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Rub of the Green

August 26, 2006

Rub of the Green: PGA Championship has produced memorable champs

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.

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