PGA Championship History

By Larry Anderson

The PGA Championship is one of golf's four major championships. Played during August, it is the last major of each golf season. The first PGA Championship was held in 1916 at the Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, New York, and the winner took home a $500 check. The tournament features the biggest names in golf, and winners receive more than $1 million.

An Idea is Born

The idea for the PGA Championship was conceived of during a meeting in January 1916. That day, 35 golf professionals met to discuss their ideas for building an organization that became The Professional Golfers' Association of America. Attendees decided a national golf championship should be held each year. The host of the meeting, a golfer and businessman named Rodman Wanamaker, provided the trophy for the event--the Wanamaker Cup, which still exists today--as well as the first purse, which was $2,580.

The Early Days

The first PGA Championship was held in 1916. Jim Barnes of England won the inaugural event, as well as the second championship, held at the Engineers Country Club in Roslyn Harbor, New York. There was no PGA Championship during World War I in 1917 or 1918. The first time the tournament was held outside of New York was in 1920, when it was played at the Flossmoor Country Club in Flossmoor, Illinois. The PGA Championship was a match-play event until 1958, when it changed to stroke play.

All professionals

The PGA of America, an organization made up primarily of club and teaching professionals, runs the PGA Championship. The organization created the event to provide a high-profile tournament for professional golfers, not amateurs. As a result, the vast majority of golfers who compete each year in the tournament are professionals. Leading amateurs never have been invited to participate in the PGA Championship, and the only way they can gain an invitation is by winning one of the other three major championships, which generally include more amateurs in their fields.

Winners of the PGA Championship (Match Play)

Many of the most notable names in golf have won the PGA Championship. Following is a list of the winners when the tournament was a match-play event (the event was not played in 1917 or 1918, due to World War I, or 1943, due to World War II):

1957: Lionel Hebert
1956: Jack Burke Jr.
1955: Doug Ford
1954: Chick Harbert
1953: Walter Burkemo
1952: Jim Turnesa
1951: Sam Snead
1950: Chandler Harper
1949: Sam Snead
1948: Ben Hogan
1947: Jim Ferrier
1946: Ben Hogan
1945: Byron Nelson
1944: Bob Hamilton
1942: Sam Snead
1941: Vic Ghezzi
1940: Byron Nelson
1939: Henry Picard
1938: Paul Runyan
1937: Denny Shute
1936: Denny Shute
1935: Johnny Revolta
1934: Paul Runyan
1933: Gene Sarazen
1932: Olin Dutra
1931: Tom Creavy
1930: Tommy Armour
1929: Leo Diegel
1928: Leo Diegel
1927: Walter Hagen
1926: Walter Hagen
1925: Walter Hagen
1924: Walter Hagen
1923: Gene Sarazen
1922: Gene Sarazen
1921: Walter Hagen
1920: Jock Hutchison
1919: James M. Barnes
1916: James M. Barnes

Winners of the PGA Championship (Stroke Play)

Winners during the modern, stroke-play era of the PGA Championship are:

2017: Justin Thomas
2016: Jimmy Walker
2015: Jason Day
2014: Rory McIlroy
2013: Jason Dufner
2012: Rory McIlroy
2011: Keegan Bradley
2010: Martin Kaymer
2009: Y.E. Yang
2008: Padraig Harrington
2007: Tiger Woods
2006: Tiger Woods
2005: Phil Mickelson
2004: Vijay Singh
2003: Shaun Micheel
2002: Rich Beem
2001: David Toms
2000: Tiger Woods
1999: Tiger Woods
1998: Vijay Singh
1997: Davis Love III
1996: Mark Brooks
1995: Steve Elkington
1994: Nick Price
1993: Paul Azinger
1992: Nick Price
1991: John Daly
1990: Wayne Grady
1989: Payne Stewart
1988: Jeff Sluman
1987: Larry Nelson
1986: Bob Tway
1985: Hubert Green
1984: Lee Trevino
1983: Hal Sutton
1982: Raymond Floyd
1981: Larry Nelson
1980: Jack Nicklaus
1979: David Graham
1978: John Mahaffey
1977: Lanny Wadkins
1976: Dave Stockton
1975: Jack Nicklaus
1974: Lee Trevino
1973: Jack Nicklaus
1972: Gary Player
1971: Jack Nicklaus
1970: Dave Stockton
1969: Raymond Floyd
1968: Julius Boros
1967: Don January
1966: Al Geiberger
1965: Dave Marr
1964: Bobby Nichols
1963: Jack Nicklaus
1962: Gary Player
1961: Jerry Barber
1960: Jay Hebert
1959: Bob Rosburg
1958: Dow Finsterwald

About The Author

Larry Anderson has been a freelance writer since 2000. He has covered a wide variety of topics, from golf and baseball to hunting and fishing. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, including "Fargo Forum" newspaper. Anderson holds a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from Concordia College.


Kenneth W. joined GolfLink

Clyde W.  left a review of Escanaba

Joseph Z. joined GolfLink
Dennis D. joined GolfLink
Hanh D. joined GolfLink

View Activity Feed

Video of the Day
Playing a Fairway Bunker Watch Video>>

Related Articles

Article Image Golf History: The Stymie

  The rules of golf date back centuries and have remained sur...

Article Image What is Backstopping? And is it a Major Problem?

photo courtesy USGA There has been a spate of concerns about the p...

Article Image List of Winners of the U.S. Open

  The U.S. Open is one of the most prestigious tourn...

Article Image FedEx Cup Playoffs: Changes to 2019

The FedExCup Playoffs have undergone an overhaul for the 2019 PG...

Article Image PGA Tour: When Can Professional Golfers Use Golf Carts? 

John Daly. Getty Images Golf carts are standard on most courses an...

View All Related Articles