History

1981: Larry puts a "full-Nelson" on title

Champion: Larry Nelson, Marietta, Ga.
Site: Atlanta Athletic Club, Duluth, Ga.
Date: Aug. 6-9
Purse: $401,600
Par: 35-35 - 70 (7,070 yards)
Field: 147 Cut at 147 (78 players advanced)

Living less than 30 minutes from the Atlanta Athletic Club, Larry Nelson was able to sleep each night of the 63rd PGA Championship in his own bed, taste his wife's cooking, play soccer with his two sons and return to the course to registering a pair of 66s in the second and third rounds. Those back-to-back performances built a four stroke lead over Fuzzy Zoeller and left the imposing figures of Jack Nicklaus and Jerry Pate too far behind to be a menace. After Nelson's third round, Zoeller said, "He never loses his cool. If he (Nelson) had a temper, I'd say we had a chance." Zoeller played with Nelson the final round and remained four strokes back at the finale. Nelson never missed a fairway the final round until the 14th hole. He sewed up his first major championship on the par-3, 215-yard 15th hole over a pond. Zoeller put his tee shot four feet from the pin, and Nelson was long, left and dry. Nelson pitched within five feet, saved par and assured a pleasant ride home.

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