Immaculately groomed fairways and fast greens have inspired championship play at PGA National since its opening in 1981. The famed 1983 Ryder Cup, decades of dramatic PGA Senior Championships, and years of exciting PGA Honda Classic challenges have made PGA National the site of many of golf’s most memorable moments and famous players. Relive these when you play at PGA National, but for now, find inspiration in favorite golf history anecdotes captured below.
A DIVOT TO REMEMBER
The 25th Ryder Cup Matches were anything but a repeat of past dominion by the US. In fact, this edition — staged at The Champion course from October 14 – 16, 1983 — served as a transition to a new era of compelling drama in the sport.
With both the American and European sides in an 8-8 deadlock after two days of competition, the remaining 12 singles matches were intense and featured some of the event’s most memorable shot-making.
Spain’s Seve Ballesteros secured a halve with Fuzzy Zoeller when he struck a 240-yard 3-wood from a bunker on the 18th hole. The ball landed on the fringe of the green from where he chipped and saved par. Witnesses called the shot one of the greatest recovery performances in golf history.
Later, American Lanny Wadkins fell three down with seven to play against Spain’s Jose Maria Canizares. Wadkins trimmed the margin to one heading into the 18th hole, a par 5 dogleg-left into the wind. Wadkins was encouraged when Canizares’ approach came up short of the green. Wadkins then hit a 60-yard pitching wedge approach to within a foot of the hole for a tap-in birdie to halve the match.
So overcome with joy was U.S. Captain Jack Nicklaus that he marched to the spot where Wadkins hit his shot and bent down and kissed the ground. The US then watched as Tom Watson bogeyed the 17th hole but closed out Bernard Gallacher, who missed a 4.5-foot bogey putt, in a 2-and-1 decision.
IN THE HEAT OF THE DAY
Larry Nelson won his second PGA Championship, this under extremely humid conditions. He finished his 72-hole tour of The Champion course with an even-par 72 for a 1-under-par 287. This forced a playoff with Lanny Wadkins, the 1977 PGA Champion.
Nelson needed only a par-4 on the first extra hole to become the 15th multiple winner of the 69th PGA Championship and the season’s final major championship.
A LEGACY OF GREATNESS
PGA National has hosted some of golf’s most memorable moments, many of which happened during Senior PGA Championships.
From “The Champ’s” debut in 1982 to Doug Tewell’s historic win in 2000, these are just a few of our favorite tales and highlights from nearly two decades of Championship golf history, culled from years of unforgettable shots and spectacular victories.