Published August 01, 2013
| Associated Press
A look at some of the anniversaries this year at the 95th PGA Championship, to be played Aug. 8-11 at Oak Hill in Pittsford, N.Y.:
75 years ago (1938): Denny Shute's bid for a third straight PGA Championship ended in the third round when he lost to Jimmy Hines. On the other side of the draw, Paul Runyan met little resistance on his way to the championship match at Shawnee Country Club except for going extra holes to beat Lloyd Mangrum. Runyan faced rising star Sam Snead in the 36-hole final, pitting the enormous power of Snead against the great short game of Runyan, whose nickname was "Little Poison." It was no contest. Runyan halved the fifth hole despite being stymied, using a niblick to chip in from 3 feet over Snead's ball. Runyan was 5 up at the turn and demolished Snead, 8 and 7, to capture his second Wanamaker Trophy. It was the largest margin of the match play era.
50 years ago (1963): For those who think there's not enough time between the British Open and PGA Championship, imagine how it was 50 years ago. The PGA Championship was held the week after the British Open, and it was even tougher in the summer heat at Dallas Athletic Club. Jack Nicklaus recovered quickly from finishing one shot behind at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. Nicklaus, who won the Masters in April, trailed by four shots through 36 holes and was still three shots behind Bruce Crampton going into the final round. Nicklaus closed with a 68 as Crampton faded to a 74. Nicklaus won the first of his record-tying five PGA Championship titles, and at age 23, already had his third major.
25 years ago (1988): For the second straight year, Paul Azinger had the 54-hole lead going into the final round of a major. Nick Faldo beat him at Muirfield in 1987 by making 18 pars. Jeff Sluman took him down in the 1988 PGA Championship at Oak Hill with what might be one of the most underrated closing rounds in the majors. Sluman effectively made up a three-shot deficit in one hole. He holed out with a wedge from 115 yards on the par-5 fifth hole, while Azinger a few groups later took a bogey. Sluman kept right on going until he had a 7-under 65, the low score of the final round, to beat Azinger by three shots. It was his first PGA Tour title, making Sluman the first player since Jerry Pate in 1976 to make a major his first tour victory.
20 years ago (1993): The PGA Championship returned to Inverness, and more major heartache returned for Greg Norman. Bob Tway beat him in 1986 by holing out from a bunker on the final hole. In 1993, Norman had a one-shot lead going into the final round. Paul Azinger, twice a runner-up in the majors, closed with a 68 to force a playoff with Norman. The Shark missed a birdie putt on the first extra hole. On the next one, Azinger had the advantage with an 8-foot birdie putt, while Norman was 20 feet away. Norman left his putt about 4 feet short, and after Azinger missed, Norman's par putt to extend the playoff lipped out. Azinger had his first major. Norman became the first player to lose all four stroke-play majors in a playoff. Azinger was diagnosed with lymphoma a few months later.
10 years ago (2003): Shaun Micheel was No. 169 in the world, and he was winless in 163 starts on the PGA Tour. In fact, he had never finished better than third in his six years on tour. He opened with rounds of 69-68-69 at Oak Hill to share the lead with Chad Campbell going into Sunday. Campbell, three shots behind with four holes to play, cut the deficit to one shot going to the 18th and was positioned nicely in the fairway. And just like that, it was over. Micheel was 175 yards in the first cut of rough and he hit 7-iron that settled 2 inches from the cup to lock up the win. It remains Micheel's only win.
5 years ago (2008): One year after Padraig Harrington won his first major by beating Sergio Garcia in a playoff at Carnoustie, the Irishman denied Garcia a major championship at Oakland Hills. Garcia had the lead until he hit his approach into the water on the 16th hole and made bogey, while Harrington saved par with a 12-foot putt. The difference came at the 17th, where both players had birdie chances — Harrington from 10 feet, Garcia from 4 feet. Harrington made his putt, and Garcia missed to fall one shot behind. On the 18th, Harrington made a 15-foot par putt for a 4-under 66 to secure the win and earn a piece of history. Having won the British Open a month earlier at Royal Birkdale, he became the first European in 78 years to win the PGA Championship, and the first European to win back-to-back majors in the same season.