Continued from page 1

Leonard vanished quickly and closed with a 77. Woods was poised to pounce. Beem never buckled.

He hit a 5-wood into 6 feet for eagle on No. 11 to seize control. Woods put together a stunning charge with birdies on his last four holes for a 67. Instead of folding, Beem answered with a 35-foot birdie putt on the 16th, allowing him to make bogey on the final hole for a 68 and a one-shot victory.

It was the first time Woods had been runner-up in a major _ to a former car stereo salesman, no less.

“I’m still surprised at myself,” Beem said.



The PGA Championship was the only major held in 1944 because of World War II, held at Manito Golf & Country Club in Spokane, Wash. Bob Hamilton was a lightly regarded player, who had served as the pro at Fort Lewis, Wash., in the latter years of the war. His only win was at the North & South Open earlier that year.

Byron Nelson already had won four majors, including the 1940 PGA, and this was one year before he ran off 11 straight win. He easily advanced to the finals in the 1944 PGA Championship, with his closest match a 5-and-4 win in the second round.

Hamilton was a long shot, but he put up a good fight over the first 18 holes when both players shot 70. Hamilton won the first hole of the afternoon, and Nelson never led again. Nelson did square the match with a birdie on the 33rd hole, only for Hamilton to regain the lead with a birdie on the next hole. The 18th hole at Manito was about 300 yards, and Nelson came up short in thick rough. He pitched to 10 feet. Hamilton also was short, but played his chip to about 20 inches. Nelson missed, and had Hamilton putt for the win. He calmly sank the putt for his only major.



John Daly was a 25-year-old PGA Tour rookie from Arkansas, not known except for those who had witnessed his prodigious tee shots. He was the ninth alternate for the 1991 PGA Championship, but decided to drive through the night to Crooked Stick in Indiana. When he arrived, the light on his hotel phone was blinking with a message. Nick Price had withdrawn to be with his wife for the birth of his son. No other alternates were on sight. He was in.

And what a debut.

Daly opened with a 69, then really turned heads in the second round with a 67 to take the 36-hole lead. Would he fade? No chance. Price’s caddie hung around to work for Daly, and it was easy to detect the voice of Jeff “Squeaky” Medlin who said as Daly stood over tee shots, “Kill it.” Did he ever.

Daly closed with a 71 for a three-shot win over Bruce Lietzke, the start of an up-and-down career marked by suspensions, divorces, gambling debts and eventually another major championship at St. Andrews.

Story Continues →