1944: Call it destiny

Champion: Bob Hamilton, Evansville, Ind.
Site: Manito Golf & Country Club, Spokane, Wash.
Date: Aug. 14-20
Purse: $14,500

Bob Hamilton began a PGA Championship making the qualifying cut by three strokes and proceeded to write a remarkable story of success in the first Championship played following a one-year interruption by World War II. The 28-year-old from Evansville, Indiana upset the year's leading money-winner, Harold "Jug" McSpaden, 6 and 5 in the quarterfinals. Hamilton was 5 under par for 35 holes, playing more shots from the woods than from the fairways. Hamilton then defeated George Schneiter in the semifinals, 1-up, aided by an eagle-3 on the par 5 33rd hole. In the finals, Hamilton met Byron Nelson, a veteran of three previous Championship finals. Hamilton birdied the 19th hole to grab a 1-up lead, and held the advantage throughout the remainder of the match. Hamilton almost chipped in on the par-4 36th hole. Nelson made his birdie attempt from 10 feet, and Hamilton quickly lined up for his putt and stroked it home. A dejected Nelson later told reporters, "Four times in the Championship finals and I've won only one, maybe I should give up the game." Nelson was 30 under par for the 196 holes he played that week.

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