Golf History

  • June 2024

    June 20, many times the U.S. Open ended on this date, here are some of the memorable winners: Alex Smith winning a playoff in 1910 at the Philadelphia Cricket Club; Tom Watson pitching in on 17 in 1982 at Pebble Beach; Ken Venturi surviving searing heat at Congressional in 1964; Arnold Palmer losing a playoff to Billy Casper in 1966 at the Olympic Club; Larry Nelson making a bomb at 16 in 1983 at Oakmont to win over Watson on a Monday; Curtis Strange winning a playoff in 1988 at The Country Club over Nick Faldo; Lee Janzen shooting sub-70 all week at Baltusrol in 1993; Ernie Els winning a playoff in 1994 at Oakmont; Retief Goosen taking the title in 2004 at Shinnecock Hills; Graeme McDowell surviving over Gregory Havret at Pebble Beach in 2010. Elsewhere, Bobby Jones also won the 1930 Open Championship on this date at Royal Liverpool.
     
    Ben Hogan has one of the greatest records in the U.S. Open. He impressingly tied for the most victories with four. That does not count the Hale America National Open in 1942, which the USGA doesn't include. Hogan's fourth victory came on June 13, 1953, when he won by six over Sam Snead at Oakmont. During the next seven years, Hogan had finishes of 7th, 2nd, 2nd, 10th, 8th and 9th, but never did win the National Open again. A couple other legendary figures in golf won majors on this date. In 1895, J.H. Taylor won a second straight Open Championship, this at St. Andrews, beating Sandy Herd by four shots. The following year, Taylor had a third straight title halted by Harry Vardon, who won at Muirfield in a 36-hole playoff.
     
    June 11, 1938Ralph Guldahl became the fourth person to win back-to-back U.S. Opens, following Willie Anderson, John McDermott and Bobby Jones. Guldahl shot a 69 at Cherry Hills to finish six shots ahead of Dick Metz. In 1937 he had finished two shots ahead of Sam Snead at Oakland Hills.
     
    June 10, 1904, The Open Championship ended at Royal St. George’s Golf club with Jack White the winner by one shot over the legendary twosome and future five-time winners James Braid and J.H. Taylor.
     
    June 5, 1925Willie MacFarlane defeated Bobby Jones in a 36-hole playoff by one stroke at the U.S. Open at Worcester (Mass.).  MacFarlane shot 75-72 to Jones' 75-73. Jones had won in 1923, and would win again in 1926, 1929 and 1930.
     
    June 3, 1945, Three time U.S. Open winner Hale Irwin was born in Joplin, Missouri.  The hall-of-fame golfer won the U.S. Open in 1974, 1979 and 1990, plus the U.S. Senior Open in 1998 and 2000. He won the “Massacre at Winged Foot” in the 1974 U.S. Open with a 7-over-par score

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  • May 2024

    May 30, If you count Jim Barnes winning in 1916 and 1919 with the two middle years taken off for World War I, the PGA Championship has been won in consecutive years eight times. Tiger Woods did it twice, and Walter Hagen won four in a row, 1924-1927!
     
    May 23, 2002, with days of turning 90, Sam Snead passed away in Hot Springs, VA.  He was born on May 27, 1912, the same year as Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson.  1912 was a pretty good year for Golf!
     
    May 16, 1930, In the sixth Walker Cup Match that started May 15, 1930, and ended on the 16th, U.S. captain and player Bobby Jones led the Americans to a 10-2 victory over Great Britain & Ireland at Royal St. George’s Golf Club in Sandwich, England.
     
    May 15, 1931, Ken Venturi was born.  After retiring from the Tour in 1967 with a total of 14 career wins, Venturi spent the next 35 years working as a color commentator and lead analyst for CBS Sports – the longest lead analyst stint in sports broadcasting history, made remarkable by the fact that he had a stutter, which he was able to manage in his adult years. He retired from broadcasting at age 71 in June 2002
     
    May 14, 1995Kelly Robbins won the only major of her career by one shot over Laura Davies at DuPont Country Club in the LPGA Championship. 
     
    May 10, 1929Walter Hagen won his fourth Open Championship, and 11th and final major championship at Muirfield, Scotland. His winning score was 12 over par, and that shot was 6 over fellow American Johnny Farrell. Known for his outsized personality and colorful wardrobe, Hagen is in the World Golf Hall of Fame.
     
    May 6, 1962, the year he won two majors, Arnold Palmer won the Tournament of Champions. He had scores of 69-70-69-68 for 276 and first prize of $11,000.
     
    May 3, 1990, Brooks Koepka, five-time major championship winner, was born in West Palm Beach, Florida. Also, on this date in 1964, the late Pete Brown won the Waco Turner Open at Turner Lodge in Burneyville, Oklahoma, becoming the first African-American to win an official PGA Tour event.

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  • April 2024

    April 30, 1961 and 1962, the great Mickey Wright won the LPGA Titleholders Championship at Augusta Country Club. In 1961 it was by one shot over Patty Berg and Louise Suggs, and in 1962 it was in a playoff with Ruth Jessen.
     
    April 29, 1857, This date is credited as the publishing date for the first golf instruction book, The Golfer's Manual, “A Keen Hand” by H. B. Farnie.
     
    April 18, 1935, Gene Sarazen hit "the shot heard 'round the world" at Augusta National Golf Club on the fifteenth hole in the final round of the Masters Tournament. He struck a spoon (the modern name is four wood) 232 yards into the hole, scoring a double eagle. He was trailing Craig Wood by three shots, which he then tied.  He parred the 16th, 17th and 18th holes to preserve the tie. The following day, the pair played a 36-hole playoff, with Sarazen winning by five shots.
     
    April 19, 1994, Lee Trevino won the PGA Seniors' Championship one stroke over Jim Colbert.  This Championship ended at the PGA National Resort.
     
    April 16, 1995, Raymond Floyd won the PGA Seniors' Championship by five shots over Larry Gilbert, Lee Trevino & John Paul Cain at the PGA National.
     
    April 15, 1979, the 43rd Masters had its first sudden death playoff.  Fuzzy Zoeller won a 2-hole playoff, making a birdie on the 11th hole, beating Ed Sneed & Tom Watson.
     
    April 14, 2024, Scottie Scheffler secured his second Masters Tournament victory in three years on Sunday, finishing 11 under and four strokes up on his closest competitors.
     
    April 14, 1968Roberto De Vicenzo signed an incorrect scorecard with a higher score than he actually shot on the 17th hole in the final round and finished one behind Bob Goalby.  Mr. De Vicenzio was also born on this date in 1923.
     

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  • March 2024

    March 28, 2024, six times a PGA Tour event has been decided after an eight-hole, sudden-death playoff, the most holes it has taken to decide a winner. (Cary Middlecoff and Lloyd Mangrum played 11 holes for the 1949 Motor City Open but were stopped by darkness and declared co-champions.) The first of the eight occasions was on March 28, 1965, when Dick Hart beat Phil Rodgers at the Azalea Open. Also on this date, in 1999, Dottie Pepper won the Nabisco Championship (now the ANA Inspiration) for a second time at Mission Hills CC, six strokes ahead of runner-up Meg Mallon.
     
    March 25, 1934, the first Masters finished. Then called the Augusta National Invitation Tournament, it was won by Horton Smith when he holed a 20-foot birdie putt at the 17th hole and finished one shot ahead of Craig Wood. That first year, the nines were reversed, and the 17th was today’s par-5 eighth hole. This is the only time the Masters finished in the month of March.
     
    March 19, 1950, Babe Didrikson Zaharias won the U.S. Women’s Open (pre USGA run) at Rolling Hills Country Club by nine shots over Betsy Rawls.
     
    March 18, 1951, amateur Pat O’Sullivan won the LPGA Titleholders Championship at Augusta C.C. by two shots over Beverly Hanson (also an amateur).
     
    March 14, 1936, Bob Charles, 1963 Open Championship winner, was born in Carterton, New Zealand. He is in a select group of the greatest putters ever.
     
    March 11, 1956, LPGA Tour’s Titleholders Championship of Women's Golf was won for the third time by Louise Suggs in a close contest with Patty Berg. She secured the win by one shot at Augusta Country Club.
     
    March 5, 1956, Mickey Wright (PGA of America, Hall of Famer), got her first LPGA Tour victory on this date. Wright was ranked the 9th greatest golfer of all time and the top woman Golfer by Golf Digest Magazine in 2000.

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  • February 2024

    February 29, 1948, Lawson Little is believed to be the last player to win a tour event on Leap Day. He won the St. Petersburg Open over Bobby Locke by 3 shots.
     
    February 13, 1918, Patty Berg, one of the greatest womens golfers, was born in Minneapolis. She was a founding member and the first president of the LPGA. Her 15 major title wins remains the all-time record for most major wins by a female golfer. She is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
     
    February 6, 1971, Alan Shepard hit a couple of golf balls with a makeshift 6-iron on the moon as part of the Apollo 14 space mission. He snuck the club onboard the flight. Because of his spacesuit, he could only swing his right arm. On return, Shepard said he “shanked the first one; it rolled into a crater about 40 yards away. The second one, I kept my head down. I hit it flush and it went at least 200 yards.”
     
    February 2, 2024, Punxsutawney Phil did NOT see his shadow and predicts an early spring. More Golf for all!

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  • January 2024

    January 24, 1999, David Duval shoots a 59 to match what is then the best round in PGA Tour history. Duval moves forward from seven strokes off the pace for a one-stroke victory over Steve Pate in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.
     
    January 17, 1916, the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) was founded by a group of Professionals and leading amateur golfers at the Taplow Club in New York City.
     
    January 1, 1938, the 14-club limit imposed by the Rules of Golf became effective. Up until then, players carried as many as they wanted.
     
    Happy New Year! May your golf game be a source of pleasure in 2024.

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