No player has won the Senior PGA Championship more times than the legendary Sam Snead (left). (The PGA of America)
Twelve golfers have captured two or more Senior PGA Championships Since the inaugural Senior PGA Championship in 1937, 43 men have been crowned Senior PGA Champions. Twelve of those golfers have registered two or more Senior PGA Championship triumphs, led by Sam Snead's six victories. On the following pages, all 12 multiple Senior PGA Champions, from Jock Hutchison to Hale Irwin, are honored for their accomplishments.
Sam Snead (6)
1964 PGA National Golf Club, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
After bypassing the tournament in 1963, his first year of eligibility, Snead (pictured) made his initial Senior PGA Championship a memorable one. For the first time, the tournament was played at the new PGA National G.C., currently know as Ballen Isles C.C., in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Snead opened with an eagle on the first hole of the East Course and was never caught, posting a 9-under-par 279 (67-68-73-71) for his first of a record six Senior PGA Championships. John Barnum finished three strokes back of Snead in second place.
1965 Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Country Club
Snead captured his second title in a row with a 10-under-par 278, coasting to a four-stroke victory over Joe Lopez Sr. of Miami, Fla. Snead won despite pulling his 72nd hole drive out of bounds and making double-bogey. Snead's play was so dominant, third-place finisher Chick Harbert was heard to say: "We couldn't beat him on the regular tour, so how do you expect us to beat him now as a senior?"
1967 PGA National Golf Club, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Snead demonstrated his new squat-shot putting style, claiming he could see the line of the putts better by facing the hole. (The between-the-legs croquet putting method was outlawed by the USGA within a year.) Snead posted a 9-underpar 279, winning the overall title by nine shots over Bob Hamilton and 10 shots over defending Champion Freddie Haas, who finished third.
1970 PGA National Golf Club, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Inclement weather throughout the weekend couldn't prevent Sam Snead from capturing a record fourth PGA Seniors' Championship. However, it did cost the defending Champion, Tommy Bolt, who battled the flu. When the second round was delayed by rain, Bolt elected to withdraw. Snead won with a final round of 4-over-par 76 for a 2-over-par 290 total, two strokes ahead of former Champion Freddie Haas. It was the first winning score over par since Ernie Newnham's 2-over-par 146 for two rounds in 1952, at the old PGA National in Dunedin.
1972 PGA National Golf Club, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Coming from behind in the final round, Snead reclaimed the title he had surrendered to Julius Boros a year earlier, by one shot. Down at the 13th tee by three, after a double-bogey at No. 12, Snead side-saddled a 25-footer for a birdie on No. 14. He finished with four straight pars, while Boros suffered bogeys on Nos. 13 and 14. Boros finished with a bogey on No. 18, giving Snead his fifth Senior PGA Championship. Boros and Tommy Bolt tied for second.
1973 PGA National Golf Club, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
This is the one they're still talking about, and probably will for as long as the Senior PGA Championship is played. Snead was an amazing 20-under par in four days on the East Course at PGA National, with rounds of 66-66-67-69268. I thought I played pretty well, said Julius Boros, who finished in second place 15 strokes behind Snead. Boros 283 was two strokes lower than his winning total two years earlier on the same course.
Hale Irwin (4)
1996 PGA National Golf Club, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
The 50-year-old Irwin opened with a 66, the lowest score of the week, before struggling to a 74 in the second round. He bounced back to form with closing rounds of 69 and 71. In the final round, Irwin sealed his victory with a 35-foot birdie putt on the treacherous par-3 15th hole to build a five-stroke cushion. Irwin's 72-hole total of 8-under-par 280 gave him a two-stroke victory over Isao Aoki.
1997 PGA National Golf Club, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Irwin opened with a 4-under-par 68 and coasted to a 12-stroke victory and second consecutive title. It was the second-highest victory margin in Senior PGA Championship history. (Sam Snead won by 15 strokes in 1973). Dale Douglass and 1991 Champion Jack Nicklaus, Irwin's closest pursuers, each birdied the 18th hole in the final round to share second place at 286.
1998 PGA National Golf Club, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Irwin scorched the Champion Course at PGA National for 72 holes for a 13-under-par 275 total. He closed with a 2-under-par 70. Irwin finished seven strokes ahead of first-time competitor Larry Nelson and by eight over Gil Morgan. Irwin separated himself from the rest of the field in the third round when he sank a 50-foot putt from the fringe of the green for a birdie on the par-3 seventh hole. That stroke gave him a five-stroke advantage entering the final 18 holes. Irwin joined Eddie Williams as the only players to win three consecutive Senior PGA Championships, as Williams triumphs came in 1942, 45 and 46 (World War II interrupted his victory string in 1943-44).
2004 Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville, Ky.
After weather woes for more than four days, the fifth day of the 65th Senior PGA Championship turned into a scintillating battle between Hale Irwin, at 58 the most accomplished player in senior golf history, and Jay Haas, making his very first senior start at age 50. Irwin captured his fourth Senior PGA crown on the final hole, making birdie to edge Haas by a single shot.
Eddie Williams (3)
1942 Ft. Myers (Fla.) Golf and Country Club
Williams, the events runner-up the previous year to Jack Burke, posted a pair of 69s for a 6-under-par 138, six strokes better than runner-up Jock Hutchison. Five years earlier, Hutchison had captured the inaugural Senior PGA Championship.
1945 PGA National Golf Club, Dunedin, Fla.
With World War II winding down, the Senior PGA Championship resumed after not being contested in 1943 and 44. Williams retained the title he had held since his 1942 victory. Williams scored birdies on the last two holes in the final round to overcome a one-stroke advantage held by Jock Hutchison, who finished in second place.
1946 PGA National Golf Club, Dunedin, Fla.
Williams made it three Senior PGA titles in a row, again coming from behind to defeat Hutchison this time in an 18-hole playoff. In regulation play, Hutchison was one shot ahead of Williams going into the 35th hole, but he bogeyed the hole. To get into the playoff, Williams was forced to make a 10-foot putt on the last hole. In the 18-hole playoff, both players were tied after 14 holes, but Hutchison hit a shot into the water on the 15th hole, and Williams made a birdie to claim victory.
Al Watrous (3)
1950 PGA National Golf Club, Dunedin, Fla.
Watrous (bottom) was the overall winner with a 2-under-par 142 for his first of three titles in the 1950s. Bearded Bill Jellife was the runner-up, three strokes back of Watrous, who led Jellife by four strokes following the first 18 holes. Jock Hutchison finished two back of Jellife.
1951 PGA National Golf Club, Dunedin, Fla.
For the fourth time in 12 years, the Senior PGA Championship went to a playoff, and for the third time, Jock Hutchison was defeated. Though he was 68 years old, the ageless Hutchison nearly shot his age, a 3-under-par 69, in the final round to tie Al Watrous at 142. In the playoff, fatigue caught up with Hutchison on the final nine. His 37-4481 resulted in a six-stroke loss to Watrous.
1957 PGA National Golf Club, Dunedin, Fla.
With the golf course in better condition than at the previous years Senior PGA Championship and the clubhouse remodeled, Watrous returned to the winners circle by defeating Bob Stupple in an 18-hole playoff after they had tied at 210. In the playoff, Watrous recorded a 72, while Stupple posted a 75.
Gary Player (3)
1986 PGA National Golf Club, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
South Africa's Player became the second foreigner in a row to claim the title (following Australia's Peter Thomson), outdistancing Lee Elder by two with a 7-under-par 281. Though neither of the past two champions was in the field (Arnold Palmer had back spasms and Thomson was home in Australia), record crowds turned out. It was Players second victory in three senior event starts since turning 50 in November 1985.
1988 PGA National Golf Club, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Player earned his fourth major in senior golf with a final round of 2-under-par 70. Player finished three strokes ahead of defending Champion Chi Chi Rodriguez with a 4-under 284. Rodriguez and Al Geiberger had been tied for the third-round lead. Left-hander Bob Charles, a resident of PGA National, built a five-stroke lead the first day with a near-record 64 on the Champion Course.
1990 PGA National Golf Club, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
With one of the strongest fields ever assembled for the oldest professional senior event in golf, Player coasted to his third Senior PGA Championship title with a 7-under-par 281. He finished two strokes ahead of runner-up Chi Chi Rodriguez and four strokes ahead of Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino to earn the winners check. Players four rounds (74-69-65-73) were identical to those posted by 1989 Senior PGA Champion Larry Mowry.
Jock Hutchison (2)
1937 Augusta (Ga.)National Golf Club
Thanks to Bobby Jones and Alfred S. Bourne, the first Senior PGA Championship was played at Augusta National. Jones hosted the event on the Georgia course where the Masters began four years earlier. Bourne, called a sportsman and friend of the pros, contributed $1,500 for the purchase and endowment of a trophy that bears his name. Hutchison won with a three-round total of 223 (76-75-72), while George Gordon finished in second, eight shots back.
1947 PGA National Golf Club, Dunedin, Fla.
Hutchison got his revenge after finishing second the previous two years, duplicating his victory in the inaugural Senior PGA Championship 10 years earlier. Despite high winds, Hutchison fired a closing round of 1-under-par 71 for a three-stroke victory over Ben Richter. Looking for his fourth title, Eddie Williams was in the running after an opening-round 75. He fell out of contention with a final-round 80.
Gene Sarazen (2)
1954 PGA National Golf Club, Dunedin, Fla.
Returning to the Senior PGA Championships original 54-hole format of 1937, Sarazen posted a 2-under-par 214, winning by two strokes over former Champion Al Watrous and Perry Del Vecchio. Sarazen's victory was witnessed by 5,000- plus spectators during the final round.
1958 PGA National Golf Club, Dunedin, Fla.
Two more benchmarks were established that helped bring the 19th Senior PGA Championship into the major arena a $10,000 purse and 72 holes of competition, with a 36-hole cut made to the low 100 players and ties. Sarazen earned his second title with an even-par for a three-stroke victory over Charles Sheppard.
Paul Runyan (2)
1961 PGA National Golf Club, Dunedin, Fla.
Six days of beautiful weather brought out 20,000 spectators, who witnessed record scoring. After finishing second in his first two years of eligibility, Runyan (right) earned his first Senior PGA Championship with a 10-under-par 278, the lowest 72-hole total ever, to finish three shots in front of runner-up Jimmy Demaret. Buck White set a record with an opening-round 63.
1962 PGA National Golf Club, Dunedin, Fla.
For the first 22 years, the average age of the Senior PGA Champion was 53. That's how old Runyan was when he captured his second title in a row with a 10-under-par 288 (71-69-68-70). In the final Senior PGA Championship to be played at PGA National in Dunedin, Runyan shot a 10-under-par 278, matching the record he had set a year earlier.
Julius Boros (2)
1971 PGA National Golf Club, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Former two-time U.S. Open Champions Julius Boros (1952, 63) and Dr. Cary Middlecoff (1949, 56) qualified for their first Senior PGA Championship and met with far different results. Boros (top left) strolled to victory at 3-under-par 285, the only player under par. Middlecoff withdrew after an 80-79159 the first two days. Three former Senior PGA Champions finished in the top four, with Tommy Bolt earning runner-up honors, defending Champion Sam Snead finishing third and Chandler Harper fourth.
1977 Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Icy rain, numbing cold, rising winds and fog conditions greeted the 180 starters in the 38th Senior PGA Championship. Boros survived with 5-under-par 283 total for his second Senior PGA victory, two strokes lower than he had in 1971 at PGA National. Former Champion Freddie Haas Jr. three-putted the 71st hole and finished at 284.
Don January (2)
1979 Turnberry Isle Country Club, North Miami Beach, Fla.
The Senior PGA Championship jump-started the Senior PGA Tour with a $100,000 tournament just before Christmas at Turnberry Isle. This doubled the purse of the previous five years and signaled the start of what became one of the biggest success stories in the 1980s, the Senior PGA Tour. January (below right), just 26 days past his 50th birthday, led all the way with an 18-under-par 270 total on the South Course. This became the second-lowest total in Senior PGA Championship history. January finished eight shots ahead of runnerup George Bayer.
1982 PGA National Golf Club, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Played for the first time on the difficult Champion Course at the new PGA National, only one participant could match par for the distance January at 288. That was 18 strokes higher than his winning total three years earlier at Turnberry Isle. Julius Boros, another former Senior PGA Champion, was runnerup with 289.
Arnold Palmer (2)
1980 Turnberry Isle Country Club, North Miami Beach, Fla.
Palmer made his debut in the Senior PGA Championship at the age of 51, and won with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff with Paul Harney. Palmer birdied the first extra hole from seven feet to edge first-round leader Harney after they had tied at 1-over-par 289. Its the PGA Championship I never won, said Palmer. Defending Champion Don January finished third.
1984 PGA National Golf Club, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
In nearly ideal playing conditions on the Champion Course at PGA National, Palmer shot a course and tournament record 9- under-par 63. But when the weather turned horrendous overnight, with stiff winds and 40-degree temperatures, he was almost a stoke a hole higher with 79. Still, Palmer never surrendered his lead. He finished with a 6-under-par 282, two strokes better than defending Champion Don January.
Lee Trevino (2)
1992 PGA National Golf Club, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Trevino final captured his first Senior PGA Championship in dramatic fashion, knocking in par-saving putts on the final two holes to finish at 10-under-par 278, holding off by one stroke Mike Hill, whose final-round 69 was the days low effort. The 52-year-old Trevino became the 10th player to have won the PGA Championship (1974, 84) and the Senior PGA Championship.
1994 PGA National Golf Club, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Raymond Floyd stumbled on the back nine of the Champion Course at PGA National, and handed the 55th Senior PGA Championship to Trevino. Trevino watched as Floyds four-stroke lead evaporated on the final nine holes. Floyd dunked three shots into the water on two of the most demanding par-3s in senior golf. He quadruple-bogeyed the 164- yard 15th and double-bogeyed the 152-yard 17th to struggle in with a 75. Trevino's final-round 70 gave him a 72-hole total of 9-under-par 279. Trevino finished with 108 putts, second best among a field of 144 players.