TERRE HAUTE — With the last major golf tournament of 2006 now history, a look at some PGA Champions of the past would seem appropriate.
It was this writer’s great good fortune to cover his first and most memorable PGA Championship for the Tribune-Star in 1991, which was possibly the most sensational PGA of the game’s modern era. That was the year John Daly got into the tournament at Crooked Stick in Indianapolis from the ninth alternate position.
Golfers who make the PGA field from far back on the alternate list are about as plentiful as hen’s teeth. Daly, with his booming drives, was an immediate sensation with golf aficionados everywhere, and the fact that he repeatedly said “I want to win for the fans” only enhanced his popularity.
Long John, who has consistently fought battles with his weight, with alcohol and with marital problems remains one of professional golf’s most popular players despite the demons he has faced.
The 1992 PGA was contested at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis. Although the weather had been uncomfortably hot, when the first day of the tourney rolled around, an unbelievable cooldown occurred, cold enough for every sweatshirt in the souvenir tents to disappear in a matter of a couple of hours.
Nick Price had relinquished his spot in the PGA Championship to Daly the year before because his wife was expecting a child. It seems that fate and good fortune intervened and it was Price who claimed the ’92 championship.
The hallowed fairways of Inverness Country Club in Toledo were the site of the ’93 PGA Championship. The event is most remembered for a tie after 72 holes and the sudden-death playoff won by Paul Azinger. The title was decided when Greg Norman three-putted in overtime, allowing “The Zinger” to capture his only major.
In ’96, the PGA utilized Valhalla Country Club in Louisville, a club the PGA later would buy and put it on rotation for future PGA Championships. Mark Brooks would win this one in a sudden-death playoff with Kenny Perry.
The ’97 PGA provided the most electrifying final when Davis Love III took the Wanamaker Trophy after finishing the final hole at Winged Foot with a rainbow shining overhead. Love had dedicated the tourney to his father, who had died several years before in a plane crash.
Despite being touted as one of the best strikers of the golf ball on tour, Love has never been able to win another major crown.
Now that Tiger Woods has picked up his second PGA at Medinah and the 12th overall, he seems destined to keep closing in on Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 majors.
With golf’s four majors, The Masters, U. S. Open, British Open and The PGA Championship, now in the record books, the remainder of the 2006 season loses some of its luster.
No doubt about it, The PGA Championship rates No. 1 in my book. It always boasts the strongest field of the majors, and it’s played on traditional courses that usually have histories of their own, venues where many of golf’s major players of a bygone era have starred.
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n Kimberly Kim — or Kim Squared as she is sometimes called — lost in the finals of the National Public Links Championship this year, but then bounced back to win the U.S. Women’s Amateur at the tender age of 14. There was a time when youngsters had to be 12 before they were allowed on golf courses.
n Chad Collins of Cloverdale finished in a tie for third in a recent Nationwide tourney played in Rochester, N.Y. He pocketed a shade under $30,000 for his efforts. Chad is hoping to finish among the top 20 money winners in order to secure a PGA card for next year. Collins currently occupies the 26th position with $118,626 in prize money.
n The Spaghetti Open in Clinton has been a staple on many Valley golfers’ schedules for nearly a half century. The annual golf fest is slated for Sept. 9 and 10 at Matthews Park, a course that plays a good deal harder than it looks. Entry fee is $50.
Bart “Cheeker” Waldrop is the tournament director with assistance from his brother, “Ooch” Waldrop. Others who help make the tourney successful are Jeremy Roehm, Bill Bray and Brian Smith. Tom Bekkering, course superintendent, grooms his greens to perfection each year and Eddie Groves and Frank Jarc man the bean pot with consummate skill. The banquet will be Sept. 11 at 6:30 p.m. at the Castle. Players are invited to enter online at www.spaghettiopen.com. For further information, call Matthews Park pro shop at (765) 832-9016.
n Billy Alumbaugh III advises The Marshall (Ill.) Open was a huge success with more that 200 entries. Greg Lauritzen of Martinsville won the championship with a sterling 66. Wes Stewart of Mattoon was second carding an even par 70. Doug McDonald from Brazil tied with Jim Zebrowski and Larry Russell both Terre Hauteans.
Alumbaugh has the greens at Marshall in tip-top shape. I recall playing in this tourney with Tommy Long back in 1951 when the course featured sand greens.
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n Tip of the week — A drill can assist a player who has a chronic tendency to hang back and keep too much weight on his or her back foot. Hitting practice balls with the feet touching can help or hitting shots with the back foot off the ground may affect a cure. It pays to experiment!
Keep your head down and your shoestrings tied. We’ll be back.
Bob Arnett can be reached by mail at the Tribune-Star, P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN, 47808.
Vigo County Golf Leagues
Paitson’s Roofing Eastside Mark’s Par Three — Low gross: Sue Tipton 37. Low net: Tipton 27. Play of the day: Loeva Piepenbrink. Chip-ins: Kathy Nasser (No. 10), Lou Ann Johnson (No. 16). Birdies: Nasser (No. 10).
Elks Ladies 9-hole — Low gross: Lucy James, Mary Shake. Low net: Betty McKee. Low putts: Shake. Play of the day: Dorothy Dwyer. Chip-ins: Shake, Emma Dodson, Rita Neal, Effie Giffel.
Rea Park Wednesday Evening Ladies — Team points (Week 12): Meyer-Lanke 33, McCord-Rusk 28, Cannon-Ugo 25, Horrall-Bocard 23, Francis-Snow 22, Honselman-Arnett 21, Swalls-Bedwell 21, Padgett-Spurr 21, Newton-Atterson 21, Gosnell-Pair 19, Mann-Luttrell 18, Clements-Malone 10. Low gross: Sharon Horrall 38. Low net: Mid Rusk 32. Chip-ins: Marie Spurr (No. 4), Horrall (No. 7), Sandy Lanke (No. 9).
Hulman Links Tuesday Night Men — Low gross: Mike Schodlatz and Mike Trendleman 39. Low net: Trendleman 26. Standings: Fleschner Law Office 469, Charlie’s No. 2 466, Charlie’s No. 1 434, Tynan Equipment 431, Charlie’s No. 3 332.
Elks Ladies 18-hole — Play of the day: Shirley Underwood. Chip-in: Cathy Pusich (No. 11).
Terre Haute Savings Bank Senior Men — National Division standings: Bogey’s Family Fun Center 341, SMC 328, Bush Restaurant 318, McGuire Excavating 313, Pizza Hut 298, Paitson Bros. 276, Lough Bros. 274, T.H. Savings Bank 257. Low gross: David Shirley 39. Low net: Bill Reece 29. American Division standings: Poplar Flower Shop 367, Salt of the Earth 346, Callahan Funeral Home 345, Lee Appraisal Service 309, Spring Clean Car Wash 301, VFW No. 972 296, Gurman Container 269, Pabst Painting 260. Low gross: Jim Gormong 38. Low net: Bob Johnson 31.
Mark’s Par Three Senior Men — Low gross: Sam Shimer 37. Low net: Ed Bard 28. Longest putt: Leland Higginbotham (No. 17). Longest drive: Joe Brewer (No. 13). Closest to pin: Ken Tilford (No. 11). Standings: Midwest Gas 308, Tabco 302, Fuson Cadillac 280, Dew Drop Inn 279, Vigo Bowl 243, Old National Trust 240, Mattingly Collision 230, Don Wills Cash Register 229.
TERRE HAUTE — With the last major golf tournament of 2006 now history, a look at some PGA Champions of the past would seem appropriate.
- Rub of the Green
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