10 of the most memorable PGA Championship moments
The PGA Championship is one of the most important events in the sporting calendar and it has yielded many memorable moments over the years. These are the 10 most iconic moments in PGA Championship history:
John Daly Upsets the Odds
John Daly was the rank outsider when he rocked up at Crooked Stick to take part in the 1991 PGA Championship. The mullet-topped rookie was the event’s ninth alternate, and he only made it onto the field when Nick Price withdrew to be at his wife’s side while she gave birth. He did not even have time to play a practice round. Nobody expected him to make the cut, let alone challenge for glory, but Daly made short work of the 7,295-yard course, while guzzling Diet Coke throughout. He took the lead with a third-round 69 and closed out a two-stroke victory, which propelled him to hard-partying superstardom.
John Mahaffey Completes Stunning Comeback
John Mahaffey was seven strokes behind leader Tom Watson with just 14 holes left to play in the final round at Oakmont County Club in 1978. His chances of catching the great man were slim to none, but Watson faltered on the home stretched, and Mahaffey continued to gain momentum, eating into the lead until he ended up securing a three-way tie with Watson and Jerry Pate. A 12-foot birdie putt on the second extra hole saw Mahaffey complete the greatest comeback in PGA Championship history.
A Heartbreaker from Gene Sarazen
Gene Sarazen remains the youngest ever winner of the PGA Championship after lifting the trophy at the age of 20 in 1922. The following year, he found himself neck-and-neck with Walter Hagen after 36 holes of the match play event. The momentum was with Hagen as the two men went into a sudden death playoff, and Sarazen hit his ball into the rough on the second playoff hole. Yet he then told spectators: “I’ll put this one so close to the hole that it will break Walter’s heart.” He did precisely that, and then dropped in from 2 feet to complete a tournament-winning birdie.
Walter Hagen’s Heroics
Hagen swiftly recovered from the disappointment of that 1923 playoff defeat by vanquishing Jim Barnes to win his second PGA Championship the following year. He continued to dominate the event, and wrapped up a fourth consecutive triumph when he defeated Joe Turnesa 1-up in the final at Cedar Crest Country Club in Dallas. It was his fifth overall title, and he still holds the record for the most consecutive PGA Championship wins.
Tiger Woods Holes Dramatic Putt
A young Tiger Woods became embroiled in a heated battle for glory with the unheralded Bob May in the 2000 PGA Championship. May finished 18 under, leaving Woods needing to hole a par putt on the 18th to force a three-hole playoff. Woods held his nerve and dropped the putt, before prevailing in the playoff to land his third consecutive major with a truly gutsy performance.
Y.E. Yang’s Eagle
Woods has certainly not had it all his own way in the PGA Championship. In 2009, he found himself tied with Y.E. Yang through 13 holes on the final day at Hazeltine. Then Yang pulled off a jaw-dropping chip-in from beyond the green to secure an eagle on the 14th. It was arguably the greatest shot ever seen at the PGA Championship, considering what was at stake. Yang held his nerve down the final four holes and became the first South Korean to win a major in the men’s game.
Sergio Garcia’s Scissor Kick
A 19-year-old rookie by the name of Sergio Garcia announced himself to the world with a jubilant scissor kick at the 1999 PGA Championship. The Spaniard trailed Woods by one shot as they went into the par-4 16th hole at Medinah, and he hit a drive that nestled against a tree.
Rather than going for a safe chip out, he whipped out his 6-iron and played a beauty towards the green. Garcia ran after it, leaped into the air to gain a better view and scissor kicked when he saw its trajectory. It remains one of the most iconic pictures in the game, it was ultimately not enough to swing the tournament in El Nino’s favour, as he finished second, two shots behind the imperious Woods.
Bob Tway Buries Bunker Shot
A magnificent bunker shot from Bob Tway brought him back into contention at the 1986 PGA Championship. He was tied for the lead with the great Greg Norman when they went into the 18th hole at Inverness. Disaster struck when his approach shot landed in the sand, leaving the Great White Shark firmly in the driving seat. Yet Tway then delivered the greatest shot of his career, burying his bunker shot to secure a birdie. Norman could not hole a long birdie putt, and Tway became the unlikeliest of champions.
Rory McIlroy Secures Blowout Victory
A 23-year-old Rory McIlroy made mincemeat of the field when he romped to an eight-stroke victory at the 2012 PGA Championship. He did not record a single bogey in the final 23 holes, and he wrapped up his victory with an astonishing 25-foot putt. It was his second major title and he returned two years later to add another PGA Championship to his haul. McIlroy is among the main contenders in the Unikrn sportsbook odds on the PGA Championship, but can he pull it off?
Brooks Koepka Goes Back-to-Back
Defending champion Brooks Koepka opened up a seven-shot lead over the chasing pack ahead of the final day at the 2019 PGA Championship. Victory seemed certain, as nobody had ever blown such a commanding lead in a major. Yet Koepka faltered badly on the back nine, and the rampaging Dustin Johnson reduced the deficit to just a single shot. However, Koepka dug deep and displayed great fortitude to see off Johnson’s spirited challenge, wrapping up a two-shot victory. He would become the first man to win three in a row during the stroke play era if he could prevail at TPC Harding.
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