History

1951: A family hex on Sarazen

Champion: Sam Snead, Hot Springs, Va.
Site: Oakmont Country Club, Oakmont, Pa.
Date: June 27 - July 3
Purse: $17,700
Par: 37-35 - 72
Field: 140

Few players could boast about having defeated Gene Sarazen during match play in the PGA Championship. Sarazen is the all-time match-play king of the Championship, having won 57 of 82 matches in 28 years. But the "Squire" met his match - twice - from the members of the same family. Jack Burke Sr. defeated Sarazen 8 and 7 in the first round in 1925 at Olympia Fields (Illinois) Country Club, when Jack Jr. was two years old. Twenty-six years later, Jack Jr. was a Championship contender when he faced a 49-year-old Sarazen in the second round at Oakmont (Pennsylvania) Country Club. Sarazen warmed up with a 2 and 1 morning victory over Charles Harter, but lost to Jack Jr., 5 and 3, in the afternoon. The humbled Sarazen later told reporters, "He's a fine kid and a great golfer in my opinion." Five years later, Burke would win the 1956 PGA Championship.

The Sarazen-Burke scenario was one footnote to a Championship dominated by Sam Snead. He waltzed to his third Championship with a 7 and 6 finals victory over Walter Burkemo. Snead played 202 holes in 21 under par and was 24 under par collectively on the front nine during the Championship. In the next 19 years, until Jack Nicklaus broke the streak in 1971, 19 different winners would be crowned PGA Champion.

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