It’s often the most overlooked major of the four, but the history of the PGA Championship is worthy of its place as one of the most treasured titles in golf.
The event was actually in a match play format until 1958, where it converted the usual four-round stroke-play format we see with most golf tournaments today. And until 1955, the winner had to be ready to play 216 holes in seven days to take home the Wanamaker Trophy. That included four 36 hole matches from the round of 16 until the final pairing. Now imagine walking that in mostly-wool clothing in August. Oof.
Of the first ten PGA Championships events, Walter Hagen won five of them. He picked up his first in 1921, then four straight from 1924-27 for a modern era major record that will likely never be broken.
Jack Nicklaus is the only other man to win the event five times, and he did so in three different decades from 1963-1980. Tiger Woods could match that feat this week, but seems unlikely to repeat his wins in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2007. But his last victory was at Southern Hills, also site of the 2022 PGA Championship.
Tiger is the only golfer since 1951 to win the event more than twice. Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka could change that this week with a victory, as they’ve both have two replica Wanamaker’s at home.
Two men have won the event three times in Gene Sarazen and Sam Snead, but a total of 16 have done it twice.
And this week in Tulsa, another name will be etched in history at the 104th PGA Championship at Southern Hills. This is the fifth time the tournament has been contested on the course, and here are the previous winners at the rare private club that is inside the city limits.
1970: Dave Stockton
1982: Raymond Floyd
1994: Nick Price
2007: Tiger Woods
The course has also hosted the US Open three times, with the following winners:
1958: Tommy Bolt
1977: Hubert Green
2001: Retief Goosen