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    10 Memorable Moments From P.G.A. Championships

    The tournament’s history includes brilliant play from the stars Tiger Woods and Gary Player, and the surprising winners Bob Tway and John Daly.The fans who follow professional golf can cite plenty of memorable moments over the years from the Masters, the United States Open and the British Open.That isn’t necessarily the case with the least glamorous of the four majors, the P.G.A. Championship, which starts Thursday on the Ocean Course at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina. The P.G.A. is a major nonetheless, and since its format switched from match play to stroke play in 1958, the tournament has featured its share of heroics and dramatic finishes.Here, in chronological order, are 10 P.G.A. Championships that stand out since the format changed.Gary Player won the 1972 P.G.A. Championship at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.Getty Images1972: Oakland Hills Country Club, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.After bogeys on 14 and 15, Gary Player of South Africa, a future Hall of Famer, hit his tee shot into the rough on the right on 16 and then had a huge willow tree and a water hazard between him and the green.No problem.Player borrowed a chair from a fan to get a better look at what he was facing. He hit a 9-iron to within three feet of the hole, made the birdie putt, and won by two strokes over Tommy Aaron and Jim Jamieson.Lee Trevino, center, won the 1974 P.G.A. Championship at Tanglewood Park in Clemmons, N.C.Al Satterwhite/American Broadcasting Companies, via Getty Images1974: Tanglewood Park, Clemmons, N.C.Consider those who were in contention during the final round: Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino and Sam Snead, who was 62 years old.Ultimately, it was Trevino, using a putter he discovered in a friend’s attic, who prevailed by a stroke over Nicklaus to win the first of his two P.G.A.s. After making a bogey on 17, Trevino two-putted for a par at the final hole to hold off Nicklaus. Snead, who won his first P.G.A. in 1942, tied for third.1978: Oakmont Country Club, Oakmont, Pa.The P.G.A. was the only major Tom Watson didn’t win in his career. At Oakmont, he came very close.Watson, who led by five over Jerry Pate heading into the final round, shot a two-over 73 on Sunday. As a result, he found himself in a sudden-death playoff with Pate and John Mahaffey. Mahaffey, after an opening 75, shot rounds of 67, 68 and 66. Each player made a par on the first hole before Mahaffey birdied the second for the victory.Bob Tway won the 1986 P.G.A. Championship at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio.Jeff McBride/PGA TOUR Archive, via Getty Images1986: Inverness Club, Toledo, OhioWith eight holes to go, Greg Norman enjoyed a comfortable four-stroke lead. He was on track to win his second straight major, having captured the British Open in Scotland a month earlier.Norman proceeded to double-bogey No. 11. By the time he and Bob Tway, reached No. 18, they were all square. A playoff seemed likely. Tway then made a birdie when he knocked his bunker shot into the hole. Norman missed his birdie attempt for the tie.John Daly won the 1991 P.G.A. Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind.Getty Images1991: Crooked Stick Golf Club, Carmel, Ind.John Daly, an alternate who made the field when other players withdrew, shocked the sport with a three-stroke victory over Bruce Lietzke. The manner in which Daly won was a big part of the story. Hitting one booming drive after another, he became the game’s new hero.Daly, a tour rookie, was an unknown heading into the week. He would win one more major, the 1995 British Open.Greg Norman lost the 1993 P.G.A. Championship in a playoff with Paul Azinger at Inverness Club.Phil Sheldon/Popperfoto, via Getty Images1993: Inverness ClubAnother strong performance for Norman in Toledo. Another heartbreaking finish.The beneficiary this time was Paul Azinger, who birdied four of his last seven holes to force a playoff with Norman. Both parred the first hole before Norman missed a four-footer for a par on the second. Norman would have been the first player since Walter Hagen in 1924 to capture the British Open and the P.G.A. in the same year.Sergio Garcia’s memorable shot at the 1999 P.G.A. Championship at Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill.Roberto Schmidt/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images1999: Medinah Country Club, Medinah, Ill.Tiger Woods won by one stroke for his second major title and first since his triumph in the 1997 Masters. However, it was the play of 19-year-old Sergio Garcia that makes this tournament so memorable; specifically, the shot he hit at No. 16.With the ball inches from a tree, Garcia hit it onto the green. He ran down the fairway and jumped in the air to see where the ball ended up.2000: Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville, Ky.The first P.G.A. of the new century offered an unlikely and most entertaining duel between Woods, the No. 1 player in the world, and an unknown, Bob May.May pulled off one clutch shot after another over the final nine holes, capped by a double-breaking 15-foot birdie putt at No. 18. Woods followed with a five-foot birdie putt to stay alive and then prevailed by one stroke in a three-hole playoff. May would never win a PGA Tour event.2001: Atlanta Athletic Club, Johns Creek, Ga.David Toms had a choice to make.Leading by one shot on the par-4 18th hole, with his ball in the rough and a water hazard between him and the putting surface, he had to decide whether to go for the green or play it safe. He played it safe. It was the right choice.Toms hit his second shot short of the water, his next shot landed about 12 feet from the hole and then he made the par putt to edge Phil Mickelson by a stroke. Mickelson had just missed his birdie effort from 25 feet.2014: Valhalla Golf ClubRory McIlroy, the leader by one after three rounds, bogeyed two of his first six holes on Sunday, while other contenders made birdies. Suddenly, McIlroy was down by three.He turned things around with an eagle at No. 10 and followed with birdies at 13 and 17 to take the lead heading into the last hole. As darkness approached, Mickelson made it exciting, nearly chipping in for an eagle from off the green, which would have tied him with McIlroy. More

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    What Defines a P.G.A. Championship Golf Course? Excitement.

    Unlike the other majors, the tournament has been moving around looking for compelling play for more than 100 years.The last time the P.G.A. Championship was held at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina, Rory McIlroy entered the final round with a three-shot lead over the field, but the former P.G.A. champions Vijay Singh, Padraig Harrington and Tiger Woods were giving chase.That week in August 2012 had been full of drama. Winds during Friday’s second round gusted to 30 miles per hour. A thunderstorm on Saturday had left about a third of the players having to finish their rounds on Sunday morning, including McIlroy.When the final round got underway, McIlroy shot a bogey-free round of six under par. Some players made a charge on Sunday that cut into his lead, but he won the tournament walking away.With an eight-shot buffer, McIlroy beat a stacked field that succumbed to the course. He also set a record for margin of victory, besting the one set by Jack Nicklaus when he won his fifth P.G.A. Championship in 1980.That is exactly the kind of excitement the P.G.A. of America seeks when it selects a course for its major championship. It wants a bunch of players to have a chance to win, but it’s also happy if one player puts on a master class and pulls away from everyone else.“Our philosophy is we want someone to win it, not lose it,” said Seth Waugh, chief executive of the P.G.A. of America, which holds the P.G.A. Championship and the Ryder Cup. “We want birdies and eagles and bogeys and others. We’re not trying to create a torture test. That’s not what we try to do.”The 16th hole at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina.Gary Kellner/The PGA of America, via Getty ImagesLooking back on the scores of courses that have hosted P.G.A. Championships, this tournament is more enigmatic than the other three majors when it comes to a defining template for its courses.The Masters is at Augusta National Golf Club every spring (not the fall, as it was in 2020), with all eyes on the back nine on Sunday. There players fall in and out of contention with dizzying speed as they did this year, when it looked as if the eventual winner, Hideki Matsuyama, was faltering as Xander Schauffele was surging, only to have everything flip again.The British Open is played at a fairly set rotation of courses, but the winning score is as dependent on the weather — particularly the wind — as it is on the course itself. Winning scores at the Old Course at St. Andrews, for example, have ranged widely. Woods won there in 2000 at 19 under par. Five years earlier, John Daly won at six under. The most recent Open at St. Andrews was won by Zach Johnson at 15 under par.And then there’s the golf course that hosts the United States Open. How the United States Golf Association, which administers the U.S. Open, sets up the course is often the subject of debate. Complaints are legendary: The greens at Shinnecock Hills in 2004 and 2018 were so fast and the pins were placed in such difficult locations that some of the best players in the world called the course unplayable. They included Phil Mickelson, who in 2018 hit a putt while it was still rolling to keep it on the green. (He incurred a two-shot penalty.)So what makes a course worthy of the P.G.A. Championship? It’s easy to say what the courses are not — overly tight, unforgiving or predictable — but it’s harder to say what they share in common.A look at the courses that have hosted the championship doesn’t, on its face, paint the same picture of consistency as the other major championships.A relatively short Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, N.Y., hosted the first P.G.A. Championship in 1916. Oakmont Country Club, considered by the sport to be the toughest course in America and synonymous with the U.S. Open, hosted a P.G.A. Championship in 1922, five years before its first of nine U.S. Opens. Classic courses like Baltusrol in Springfield, N.J.; Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, N.Y.; and Oakland Hills in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., have hosted P.G.A. Championships and U.S. Opens.Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C., and Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pa., have hosted regular PGA Tour events as well as the P.G.A. Championships. And some now obscure courses have also held the tournament, including Seaview Golf Club in Galloway, N.J., and Hershey Country Club in Pennsylvania.“The list of P.G.A. Championship courses is kind of uneven, but in a cool and fun way,” said Tom Coyne, who played golf in all 50 states, including at every U.S. Open venue, for his new book “A Course Called America: Fifty States, Five Thousand Fairways, and the Search for the Great American Golf Course.”“There are those mainstays that go back and forth between the U.S. Open and the P.G.A. like Baltusrol, Oakland Hills and Southern Hills,” he said. “Then there are those you wouldn’t even know hosted a P.G.A. Championship, like Llanerch Country Club. I had no idea it hosted the 1958 championship, and I grew up playing at a club 10 miles down the road.”Coyne said one distinguishing factor in course selection might be the history of the organizations themselves. Both the U.S.G.A. and the R&A, which puts on the British Open, are the official arbitrators of the rules of golf. Rodman Wanamaker, whose wealth came from owning department stores, was one of the founders of the P.G.A. of America, which began in 1916 as a trade organization for professional golfers.“The P.G.A. is less bound by the history of golf. You’re going to have people saying this isn’t a U.S. Open course,” Coyne said about clubs chosen to host the event, “but they’re not going to say this isn’t a P.G.A. course.”One thing that stands out is the P.G.A. of America’s having embraced Pete and Alice Dye, among the 20th century’s most important golf architects, whose courses illicit strong emotions. While some players enjoy them as a stern test of golf, others find that the courses seem to punish even good shots.Vijay Singh hits out of a bunker during the 2004 P.G.A. Championship at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wis.Jeff Gross/Getty ImagesWhistling Straits, a Dye-designed course in Kohler, Wis., got its first P.G.A. Championship in 2004. M.G. Orender was the president of the P.G.A. of America at the time. He said the selection might have seemed like a departure for the organization, but it was really a recognition of the historical standing of the Dyes.“Dye built courses that have stood the test of time,” Orender said of Whistling Straits and Kiawah. “He’s no different than Donald Ross, Seth Raynor or A.W. Tillinghast.” Those last three are considered among the best golden age architects, with courses that regularly host championships.The first P.G.A. Championship at a Dye course was Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind., in 1991 — won by John Daly.If there’s one other thing that drives the location of a P.G.A. Championship, it’s the desire to share the courses among the P.G.A. of America’s 41 governing areas, which represent club and teaching pros.“When we pick golf courses, because we’re the P.G.A. of America, we represent golf at every level,” Waugh said. “Each of our sections also takes enormous pride in hosting a championship.”Several of the P.G.A. Championship courses have been at clubs that hold regular tour events, but the PGA Tour — a different entity from the P.G.A. of America — sets them up. For the P.G.A. Championship, the course can be set up however Kerry Haigh, chief championships officer at the P.G.A., wants it to be.“The reason we’re going to these venues is they’re already great golf courses,” he said before the 2019 championship at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, N.Y.His job in setting up the championship is to make “minor tweaks and suggestions,” Haigh said. “We try to bring out the great features of any golf course.”Still, Waugh stressed that the connective tissues among the courses is an exciting finish. “I can’t tell you if the winning score is going to be five under or five over or 20 under,” he said about this year’s tournament. “But the course will be fair, and it will be fun, and we hope there’s a playoff at the end.” More

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    Omar Uresti’s Second Act

    The golfer is the definition of a journeyman, playing off and on for decades. This is his fifth time playing the P.G.A. Championship.Omar Uresti, 52, is 5 feet 6 inches tall with a slight belly and signature sideburns. Last month, he punched his ticket to this year’s P.G.A. Championship at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina by winning the P.G.A. Professional Championship. Uresti beat a field of 312 of the best club pros, teaching pros and life members in the P.G.A. of America — some half his age — to be one of 20 non-Tour pros to gain entry to the major.Call it his second act. As a touring pro for 20 years, Uresti was the definition of a journeyman. He never won a PGA Tour event, but he won enough money to stick around.“When I was on Tour in the ’90s and early 2000s, I never qualified for the P.G.A. Championship,” Uresti said. “I played in six U.S. Opens, but I never qualified for any other majors.”This week marks his fifth P.G.A. Championship. At the 2017 event he had his best showing. While he finished 21 shots behind Justin Thomas, who won that year, he beat Jim Furyk and Padraig Harrington — both major champions — and young stars like Matthew Fitzpatrick and Xander Schauffele.Uresti’s days of elite competition seemed over in 2012. In his mid-40s, he no longer had playing privileges on the PGA Tour, and he was too young for the P.G.A. Tour Champions senior circuit. “I went into a little bit of a depression,” he said. “I didn’t play that much golf. I put on 20 pounds.”Omar Uresti during a practice round at the 2018 P.G.A. Championship. His best showing came in 2017, when he finished 21 shots back.Brynn Anderson/Associated PressHe called a friend in the P.G.A.’s Texas office and learned he could reclassify himself as a P.G.A. Life Member. In doing that, he could enter local tournaments. “It saved me, to be able to keep competing,” he said.His success has not been without controversy. Some club pros complain that he doesn’t have the work responsibilities, like running tournaments and giving lessons, that they do. But Uresti shakes it off.The following interview has been edited and condensed.How did you beat a field of young club pros?I worked really hard for a few weeks to get my swing a little better. I’d gotten really out of whack over the past four years. So I watched some old footage from Bay Hill in 1997, when I was leading going into the last day, and I saw how good my swing was. [Phil Mickelson shot seven under par in the final round to win- the Bay Hill Invitational.]How do you hang in there with the long hitters?At the 2017 P.G.A. Championship, I got paired with Rory McIlroy on Saturday. I average about 275 yards off the tee. Rory was hitting it 60 to 80 yards by me, cutting corners. On one hole, it was 285 to a fairway bunker. I barely got to it and had 220 yards to the green. Rory flew it over the bunker and had 100 yards left. But we both made par. That’s when I came up with my mantra: I’m going to straight them to death. I’m going to hit the fairway and hit the green and give myself some chances.What are your plans for Kiawah?I’ve never played it. I’m not sure what to do. It’s tight and windy.What’s your day-to-day life like in Texas?I grew up here at the Onion Creek Club in Austin, Texas. My dad worked three jobs at the time so we could become members and move out here. We joined in 1975 and moved here in 1976, when I was 7. My mom is 83. She lives with me. We take care of each other. When I’m in town, I get to see my kids. Omar Jr. is 16. My daughter, Izzie, is 14.Why do you get so much criticism from other P.G.A. members?I’m not affiliated with a club like they are. But I’m in talks with [Austin courses] Butler Park Pitch and Putt and Lions Municipal Golf Course. I’m talking to them about helping out and making some clinics for kids.What does it take for a pro who is not grinding it out week after week to play at the highest level?It takes a good frame of mind. I try to get out there every day and put in a couple of hours to keep working on my game. More

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    Ready or Not, Hideki Matsuyama Is Now a National Hero in Japan

    By winning the Masters, the publicity-shy golfer will face a news media spotlight that trails every move of Japanese athletes abroad.TOKYO — Hideki Matsuyama has never been a fan of the spotlight. Even as he rose to become Japan’s most successful male golfer, he did his best to avoid the attention lavished on the every move of other Japanese athletes who have shined on the global stage.But with his win on Sunday at the Masters in Augusta, Ga., the glare will now be inescapable. His victory, the first by a Japanese man in one of golf’s major championships, is the fulfillment of a long-held ambition for the country, and it guarantees that he will be feted as a national hero, with the adoration and scrutiny that follows.Japan is a nation of avid golfers, and the game’s status as the sport of choice for the Western business and political elite has given it a special resonance. Success in sports has long been a critical gauge of the country’s global standing, with the United States and Europe often the standard by which Japan measures itself.“We have always dreamed of winning the Masters,” said Andy Yamanaka, secretary-general of the Japan Golf Association. “It’s a very moving moment for all of us. I think a lot of people cried when he finished.”Those tears reflect, in part, an island nation that sees itself as smaller and less powerful than other major countries, even though it is the world’s third-largest economy. That means athletes who represent it globally are often burdened with expectations and pressures that transcend the field of play.The country’s news media has followed the exploits of its athletes abroad with an intensity that some have found unnerving. When the baseball star Ichiro Suzuki joined the Seattle Mariners, Japanese news organizations set up bureaus in the city devoted exclusively to covering him. Television stations here broadcast seemingly obscure major league games just in case a Japanese player appears. Even modest scoring performances by a Japanese N.B.A. player can trigger headlines.Golf is no exception. Even during low-stakes tournaments, a gaggle of Japanese reporters often trail Matsuyama, 29, a degree of attention that the media-shy golfer seems to have found overwhelming.At Augusta, the pressure — at least from the news media — was blessedly low. Covid-19 restrictions had kept attendance by journalists to a minimum, and Japan’s press turned out in small numbers. After finishing Saturday’s third round with a four-stroke lead, Matsuyama admitted to reporters that “with fewer media, it’s been a lot less stressful for me.” The pressure is on for Matsuyama to win a gold medal in golf for Japan at the Tokyo Olympics.Doug Mills/The New York TimesHis victory was a major breakthrough for a country that has the world’s second-largest number of golf players and courses. The game is a ubiquitous presence throughout the nation, with the tall green nets of driving ranges marking the skyline of virtually every suburb. In 2019, the P.G.A. added its first official tournament in Japan.In the century since the game was introduced to Japan by foreign merchants, the country has produced a number of top-flight players, like Masashi Ozaki and Isao Aoki. But until now, only two had won major tournaments, both women: Hisako Higuchi at the 1977 L.P.G.A. Championship and Hinako Shibuno at the 2019 Women’s British Open.Earlier this month, another Japanese woman, Tsubasa Kajitani, won the second ever amateur women’s competition at Augusta National.Matsuyama’s Masters victory was the crowning achievement of a journey that began at the age of 4 in his hometown, Matsuyama — no relation — on Japan’s southern island of Shikoku. His father, an amateur golfer who now runs a practice range, introduced him to the game.He excelled at the sport as a teenager, and by 2011, he was the highest-placed amateur at the Masters. By 2017, he had won six PGA events and was ranked No. 2 in the world, the highest ever for a Japanese male golfer.In recent years, however, he seemed to have hit a slump, haunted by an uneven short game and a tendency to buckle under pressure, squandering commanding leads on the back nine’s putting greens.Through it all, Matsuyama has led a private existence focused on golf, while other athletes have racked up media appearances and corporate endorsements. He has earned praise for a work ethic that has sometimes led him to cap off a major tournament appearance with hours of work on his swing.He seems to have no hobbies or any interest in acquiring them. In 2017, he surprised the news media when he announced that his wife had given birth to the couple’s first child. Few even knew that he was married. No one had ever asked, he explained. When Donald J. Trump — a devotee of the game who was fond of conducting presidential business on the links — visited Japan in 2017, the prime minister at the time, Shinzo Abe, recruited Matsuyama for some golf diplomacy. The threesome did not keep score, and Matsuyama — true to his nature — had little to say about the experience.With his victory at Augusta, the expectations on Matsuyama will increase dramatically. Media attention is likely to reach a fever pitch in the coming weeks, and endorsement offers will flood in.Although golf has dipped in popularity in Japan in recent years, sports analysts are already speculating that Matsuyama’s win could help fuel a resurgence in the game, which has had renewed interest as a pandemic-friendly sport that makes it easy to maintain a healthy social distance. The Tokyo Olympics this summer will also focus attention on the game.Matsuyama chatted with Dustin Johnson, left, the 2020 Masters champion, after receiving his green jacket for the victory.Doug Mills/The New York TimesMunehiko Harada, president of Osaka University of Sport and Health Sciences and an expert on sports marketing, said he hoped that Matsuyama would use his victory to engage in more golf diplomacy, and that it would ameliorate the anti-Asian rhetoric and violence that have flared during the pandemic.“It would be great if the victory of Mr. Matsuyama would ease negative feelings toward Asians in the United States and create a kind of a momentum to respect each other,” he said, adding that he hoped President Biden would invite the golfer to the White House before a scheduled meeting with the Japanese prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, this week.In remarks to the news media, Suga praised Matsuyama’s performance, saying it “gave courage to and deeply moved people throughout Japan.”The pressure is already on for Matsuyama to notch another victory for the nation.“I don’t know his next goal, maybe win another major or achieve a grand slam, but for the Japan Golf Association, getting a gold medal at the Olympics would be wonderful news,” Yamanaka, the association’s secretary-general, said.News reports have speculated that Matsuyama will be drafted to light the Olympic caldron at the Games’ opening ceremony in July.Asked about the possibility at a news conference following his victory, Matsuyama demurred. Before he could commit to anything, he said, he would have to check his schedule.Hisako Ueno contributed reporting. More

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    Trump Golf Club Loses 2022 P.G.A. Championship

    #masthead-section-label, #masthead-bar-one { display: none }The Presidential TransitionliveLatest UpdatesHouse Moves to Remove TrumpHow Impeachment Might WorkBiden Focuses on CrisesCabinet PicksAdvertisementContinue reading the main storySupported byContinue reading the main storyTrump Golf Club Loses 2022 P.G.A. ChampionshipThe golf major had been scheduled to be played at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., in May 2022.“It has become clear that conducting the P.G.A. Championship at Trump Bedminster would be detrimental to the P.G.A. of America brand, and would put at risk the P.G.A.’s ability to deliver our many programs, and sustain the longevity of our mission,” Jim Richerson, the P.G.A. of America president, said in a video statement.Credit…Seth Wenig/Associated PressKevin Draper and Published More