PGA CHAMPIONSHIP '14: A look at key anniversaries for the final major of the year

Doug Ferguson / The Associated Press
August 4, 2014 12:35 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A look at some of the anniversaries at the PGA Championship this year:

75 years ago (1939): Henry Picard won his second major championship by rallying to beat Byron Nelson at Pomonock Country Club in New York.

Picard led most of the day until Nelson tied the match on the 29th hole and took his first lead with a birdie on the 32nd hole. Picard saved his chances by making a 25-footer on the 34th hole to avoid going 2 down, and then he made a 4-foot birdie putt on the last hole in regulation to square the match. On the first extra hole, Nelson again had the advantage with a shot into 5 feet, while Picard drove under a movie truck. Picard got free relief, hit his approach to 12 feet and made the putt. Nelson missed his putt.

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50 years ago (1964): Bobby Nichols, a 28-year-old from Kentucky, set the PGA Championship record with a 64 in the opening round at Columbus Country Club.

And the records kept right on falling. Nichols went on to a wire-to-wire victory. His 271 set a PGA Championship record that stood for 30 years, until Nick Price had a 269 at Southern Hills in 1994. And it gave Nichols a three-shot victory over Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. Nichols had a one-shot lead over Palmer going into the final round and closed with a 67. Palmer never won a PGA Championship, the major that kept him from the career Grand Slam.

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25 years ago (1989): Payne Stewart won his first major championship at Kemper Lakes outside Chicago, and he needed plenty of help.

Dressed in Chicago Bears colours because of his NFL apparel deal, Stewart closed with a 67 and posted at 276. Still, this PGA Championship belonged to Mike Reid, known as "Radar" because of his accuracy off the tee.

Stewart was in the clubhouse. Reid was in command. But it all fell apart for Reid. He hit into the water and had to scramble for bogey on the 16th. He flubbed a chip and three-putted for double bogey on the 17th to fall one shot behind. And he missed a 4-foot birdie putt on the 18th that would have forced a playoff. As tears welled in his eyes, Reid looked at reporters and said, "It's only a game, right?"

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20 years ago (1994): Nick Price stamped his dominance in the game by winning his second straight major — and third out of the last night — and this time there was no doubt. Price needed a late blunder by Jesper Parnevik to win the British Open a month earlier. At Southern Hills for the PGA Championship, he opened with a 67 to share the lead with Colin Montgomerie, pulled away with a 65 in the second round and wound up with a six-shot victory over Corey Pavin.

Price rose to No. 1 in the world with the victory. And his 269 set a PGA Championship scoring record that would be broken the following year at Riviera.

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10 years ago (2004): The only thing missing from Vijay Singh's greatest season was a major, and he had to work harder than he imagined for this one. The PGA Championship went to Whistling Straits for the first time, a Pete Dye creation along the shores of Lake Michigan. It delivered great theatre.

Justin Leonard built a two-shot lead with five holes to play, but his bogey on the 18th hole dropped him into a three-way playoff with Singh and Chris DiMarco. The only birdie Singh made on Sunday came on the first of three playoff holes. It was enough to carry him to a victory, as Leonard and DiMarco could not make up ground. Singh's 76 remains the highest final round by a PGA champion.

Singh finished the year with nine PGA Tour wins and became the first player to earn $10 million in one year.


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