Tuesday PGA Championship Notebook: Will all major winners be repeaters?
By the PGA of America Media Staff
LOUISVILLE Ky. – Since the start of the Masters in 1934, only three times have the winners of any year's major championships all been repeat major champions. This year could make four.
It first happened in 1972, when Jack Nicklaus won both the Masters and U.S. Open to add to his collection of majors. Lee Trevino and Gary Player also won more majors, with victories that year at the Open Championship and PGA Championship, respectively.
Then In 1980, Nicklaus captured yet more major titles with wins at the U.S. Open and PGA Championship, while Seve Ballesteros (Masters) and Tom Watson (Open Championship) also expanded their major championship portfolio. Twenty years later, in 2000, Tiger Woods won three straight majors to reach five total, and Vijay Singh notched his second major championship, at the Masters.
This year, each of the winners of golf's major championships had previously won a major title – Bubba Watson (Masters), Martin Kaymer (U.S. Open) and Rory McIlroy (Open Championship).
PRIDE OF THE PGA: Twenty PGA Club Professionals, who earned a berth in this week's 96th PGA Championship, gathered Tuesday at Valhalla. The players earned their respective berths in the PGA Championship in June in the 47th PGA Professional National Championship in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
GOLF'S ROLE IN EMPOWERING WOMEN: University of Connecticut women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma loves the game of golf. He’s played it for 30 years, has posted one hole-in-one and owns a 7 handicap. The game, he said, also has a parallel to his Hall of Fame coaching methodology.
"I ask that my players not focus on the score, but on the game itself," Auriemma said Tuesday at Valhalla Golf Club. "If you do your job, you will look up and find that you have won. Years from now, you won't be thinking about a score or a round you played. You will be thinking about the moments. Golf is full of memories."
The architect of nine NCAA Women's Division I Championship teams and 879 career victories, Auriemma joined an executive panel discussion entitled "Words to Lead By," while addressing 60 business women from the Louisville area. Together they explored "Beyond the Green," a unique professional development experience in conjunction with the 96th PGA Championship. The event incorporated panels of national sports and business leaders, networking, and an inside-the-ropes tour of the grounds.
"I enjoy being among groups like this," said Auriemma, 60, who has been a popular motivational speaker for many years at similar business and leadership conferences. "It is a chance to meet great people. I learn as much as I can. There is a true interest level for more women to get into golf, but it comes down to time and having others to join them to play. There is no question that golf is an invaluable experience for anyone in business, and how great it is that you can learn more about someone while playing a round of golf with them."
Auriemma was joined in the opening panel discussion by Jodi Allen, vice president of North American Marketing, Procter & Gamble; and Stacy Reichert, senior vice president of Strategy & Business Development, PepsiCo Foodservice.
Moderators featured Kathy Hannan, National Managing Partner and Global Lead Partner, KPMG; Sandy Cross, PGA of America Senior Director of Diversity and Inclusion; and Kelly Tilghman, Golf Channel anchor/reporter/host.
LOUIE'S THE LONGEST: All day long, they stepped to the 10th tee, only one shot away from prodigious glory. In the end, and it was 340 yards later when his ball stopped in the fairway, Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa emerged as the winner of the PGA Championship Long Drive Competition at Valhalla Golf Club.
Reviving an event that started at the 1952 PGA Championship at Big Spring Country Club in Louisville, the PGA of America offered all players in the field the opportunity to hit one tee shot at the par-5 10th hole. The ball had to come to rest in the fairway to be eligible to win the Long Drive Competition.
Adam Scott, the 2013 Masters Champion, set the target with the very first shot on the hole, at 7:00 a.m. His 320-yard drive held up for several hours until he was passed by 2011 PGA Champion Keegan Bradley (326 yards), then moments later by Rickie Fowler (328 yards). Later, Jason Day of Australia passed all of them with a 338-yard wallop, but he too was outdone later in the afternoon by Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open Champion. PGA Club Professional Johan Kok was third (337 yards).
Oosthuizen, Day and Kok each will get a money clip inspired by the one that Jack Nicklaus received in the first of his two consecutive PGA Championship Driving Contest titles, in 1963. That year, Nicklaus, using a persimmon driver and wound golf ball, hit a winning drive of 341 yards, 17 inches.
Additionally, through PGA REACH, the foundation of the PGA of America, Oosthuizen, Day and Kok are provided charitable donations of $25,000, $15,000, and $10,000, respectively, with the funds split equally between the players' designated charity and the American Lake Veterans Golf Course. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, the American Lake Veterans Golf Course is the nation's only golf course designed specifically for the rehabilitation of wounded and disabled veterans.
"I thought it was a great addition. We all loved it. We all had fun with it," said 2005 PGA Champion Phil Mickelson, who was in the same group as Fowler and Bradley. "And we had the feedback right there to let you know how far the drive was. I thought it was terrific. I hope they keep doing it."
1. Louis Oosthuizen 340 yds.
2. Jason Day 338 yds.
3. Johan Kok 337 yds.
4. Gary Woodland 330 yds.
5. Rickie Fowler 328 yds.
6. Keegan Bradley 326 yds.
7. Danny Willett 322 yds.
8. Adam Scott 320 yds.
9. Sergio Garcia 320 yds.
10. Scott Piercy 320 yds.
2001 PGA CHAMPION TOMS WITHDRAWS: David Toms, who won the 2001 PGA Championship at The Atlanta Athletic Club, withdrew Tuesday due to a back injury. He is replaced in the field by Shawn Stefani. With Toms out, there are now 14 PGA Champions in the field.
McNABB IN DEMAND: Jokingly, PGA Club Professional David McNabb says that "major champions are lining up to play with me." On Tuesday, it was Adam Scott. Ernie Els gets his shot on Wednesday.
When heavy rains closed both the course and the range during one of the practice rounds for the 2013 U.S. Open Championship at Merion Golf Club outside Philadelphia, Merion PGA Professional Mark Sheftic contacted McNabb, PGA head professional at nearby Applebrook Golf Club.
If needed, could some players make the 10-mile drive to Applebrook to get in some need practice, Sheftic inquired? No problem, said McNabb, who would welcome a handful of players, including Scott, later that day and allow him exclusive use of a private practice area at Applebrook.
So, when McNabb was one of 20 PGA Club Professionals to earn a berth in the 2014 PGA Championship, he notified representatives of the same equipment manufacturer as Scott that he wished to play a practice round at Valhalla with the 2013 Masters Champion. And so they did Tuesday, in a practice round that started at 7:00 a.m.
"He was awesome, very generous and down to earth," McNabb said of the nine holes he played with Scott. "It was a thrill to play a few holes with such a classy individual and champion."
McNabb tees off with Els at 7:15 a.m. Wednesday, through an arrangement made by one of McNabb's members who is a high-ranking official with one of Els' corporate partners.
DID YOU KNOW:
• Kenny Perry turns 54 on Sunday
• 2005 PGA Champion Phil Mickelson has appeared in the Ryder Cup nine times, a U.S. record. Mickelson is currently 10th on the Points List, with the top 9 after this week automatically making the Team that will take on Europe next month in Scotland. Mickelson tied for eighth at the 1996 PGA Championship at Valhalla and tied for ninth when the PGA Championship returned to the club in 2000.