin on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. Twenty miles south of Charleston, South Carolina, Kiawah Island is situated between Folly Island to the northeast and Seabrook Island to the southwest. Located in Charleston County, Kiawah is separated from Folly by the Stono River and from Seabrook by the Kiawah River. An expanse of marsh separates the island from Johns Island. A causeway joins the mainland with Kiawah Island. There are seven golf courses here, including the Ocean Course, the Pete Dye masterpiece that opened in 1991 on a narrow 2½-mile wide beachfront with ocean views on one side and vast saltwater marshes on the other.

    With its scenic courses and luxurious oceanside villas, it may be difficult to imagine that Kiawah Island once maintained a bustling plantation economy based on slave labor. Since Kiawah was an island not as well suited to rice cultivation as other coastal islands, farmers first planted indigo in the mid-18th century, and by the early 1800s, the island was divided into three large Sea Island, cotton plantations with hundreds of slaves.

    The only physical evidence left of that period is the Vanderhorst mansion, the last remaining historic building on Kiawah Island. Built by the Vanderhorst family in 1801, the three-story house was the main residence of a plantation that once extended across the whole island &mdash nearly 3,000 acres. From the mid-1700s to 1951, when they sold the island to a developer, the Vanderhorst family was a continuous presence on the island. The mansion, or the &ldquoBig House,&rdquo as the slaves called the master&rsquos house, was the headquarters of the operation.

    Signage displayed on the 15th tee during a practice round before the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island Resort&rsquos Ocean Course on May 18 in Kiawah Island, South Carolina.

    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    A history resides at Kiawah and the low country that reveals the intimate bonds of slavery with the early development of golf in America. To play golf along the coast of South Carolina and Georgia is to confront the Atlantic slave trade and the legacy of slavery in America. Charleston, long known as the birthplace of golf in America, owes that distinction largely to its role as perhaps the most significant slave port in North America. Up and down the coast from Sea Island to Hilton Head to Charleston to the Grand Strand there are golf courses littered with the vestiges of slavery and Jim Crow and the ghosts of Black people who were uprooted from their land through partition sales and property taxes. There are slave cemeteries and the ruins of slave cabins and sick houses that share spaces with golfers and leisure. Here on these golf courses, Black people once carried out lives that were full of work, cooking, singing, family times, church life and homegoing celebrations.

    &ldquoLife must be lived amidst that which was made before,&rdquo geographer Donald Meinig said in his essay The Beholding Eye. &ldquoEvery landscape is an accumulation. The past endures.&rdquo What endures at golf resorts such as Kiawah is an accumulation of the landscapes of a past that we cannot forget. Lauret Savoy, an Earth historian of mixed racial heritage, has said that &ldquoeach of us is a landscape inscribed by memory and by loss&rdquo and that to &ldquolive in this country is to be marked by its still-unfolding and too-often unvoiced history.&rdquo

    The roots of this relationship between race and golf in America began with two of Charleston&rsquos most prominent slave traders, David and John Deas, two brothers who built a very profitable enterprise marketing and selling slaves to local slave owners. The Deas brothers created perhaps the most famous advertisement of slaves in the history of Colonial America. The broadside, dated Aug. 3, 1769, advertises a cargo of Ninety-Four Prime, Healthy Negroes. The 39 men, 15 boys, 24 women and 16 girls had just arrived aboard the Brigantine Dembia from Sierra Leone. In the same year, the Deas brothers posted more advertisements in the South Carolina Gazette: Two hundred & Sixty Prime Negroes &hellip directly from Angola. A Cargo of One hundred and Fourteen Healthy Prime Neoroes (sic). Forty Remarkably Fine Negro Women: Just Arrived from the Coast of Guiney.

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    The Deas name was on slave handbills all over the city. Their busy season ran between March and June, when 17 vessels delivered slaves directly to Charleston from West Africa. In the early 1700s, the demand for slaves in the low country had grown with the increase in rice cultivation, which was labor-intensive but ideal for the semitropical climate. The bulk of the work involved clearing and preparing the land. African slaves from the &ldquoRice Coast&rdquo &mdash the traditional rice-growing region of West Africa, stretching from Senegal to Sierra Leone to Liberia &mdash fetched the highest prices. It is estimated that during the Atlantic slave trade around 260,000 African slaves on 882 ships came through the Charleston Harbor, and that after the abolition of the Atlantic trade in 1808, Charleston was the primary slave auction market in the United States until the end of the Civil War. When South Carolina became the first Southern state to secede from the Union in December 1860, it was home to 400,000 slaves, about 10% of the total slave population in the country.

    In August 1743, David Deas, then 21 years old, received one of the first documented shipments of golf equipment in the American colonies &mdash 432 balls and 96 clubs sent from the Port Leith to Charleston. The son of a Leith shipmaster, Deas had grown up playing the game on the Leith Links, a five-hole course, where in 1744 the first rules of golf were established. In 1738, Deas had immigrated to Charleston like scores of other Scottish men in search of wealth and opportunities in the booming mercantile profession attached to the Atlantic slave trade. Deas brought goods into Charleston from Leith in bulk and sold them to dry goods stores and grocers. At a time when most golfers only carried five to seven clubs, his order was enough to equip at least a dozen players. Deas&rsquo customers were Charleston&rsquos elite planter class, who had made their fortunes cultivating rice with the labor of enslaved Africans. Rice had made South Carolina one of the richest English colonies and Charleston home to the wealthiest planters in North America.

    There is no record of how Deas&rsquo customers used the golf supplies in the immediate years after they arrived from Leith, but the South Carolina Golf Club was formed in 1786, and the game was played at an open park in Charleston in a place the club members called Harleston Green. The balls were made of boiled feathers stuffed into stitched bull&rsquos hide. Slaves served as &ldquofinders&rdquo of the balls and yelled &ldquofore&rdquo to warn park visitors of flying golf balls. Golfers used a &ldquoplay club,&rdquo the equivalent of a driver, to hit shots from the teeing areas and a utility iron for short shots. Established by Scottish merchants, the South Carolina Golf Club is considered by golf historians to be the first golf club in America.

    Yet the link to the game of golf and slavery go back to West Africa, where slave merchants built a two-hole golf course in the 1770s on a slave fort called Bunce Island off the coast of Sierra Leone. The course was built for merchants and traders who needed a leisure pursuit while their ships were loaded with human cargo for the treacherous middle passage across the Atlantic Ocean. Built on a site where some 13,000 slaves were shipped mainly to low country South Carolina, the golf course is believed to be the first one built on the continent of Africa. There white men dressed in white Indian cotton used wooden clubs to hit balls the size of tennis balls into holes the size of a man&rsquos hat crown. The slave caddies wore tartan clothes.

    This little resort, built amid slave pens and human trafficking, was one of the most popular destinations for traders on the coast. &ldquoWe amused ourselves for an hour or two in the cool of the afternoon in playing at Goff,&rdquo remembered Henry Smeathman, an English naturalist who visited the fort in the early 1770s. Before supper, he said, they would play whist and backgammon. The menu would include roast ape, antelope, boar and Madeira wine.

    After the Atlantic slave trade was abolished by the British Parliament in 1807, Bunce Island fell into a steady decline and by the 1840s was essentially abandoned. What survives today are remnants of old watchtowers, a fortification for eight cannons, and tombstones of traders. Locals and historians have referred to it as &ldquothe place where history sleeps&rdquo and a &ldquoslave trade ghost town.&rdquo

    The Old Slave Mart is a building that once housed an antebellum slave auction gallery. Built in 1859, the building is believed to be the last extant slave auction facility in South Carolina. Photographed on March 28, 2019.

    At the Kiawah Island Resort, there are no signs of slave pens and human trafficking, but on a short trip into Charleston, curious students of American slavery can find a tour of the Old Slave Mart on Chalmers Street, where slaves were sold in a public auction. There is a parking lot now where slaves were kept in barracoons until the auction was complete. At Kiawah, the imagery of slavery is less stark, but in a real sense, the best players in the world who have assembled here for one of the game&rsquos four major championships will confront aspects of this past in ways that could impact their performance.

    Shortly before the 2012 PGA Championship, the Ocean Course was reseeded with seashore paspalum, a warm-season, salt-tolerant turfgrass that requires less water and fewer chemicals to maintain tournament-quality conditions. The grass develops into a lush, emerald green canopy with a fine texture that is suited for a fast, tightly mowed fairway, but leafy enough for perfect lies.

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    In 1993, Ronny Duncan, a University of Georgia agronomist, began looking for a paspalum that would thrive in the southeast United States. He searched all over the world for a pattern for its migration. It grew on the Sea Islands, but not on the Gulf Coast or New Orleans. Genetic analysis revealed that seashore paspalum had evolved originally in South Africa and spread with the slave trade to West Africa, South America and the United States. Duncan had a hunch that the native African grass had been used as bedding in slave ships and that as the ships came into southern U.S. ports, the bedding would be discarded on the shore, leaving the grass to regrow and establish on the banks in coastal cities. Yet to prove it, he needed to visit ports where slave ships had docked. At Sullivan&rsquos Island, near the entrance to the Charleston Harbor, Duncan found the grass while walking on the beach. When slave ships reached Charleston, port physicians would inspect the crew and the slaves for infection. If anyone was suspected of having a contagious disease, they would be quarantined and isolated aboard ships or in pest houses until they were deemed fit for slave auctions in Charleston. In 1707, the first public pest house was built on Sullivan&rsquos Island.

    Seashore paspalum is a cousin of Bermuda grass, another very popular turf used on golf courses. Bermuda grass originated in East Africa, where African tribes used it for both medical and religious purposes, but it takes its name from the island where locals call it crab grass for its deep root system. Introduced as a crop in Savannah, Georgia, in 1751 by a planter, Bermuda grass was used as forage and pasturage and likely also was brought over as bedding on slave ships. The grass was installed at the Ocean Course when it opened for the 1991 Ryder Cup, but over time it could not withstand the waves and ocean spray that carried salt water onto the golf course and bled into the irrigation system.

    At the Ocean Course, there are no prevailing winds. To accommodate this, the Dyes built one nine that runs west for westerly winds and the other nine runs east for easterly winds. Golfers may play one nine with the wind at their back and the other with it in their faces. Eight-club differences are possible on holes depending on the direction and strength of the wind. In the second round of the 2012 PGA Championship at the Ocean Course, the wind blew 30 mph off the Atlantic and 41 players failed to break 80, making it the hardest round of any PGA Championship with a 78.11 scoring average.

    When sailing ships dominated the waterways during the Atlantic slave trade, ship captains shaped their particular trade routes by the winds and the currents. There were two slave trading routes. In the North Atlantic route, ships sailed north of the equator in a clockwise direction and took advantage of the westerlies from North America, the Caribbean and the northeast trade winds off the coast of West Africa and directed toward the Americas. In the middle passage, where Charleston was located, most ships followed a triangular route between Europe, Africa and the Americas.

    The first leg involved an outward voyage from a slave-trading headquarters in London or Liverpool to the West African coast, where manufactured goods would be exchanged for slaves. On the second leg, vessels would cross the Atlantic to the Americas with slaves in the middle passage. The third leg was the return trip to the home port. For most of the year, the trade winds &mdash the prevailing easterly winds that circle the Earth near the equator &mdash made it difficult for slave ships to get away from the African coast. Captains were often forced to sail a circuitous return route until they could pick up the northeasterly trade winds. To avoid the currents, the vessels sailed windward, away from Africa with the southeasterly trade winds that allowed ships to bypass the West Indies and sail directly to the United States, increasing the survival rate and preserving the health of the slaves.

    I believe that everything is connected and nothing in America connects us more than the legacy of slavery. The foundation of American capitalism and the wealth that blooms at Kiawah was planted around Charleston with slavery. That golf was perhaps an unintended beneficiary of this eagerness to bring slavery into the American colonies should not be lost on any of us who love the game, because it is our history.

    PGA Championship 2021: Rangefinders will be in play, and there are plenty of skeptics

    Henrik Stenson uses a rangefinder during a practice round for the South African Open Championship.

    For the first time, distance measuring devices, or rangefinders, will be allowed for use during a major at next week’s PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. The decision, announced in February, was made in an effort to speed up play. Whether it actually will and what impact the use of the devices will have on the tournament, we’ll get to that.

    Some of the earliest rangefinders have a connection that traces to the birthplace of the game, Scotland. But they weren’t created for the purposes of sport. In 1891, Archibald Barr, an engineering professor at what is now the University of Leeds, and William Stroud, a physics professor at the same school, were asked by the department that oversaw the Royal Navy to design a short-base rangefinder.

    One version was known as a coincidence rangefinder, which consisted of lenses and prisms at each end of a tube with a monocular eyepiece in the middle. It determined an object’s distance by measuring angles formed by a line of sight at each end of the tube. The smaller the angle, the greater the distance. The larger the angle, the shorter the distance. With the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the demand for rangefinders increased and the technology behind them continued to evolve.

    The prevalence of distance measuring devices in golf, of course, wouldn’t come in earnest until much later.

    In 1965, the first laser rangefinder was invented, replacing its more archaic and less accurate predecessor. Similar to radar, laser rangefinders measure distances by timing the interval between the transmission and reception of electromagnetic waves. In 1995, Bushnell launched its first laser rangefinder for golf, the Yardage Pro 400, which was about the size of a large pair of binoculars. While it was sometimes difficult to focus on a flag from 200 yards back then, the years since have seen the size of rangefinders shrink considerably while the accuracy and amount of information they produce has increased tremendously.

    Though the Rules of Golf have allowed for the use of laser rangefinders and GPS devices in casual play and amateur tournaments since 2006, a local rule gave tournament committees the ability to ban the devices. As such, they still are not allowed during competition on any professional tour and aren’t permitted for the Masters, U.S. Open or Open Championship (though they are allowed during practice rounds at the professional level).

    Then there’s the PGA of America, which runs the PGA Championship, as well as the Senior PGA, to be played later this month, and the KPMG Women’s PGA, set for June. It will allow rangefinders at all three events, making it the first major body in golf to permit the devices during professional competition. The decision was based in large part as a way to speed up play, according to PGA of America president Jim Richerson.

    Rory McIlroy uses a rangefinder on the practice range during the TaylorMade Driving Relief.

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