The PGA Championship is a professional golf tournament that is held each year at a selection of prestigious golf courses in the United States. It is one of the four major golf championships and winning the tournament has many financial and professional benefits for a golfer. The modern tournament is played in August each year and in 2013 the total prize money for the tournament stands at $8 million (the winner gets about $1.45 million). The modern event is a much more grand affair than the original PGA Championship, and it is actually a completely different format. Let’s take a brief look at the history of the event and find out who won the inaugural championship.
Formation of the PGA and the first Championship
The Professional Golfers Association of America was formed in New York in 1916 and it was this event that led to the establishment of this tournament. The first PGA Championship was held later the same year at the Siwanoy Country Club in New York. It was won by Englishman Jim Barnes (pictured) who was awarded $500 and a gold medal for the achievement. Barnes was a leading professional golfer of the time and won the event again in 1919. He also won the British Open (Open Championship) in 1925 and the U.S. Open in 1921. He won a total of 21 events on the PGA Tour, which is still in the top 30 of all time!
For more than 40 years the PGA Championship was a match play tournament (a different method of scoring where golfers get a point for each hole they beat their opponents score). However, the event was changed to stroke play in 1958, mostly due to demands for the television broadcasters. The first winner of the stroke play era of the tournament was Dow Finsterwald at the Llanerch Country Club in Pennsylvania.
Did you know?
Walter Hagen and Jack Nicklaus are the record holders for the most wins at the PGA Championship. They both won the title 5 times. The closest active player to this record in Tiger Woods with 4 titles.