First played for in 1916, the USPGA Championship is the third oldest of the four Majors after the Open (1860) and US Open (1894). Department store magnate Rodman Wanamaker
donated the trophy for the inaugural event as well as the sum of $2,580
in prize money. Since then times have changed and the purse for this year’s tournament is a staggering $7.5 million.
England’s Jim Barnes claimed the first ever PGA Championship at Siwanoy Country Club,
New York, and made it two in a row when the tournament returned to the
schedule after the First World War. Other famous names to grace the
trophy in the early years of the event included Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson and Sam Snead. Up until 1958 the competition was played in a matchplay format, Paul Runyan recording the largest margin of victory in a final at Oakmont in 1938, defeating Snead 8&7 over 36 holes.
In the modern era there have been 11 play-offs for the Wanamaker trophy with the likes of Don January (1961), Tom Watson (1978), Greg Norman (1993) and our Colin Montgomerie (1995) all missing out on glory.
Tiger Woods shares the record for the lowest score against par with Bob May – the pair finished at 18-under-par in 2000 at Valhalla, Tiger defeating the unfortunate May in a three-hole play-off – and Woods equalled that benchmark with an incredible display at Medinah in 2006.
Although the USPGA is often seen as the least important of the four Major golf championships, it traditionally has the strongest field. Despite the fact the tournament reserves places for the top 20 players from the PGA Professional National Championship, the top 70 players on the US money list gain automatic entry.