Suvarna Garge (Editor)

PGA Championship

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Covid-19
Course(s)  Quail Hollow Club
Length  7,442 yd (6,805 m)
Prize fund  10.5 million USD
Par  72
Organized by  PGA of America
Location  United States, varies Charlotte, North Carolina in 2017
Established  1916; 101 years ago (1916)
Tours  PGA European Tour, Japan Golf Tour
Instances  2017 PGA Championship, 2016 PGA Championship, 2015 PGA Championship, 2014 PGA Championship, 2013 PGA Championship

The PGA Championship (often referred to as the U.S. PGA Championship or U.S. PGA outside of the United States) is an annual golf tournament conducted by the Professional Golfers' Association of America. It is one of the four major championships in professional golf, and it is the golf season's final major, played in mid-August on the third weekend prior to Labor Day weekend. (It was rescheduled for 2016 to late July to accommodate golf's return to the Olympics.) It is an official money event on the PGA Tour, European Tour, and Japan Golf Tour, with a purse of $10 million since the 97th edition in 2015.

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In line with the other majors, winning "the PGA" gains privileges that improve career security. PGA champions are automatically invited to play in the other three majors (Masters Tournament, U.S. Open, and The Open Championship) for the next five years, and are exempt from qualifying for the PGA Championship for life. They receive membership on the PGA and European Tours for the following five seasons and invitations to The Players Championship for five years. The PGA Championship has been held at a large number of venues, some of the early ones now quite obscure, but currently it is usually staged by one of a small group of celebrated courses, each of which has also hosted several other leading events, including the U.S. Open and Ryder Cup.

History

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; consequently, golf historians have dubbed Wykagyl "The Cradle of the PGA." The new organization's first president was Robert White, one of Wykagyl's best-known golf professionals.

The first PGA Championship was held in October 1916 at Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, New York. 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.

Format

Initially a match play event, the PGA Championship was originally played in early fall but varied from May to December. Following World War II, the championship was mostly played 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, 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.

During the 1960s, the PGA Championship was played the week following 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 Olympics in August.

Location

The PGA Championship is primarily played in the eastern half of the United States, only ten times has it ventured west. It was last played in the Pacific time zone 19 years ago in 1998, at Sahalee east of Seattle, and California's most recent was in 1995 at Riviera. (The Mountain time zone has hosted three, all in suburban Denver, in 1941, 1967, and 1985.) The 102nd edition in 2020 is scheduled for TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, the first for the Bay Area and a return to California after a quarter century.

Through 2016, the state of New York has hosted twelve times, followed by Ohio (11) and Pennsylvania (9).

Promotion

In the mid-1990s, with the prestige of the tournament lacking, the PGA of America designed a marketing campaign around the fact that the PGA Championship was the final chance to become a major champion for the year. This campaign included the slogan "Glory's last shot" being applied to the championship, used in all promotional material and even in CBS's telecast opens. This made the PGA the only one of the major championships, or any professional golf tournament, to have a full-time marketing slogan. Other tournaments, most notably The Open Championship, have had numerous short-lived promotional taglines but they have never been used outside of commercials, and certainly not on the telecast of the tournament itself. The slogan drew scorn from golf writers due to the perceived cheesiness of having a slogan for a tournament, and the fact that the Championship's prestige had only slipped more since the slogan was instituted. Nonetheless, the slogan continued to be used through the 2013 PGA Championship.

After the 2013 event, the PGA of America made a deal with the PGA Tour. If the Tour would arrange its schedule to give players more rest before the PGA of America's Ryder Cup, then the PGA of America would stop using "Glory's last shot" to refer to the PGA Championship, so that the stature of the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup would be bolstered.

The deal went into effect in 2014, but although many of the same golf writers that had criticized "Glory's last shot" were now satisfied that the PGA Championship would drop its tagline, the PGA of America announced that it would instead be replaced by a new tagline: "This is major". The new tagline has drawn even more scorn due to the fact that it appears to be a desperate attempt to remind the viewing public that the PGA is indeed a major championship.

Qualification

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 a large number of places, 20 of 156, for club professionals. These slots are determined by the top finishers in the club pro championship, which is held in June.

Since December 1968, the PGA Tour has been independent of the PGA of America.

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.

List of qualification criteria as of 2010:

  • All former PGA Champions.
  • Winners of the last five U.S. Opens.
  • Winners of the last five Masters.
  • Winners of the last five Open Championships.
  • The last Senior PGA Champion.
  • The low 15 scorers and ties in the previous PGA Championship.
  • The 20 low scorers in the last PGA Professional National Championship.
  • The 70 leaders in official money standings on the PGA Tour (starting one week prior to the previous year's PGA Championship and ending two weeks prior to 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.
  • Winners of tournaments co-sponsored or approved by the PGA Tour since the previous PGA Championship (does not include pro-am and team competitions, but does include alternate events).
  • 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).
  • Match play era winners

    ^ 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 at that time.
  • Jock Hutchison - Born in Scotland. He became a U.S. citizen in 1920.
  • Match play era details

    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.

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

    Records

  • Most wins: 5, Jack Nicklaus, Walter Hagen
  • Most runner-up finishes: 4, Jack Nicklaus
  • Oldest winner: Julius Boros in 1968 (48 years, 142 days)
  • 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: 265, David Toms (66-65-65-69), 2001
  • 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.
  • Toms' 2001 score was −15. The 2001 site, the Highlands Course at Atlanta Athletic Club, played to par 70, while the 2015 site, the Straits Course at Whistling Straits, played to par 72. (The Highlands Course also played to par 70 when it hosted in 1981 and 2011, and the Straits Course also played to par 72 when it hosted in 2004 and 2010.)
  • Lowest 18-hole score: 63 – Bruce Crampton, 2nd round, 1975; Raymond Floyd, 1st, 1982; Gary Player, 2nd, 1984; Vijay Singh, 2nd, 1993; Michael Bradley, 1st, 1995; Brad Faxon, 4th, 1995; José María Olazábal, 3rd, 2000; Mark O'Meara, 2nd, 2001; Thomas Bjørn, 3rd, 2005; Tiger Woods, 2nd, 2007; Steve Stricker, 1st, 2011; Jason Dufner, 2nd, 2013; Hiroshi Iwata, 2nd, 2015.
  • Most frequent venues:
  • 4 PGA Championships: Southern Hills Country Club – 1970, 1982, 1994, 2007.
  • 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.
  • 3 PGA Championships: Valhalla Golf Club – 1996, 2000, 2014.
  • 3 PGA Championships: Whistling Straits, Straits Course – 2004, 2010, 2015.
  • Future sites

    Source:
    * The 2016 championship is scheduled earlier than usual to avoid conflict with the Olympic golf tournament in Brazil. Similarly, the 2020 event will adjust for the Olympics.

    References

    PGA Championship Wikipedia


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