If you love golf, you have probably heard of the PGA. If it doesn’t ring a bell, keep reading.
In this article, we will shine a spotlight on the PGA Championship. The U.S. PGA Championship is one of the four major championships in professional golf.
The Four Major Championships in Golf
These four men’s major golf championships are colloquially referred to as “the majors”. They represent the height of prestige in professional golf.
The four majors, including the PGA championship, are:
1. The PGA championship – hosted by the Professional Golfers’ Association of America.
2. The Masters Tournament – hosted by and played at Augusta National Golf Club in the state of Georgia in the U.S.
3. The U.S. Open – hosted by the United States Golf Association (USGA).
4. The Open Championship – hosted by the R&A, played at one of ten locations in the UK.
Elite players from across the globe participate in these four major tournaments. They build their reputations and prestige based on how many major championship victories they accumulate (also relevant is the variety of their major championship victories).
But for now, let us focus on the PGA championship.
The PGA Championship
The PGA Championship is an annual tournament hosted by the Professional Golfers’ Association of America. Among the four major championships, it takes place as the golf season’s final major, being played in the middle of August, third week, before the Labor Day weekend.
It is also an official money event for players taking part in the PGA Tour, European tour, or Japan Golf Tour, with a purse of $10 million ever since its 97th edition held in 2015.
Golfers that win the PGA Championship improve their prestige, attaining privileges that lead to an increase in career security. Champions of the tournament automatically get invited to participate in the other three majors for the next five years.
They also become eligible for PGA championship for life. In addition, they are given membership on the PGA Tour for the next five seasons, and on the European Tour for the next seven seasons.
Professional Golfers’ Association of America
The PGA of America, which conducts the PGA Championship, is a large sporting organization of golf professionals, both men and women, about 29,000 of them. It was established in 1916, with headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
The objective of the organization is to establish as well as elevate the standards of professional golf, while growing the interest and participation of the public in the sport.
The Professional Golfers’ Association of America organizes several tournaments, among them the PGA Championship (since 1946), the Senior PGA Championship (since 1973), the Women’s PGA Championship (since 2015), the PGA Professional National Championship (since 1968), the Ryder Cup, and the PGA Cup.
History of the PGA
In 1916, department store magnate Rodman Wanamaker invited several golf professionals and leading amateurs of the sport for lunch at the Taplow Club in the Martinique Hotel on Broadway and West 32nd Street, New York City.
It was his belief that if golf professionals came together and formed an association, golf equipment sales would be considerably enhanced.
That meeting was held on January 17th. On April 10th, the organization known as the PGA of America was founded in New York City, having 35 charter members. Later that year, in October, the first PGA Championship was held at Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, New York.
The winner of this inaugural PGA Championship was Jim Barnes, who received a prize of $500 and a diamond-studded gold medal donated by the magnate Rodman Wanamaker. Contrast this with the 2017 winner Justin Thomas who won $1.89 million.
The champion also receives a replica of the Wanamaker Trophy (donated by Rodman Wanamaker) to keep for a year, and a smaller-sized keeper replica Wanamaker Trophy.
When and Where is it Held?
The PGA Championship mostly takes place in the Eastern half of the United States, although there are ten times during which it has taken place in the West (mind you 2017’s PGA Championship was the 99th edition of the tournament).
1998 is the last time the tournament was conducted in the Pacific Time Zone – that was at Sahalee, which is east of Seattle. The tournament was held at California most recently in 1995 at the Riviera.
The 2017 PGA Championship was held between August 10th and 13th at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The 2018 PGA Championship, which will be the 100th edition, will take place from August 9th to 12th at the Bellerive Country Club in Town and Country, Missouri, which is a Suburb West of St. Louis. It will be the second PGA, and the third major to be held at Bellerive.
The 2018 tournament will be the last event that takes place in August. The PGA announced just before the 2017 tournament that future Championships will be moved to May, starting 2019. The 2019 tournament will be held at Bethpage Black on Long Island, and will be the first one to be played in May since 1949.
The 2019 edition will also be the first one to have an alteration in the order of the majors since 1971 (when the PGA championship took place in February so as to avoid the Florida Summer).
Previously, the slogan for the PGA Championship was “Glory’s Last Shot”. But in 2013, it was supplanted by a new one: “The Season’s Final Major”.
The main reason for the change, as suggested by the PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem is that the first one weakened the stature of all the events that came after it – for instance, the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs.
Unlike the other three majors, the PGA Championship does not explicitly grant entry to the top 50 players in the Official World Golf Ranking – but it invariably invites all of the top 100 players who are not already qualified.
As of 2010, the qualifications for taking part in the PGA Championships are as follows:
- All the former champions of the PGA Tournament.
- Players who won the last five U.S. Opens.
- Players who won the last five Masters.
- Players who won the last five Open Championships.
- The last Senior PGA Champion.
- The low 15 scorers and ties in the Previous PGA Championship.
- The 20 low scorers in the last PGA Professional National Championship.
- The 70 players leading in official money standings on the PGA Tour.
- Members of the most recent US and European Ryder Cup Teams (so long as they appear in the top 100 of the Official World Gold Ranking as of one week before the tournament starts).
- Winners of tournaments co-sponsored or approved by the PGA Tour since the previous year’s PGA Championship (without including pro-am and team competitions, but including alternate events).
- The PGA reserves the right to invite additional players who are not included in the listed categories.
- The total field has a maximum of 156 players. Any vacancies are filled by the first available player from the list of alternates (those who are below 70th place in official money standings).
The PGA Championship is one of the most prestigious tournaments in golf. And now you know why. Along with the other three major tournaments, it is what most golfers who want to earn living on tournament play set their sights on.