US PGA Championship: Australian's


It may be the least prestigious of the four Majors, but the US PGA Championship trophy is still a highly sought after piece of golfing silverware.

Qualification for the PGA Championship is based on performance on the US Tour which, effectively, makes it a very Americanized event. To date only Gary Player of South Africa, Vijay Singh of Fiji, Nick Price of Zimbabwe and the three Australian golfing legends, David Graham, Steve Elkington and Wayne Grady have been non American winners.

The first US PGA Championship was in 1916, the year of the formation of the US Professional Golfers Association. One of the biggest attractions of winning the Championship, apart from the large cheque that comes with the win, is future exemption from pre-qualifying for the PGA Championship for life, is invited to play in the other three Majors for the next five years, they also receive membership on the PGA Tour for the next five seasons and invitation to the Players Championship for the following five years. That in itself is worth a great deal!

From it's inauguration until 1958, the Championship was a matchplay event, and in the 1920's Walter Hagen proved himself to be one of the finest exponents of this form of golf by taking the title five times in seven years. When he lost, the PGA asked for the trophy back and he replied that he'd left it in the back of a taxi a couple of years earlier. The Wanamaker trophy was eventually recovered.

In 1980 Jack Nicklaus equaled Hagen's record of five wins. But it is the one major that Arnold Palmer never captured.

For drama, the final of the 1930 Championship between Gene Sarazen and Tommy Armour takes some beating. The two stalwarts engaged in a close battle over 35 holes. At the last, Armour holed a putt from 4 meters. Sarazen then had a similar putt, but missed by centimeters.

Now a strokeplay event, like the other majors, the PGA has a regular August date each year and is the last of the seasons four majors. But at one time it use to either clash with or be played within a week of the British Open, and for this reason Ben Hogan was deprived of the chance of winning all four Majors in 1953.

There have been three Australian winners of the US PGA Championship as mentioned before:

* 1979 David Graham (Oakland Hills Country Club)
* 1990 Wayne Grady (Shoal Creek Golf and Country Club)
* 1995 Steve Elkington (The Riviera Country Club)

For more golfing history, click HERE: