PGA Championship Long Drive Competition: A brief history

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The PGA Championship Long Drive Competition is everything that many golfers envision when they go to the driving range: one big swing and a towering drive off the tee. The only difference is the drives at the Long Drive Competition travel well over 300 yards, while also staying in the fairway.

Here's a brief history of the PGA Championship's Long Drive Competition.

The original Long Drive Competition

The PGA Championship Long Drive Competition started in 1949, when Chick Harbert won with a 305-yard drive at Hermitage Country Club in Richmond, Virginia. Harbert's only major championship victory came five years later at the PGA Championship.

The Long Drive Competition rules

All players at the 2019 PGA Championship had the chance to hit one shot on Bellerive Country Club's 490-yard par-4 16th hole. Tee shots must come to rest in the fairway to be eligible to win.

The stakes

The top three finishers in the Long Drive Competition at the 100th PGA Championship earned granted charitable donations of $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000, respectively, to their designated USA-based 501(c)(3) charities of their choice.

In 2018, Bryson DeChambeau sent his money to Australia to the family of late golfer Jarrod Lyle.

The top three finishers also received a Jack Nicklaus-inspired money clip similar to the one Nicklaus received after he won the Long Drive Competition at the 1963 PGA Championship. He won with a 341-yard drive — using a persimmon driver and wound golf ball.

The longest drive ever in a PGA-sanctioned Long Drive Competition

Can you hit a 366-yard drive? Me neither.

Well, that's how far 6-foot-6 Evan "Big Cat" Williams' drive traveled at the 1974 PGA Championship at Tanglewood Golf Club in Clemmons, North Carolina, which is the record for the longest drive in a PGA of America-sanctioned Long Drive Competition.

The re-launch of the Long Drive Competition

After a 30-year hiatus, the Long Drive Competition was re-launched at the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla, where Louis Oosthuizen won with a 340-yard drive. Anirban Lahiri won with a drive of 327 yards at Whistling Straits in 2015 and Byeong Hun An won in 2016 with a 347-yard drive at Baltusrol.

The reigning Long Drive Competition winner

Bryson DeChambeau won it in 2018 with a 331-yard drive at Bellerive Country Club.