The PGA Championship is one of the four major golf tournaments. The best players in the world compete each year on different American courses. This major tournament has taken place every year since 1916 (with some exceptions). The winner of each year’s tournament receives a lifetime invitation to play in all future PGA championships as well as a 5 year allowance to play in the other 3 major tournaments.
As usual, two of the most popular names in golf have found much success at this tournament. Jack Nicklaus has won the tournament on 5 occasions from 1963 to 1980 but also finished in the top 5 a record 14 times. In 1999 Tiger Woods won his first PGA Championship at 23 years of age and did not stop there as he went on to win this event four times.
A fun fact about the PGA Championship is that it used to be a match play event until 1957. In this format, players would sometimes play more than 200 holes if they were to reach the finals. However, the event was changed to a standard 72 hole stroke play format in 1958. Most of the tournament’s venues are on the east side of the United States. New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania have been used for around a third of the events.
Golfers who prove to be the best on the field during the event are rewarded with a neat share of cash ($2.16million in 2021) as well as the famous Wanamaker Trophy. In 1925, when Walter Hagen won the PGA Championship, he had apparently paid a taxi $5 to take the Wanamaker Trophy to his hotel while he
went partying at a nightclub. Sure enough, the trophy never reached the hotel and was lost. The PGA had to make a duplicate of the trophy, but it wasn’t until 1930 that the original trophy was found in a box in the basement of L.A. Young & Company in Detroit, the firm that manufactured the Walter Hagen line of golf clubs. There has been no explanation of how or why the trophy ended up there, and the PGA of America retired the original to the safety of its museum in Florida.
The Wanamaker is the largest, and heaviest, of the four men's Major trophies
The lowest 72-hole score in the PGA Championship came from Brooks Koepka in 2018 as he shot rounds of 69, 63, 66 & 66 to post a 264 total 16 under par at Bellerive Country Club in Missouri.
However, the lowest score in relation to par belongs to Jason Day. The Aussie posted a total score of 268 with rounds of 68, 67, 66 & 67 and a 20 under par score at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.
It is said that the PGA Championship is the major with the strongest field as there are no amateurs participating. The Official World Golf Ranking uses a “Strength of Field” rating to rate the field each week.
The higher the rating, the higher the level of the players participating. In 2021, the rating of the field was 916. To put that in perspective, this was higher than The Masters (761), The US Open (865) and the Players Championship (840).
The 2022 US PGA Championship winner, Justin Thomas.
The PGA Championship is a true test for those who want to prove if they really are one of the best golfers in the world.