PGA Championship returns to Southern Hills

Friday, July 13, 2007

TULSA -- The PGA Championship, the annual culmination of golf's four major Championships, celebrates its 89th anniversary, Aug. 6-12, with a Championship-record fourth visit to tradition-rich Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla.

Since its inception in 1916, the PGA Championship has evolved into one of the world's premier sporting events.

Defending Champion Tiger Woods seeks his fourth PGA Championship title against the strongest field in golf, as they compete for the Wanamaker Trophy.

Dave Stockton (1970), Raymond Floyd (1982) and Nick Price (1994) captured the previous PGA Championships contested at Southern Hills.

The Wanamaker Trophy

New York City department store magnate Rodman Wanamaker,who was instrumental in coordinating a 1916 luncheon that evolved into the founding of The PGA of America, offered to provide the new Association with cash prizes and a trophy for the inaugural PGA Championship.

Wanamaker proposed that the trophy would be similar to the News of the World Award given to the winner of the PGA Championship of Great Britain.

Wanamaker's generosity resulted in $2,500 for the first PGA Championship, conducted at match play at Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, N.Y., Oct.9-14, 1916.

In addition, a silver cup and gold medal were presented to the winner, as well as a silver medal for the runner-up, and bronze medals for the winners of the qualifying rounds.

The Wanamaker Trophy continues to serve as the perpetual honor prize for the PGA Champion. The trophy weighs 27 pounds, is 28 inches high, 101/2 inches in diameter and measures 27 inches from handle-to-handle.

In 1928, Leo Diegel snapped the four-year winning streak of Walter Hagen, defeating "The Haig" by a 2 and 1 margin in the quarterfinals at Five Farms Country Club in Baltimore.

Diegel went on to win the Championship, a truly stunning sports story at that time. Even more shocking was the fact that the Wanamaker Trophy was missing.

When PGA officials asked Hagen about what had happened to the Trophy since its presentation a year earlier at Cedar Crest Country Club in Dallas, the five-time PGA Champion declared it was irrevocably lost.

Hagen said that he had entrusted the trophy to a taxi driver to take the precious cargo to his hotel. It never arrived.

In 1930, the Wanamaker Trophy was found by accident by a porter in Detroit cleaning the cellar of L.A. Young & Company, the firm that manufactured clubs bearing Hagen's name. The trophy was safe in an unmarked case, and today is on display for all golf enthusiasts to view at The PGA Historical Center in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: