History

1961: Wee Jerry was simply marvelous

Champion: Jerry Barber, Los Angeles, Calif.
Site: Olympia Fields Country Club, Olympia Fields, Ill.
Date: July 27-31
Purse: $64,800
Par: 35-35 - 70 (6,722 yards)
Field: 161 Cut at 148 (64 players advanced)

The final three holes diminutive (5-foot-3) Jerry Barber played in the 43rd PGA Championship may go down in history as the greatest exhibition of clutch putting in a major championship. At least, they are the longest known clutch putts in succession - and they earned the 45-year-old from Los Angeles a berth in an 18-hole playoff with Don January. The duo had tied at 3-under-par 277 for 72 holes, and Barber edged January by a stroke a day later, firing a 67. In the press tent following his fourth round, Barber prefaced his description by adding, "Gentlemen, the next three holes, you will not believe." His improbably journey began on the par-4, 458-yard 16th. Barber hit a 4-wood approach 20 feet from the cup and knocked it in for birdie. He followed that by topping a drive barely 100 yards on the par-4, 428-yard 17th. He hit a 4-wood 90 yards short of the green and his approach was 40 feet from the cup. He sank the putt for a par. Playing the par-4, 436-yard 18th in near darkness, he hit a 3-iron 60 feet left of the flagstick, but rapped that putt home for a birdie. Barber, who had nine one-putt greens during the memorable round, said he learned to putt as a youngster while practicing under a street light. Barber's victory made him the oldest PGA Champion until Julius Boros won in 1968 at age 48.

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