The PGA Championship - Through the Generations

By David Marr IiiAugust 6, 2002, 4:00 pm
Amateur golf overshadowed professional golf throughout much of the 20th century. Amateurs were educated, gentrified men who didnt need to earn a living by sweating. They made money the really old fashioned way - they inherited it.
On the other hand, golf professionals gave lessons during the warm weather, and did yard work during the harsh months. Very few made a living through competition. Most had to have a number of jobs to make ends meet. Bobby Jones epitomized the amateur golfer during the first part of the century. My grandfather epitomized the post-depression golf professional.
Times were hard. With a wife and four children, Dave Marr, Sr., worked countless jobs when the golf season slowed down in Beaumont and Houston. My grandmother made beds at a Howard Johnsons, and the kids caddied to help out.
Actually, that would be my father. His brothers and sister were too young. Hed contribute a portion of the loose change he could scare up carrying bags bigger than he was. He would also get a chance to work on his game around the caddy yard.
At age 14, he lost his father. Now the family was in real trouble. Dad could make decent money caddying, but his mother was now working two jobs, and the two younger kids had to move away and live with relatives. The burden was almost too much for Grace Marr to bear, but she had no choice.
Dad went to college at 16 and played golf at Rice Institute (now Rice University) and the University of Houston for one year each. The financial strain was too much. He left to follow his fathers footsteps and become a PGA professional. With his card he could find a job that would pay enough to help the family make ends meet.
By the time he got a head professional position, his game had matured significantly and he was an accomplished competitor. Back at the club he was still prohibited from joining members in the bar for a post-round drink. Some of that golf pro/yard man prejudice carried over well into the '50s and '60s, and dad carried bitterness about that treatment longer than he should have.
Around this time, competitive professional golf was becoming a bigger business. Walter Hagen and Gene Sarazen were Jones professional counterparts in the 1920s. The '40s and '50s saw Hogan, Nelson and Snead focus the limelight on the men who made a living in the game, yet most still needed a club pro job to make sure bills got paid.
That all seemed to change as my father was trying to decide which career path to choose. A dashing Pennsylvanian was taking the game by storm, a man whose father was also a PGA professional. Arnold Palmer and my dad became fast friends.
In those days, the PGA Championship was equally as important to the players as the British Open Championship or the U.S. Open and probably more significant than the Masters, which was only about 20 years old. It was their championship. It was their fathers championship. It was a championship that belonged to all the men who taught and safeguarded the game, the men who sustained the club while being barred from the clubhouse.
As Palmer, and then Nicklaus, brought the game to new heights, club professionals and touring professionals had different needs within the same organization. The PGA of America created the Tournament Players Division, which ultimately split off and became the PGA Tour. Touring pros kept their PGA of America status for a variety of reasons, but ultimately the two bodies drifted apart. The PGA Tour created and promoted its own championship, The Players Championship. What the tournament lacked in tradition it made up for in opulence and spending.
Nowadays, a segment of the golf community rates the PGA Championship fourth among majors. Too many club pros, unspectacular venues and similar complaints are the refrain. While there might be some validity, I prefer to embrace the club pros. They pass the fundamentals of the game along to the next generation while keeping it enjoyable for us as well. Whose knowledge of the game, and its rules and etiquette hasnt been touched by a PGA professional?
I like looking at that huge loving cup trophy with all the great names etched on it. How proud must my father have been to have put his on his fathers trophy! Names are also noticeable by their absence. Its the only major in which Bobby Jones never competed. I watched through the '70s as an aging Arnold Palmer tried to complete the career slam at so many PGAs. How frustrated must he have been that he was unable to claim his fathers trophy. A PGA Championship will always be the singular hole in Arnolds and Byron Nelsons resumes.
The PGA also marks the winding down of the golf season. Its the last major of the year. Tour pros will soon trade in dreams of making history for lighthearted and lucrative competition during the 'silly season.' Kids will soon trade lighthearted competition for their history studies. Theyll swap their clubs for notebooks and backpacks. The PGA pros will again oversee this championship then, after their pupils head back to class, theyll get continue with the business of being modern day professionals. No yard work in the winter months, just seminars and conventions, preparing the shop for spring.
The PGA Championship has evolved, and so has the PGA professional.
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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

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Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.