Champion: Hal Sutton, Shreveport, La.
Site: Riviera Country Club, Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Date: Aug. 4-7
Par: 35-36 - 71 (6,946 yards)
Field: 150 Cut at 147 (87 players advanced)
In just his second year on the PGA Tour, Hal Sutton was trying to bounce back from a final-round collapse two weeks earlier in the Anheiser-Busch Classic, where he blew a six stroke lead with a 77. In an all-out effort to regroup, Sutton called his instructor, Jimmy Ballard of Birmingham, Alabama, and had him flown to Sutton's home in Shreveport, Louisiana for three days of assistance. Ballard gave Sutton the advice he needed to release his body on the forward part of the swing.
Sutton took the advice to Riviera Country Club, and stood on the 12th tee five strokes ahead of Jack Nicklaus. Sutton said he let up at that point, and bogeyed three consecutive holes. When he reached the 15th tee, he said, "I'm not going to let this happen to me again." He sealed his first major championship by hitting a superb 5-iron to within 14 feet of the pin on the uphill, sidehill 18th green to close with an even-par 71. Sutton was able to hold off Nicklaus, whose final round 66 left him with his fourth runner-up finish in the PGA Championship. Sutton closed out the year as the tour's leading money winner and the PGA Player of the Year.
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