Five things to know: PGA Championship

Originally Published: August 11, 2009
ESPN Research

Need a primer to get ready for the year's final major? ESPN's crack research staff pulled together these nuggets to help every golf fan get ready for the 91st PGA Championship.

Major bagel in 2009 for Tiger?
1. Tiger Woods is seeking his 15th professional major and fifth PGA Championship. He's trying to become the third man to win five PGA Championships, joining Walter Hagen and Jack Nicklaus. Woods won this event in 2006 and 2007, but didn't compete in 2008 after undergoing knee surgery. He finished second to Rich Beem when Hazeltine National hosted the 2002 PGA Championship.

Woods has been shut out in the first three majors of 2009; he tied for sixth at both the Masters and the U.S. Open and missed the cut at the British Open. Since 1997, his first full season as a professional, Woods has been shut out just three times in the majors (1998, 2003 and 2004). This event marks Woods' 50th career major as a professional.

2. Hazeltine National: Long and strong
Hazeltine National, host of the 91st PGA Championship, will play as a 7,674 yard, par-72 layout. It will be the longest course in major championship history.

Hazeltine National will play 319 yards longer than it did for the 2002 PGA Championship, 525 yards longer than it did for the 1991 U.S. Open and 523 yards longer than it did for the 1970 U.S. Open. The course has a four-hole stretch on its back nine that includes the longest par-3, par-4 and par-5 in PGA Championship history. The par-4 12th is 518 yards, the par-3 13th is 248 yards and the par-5 15th is 642 yards.

3. Lefty back in action
Phil Mickelson is seeking his fourth professional major and second PGA Championship. Mickelson returned to the PGA Tour last week at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he tied for 58th.

Mickelson had not played since the U.S. Open in June to be with his wife and mother as both battle breast cancer. He finished fifth in the Masters and T-2 at the U.S. Open before skipping the British Open.

4. Strength in numbers
This is the last major of 2009 and the one that always draws the strongest field. Angel Cabrera (ranked 69th in the world) won the Masters, Lucas Glover (71st) won the U.S. Open and Stewart Cink (33rd) won the British Open.

It's the first time since 1999 the season's first three majors have all been won by players outside the top 10. Since the Official World Golf Rankings began in 1986, the only years in which every major was won by a player outside the top 10 were 1987 and 1998.

5. The Wanamaker Trophy
New York department store magnate Rodman Wanamaker, who was instrumental in coordinating a 1916 luncheon that evolved into the founding of the PGA of America, offered to provide the new association with cash prizes and a trophy for the inaugural PGA Championship. Wanamaker proposed that the trophy would be similar to the News of the World Award given to the winner of the PGA Championship of Great Britain.

Wanamaker's generosity resulted in $2,500 for the first PGA Championship, conducted as a match play tournament at Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, N.Y., in 1916. In addition, a silver cup and gold medal were presented to the winner, as well as a silver medal for the runner-up, and bronze medals for the winners of the qualifying rounds.

In 1928, Leo Diegel snapped Hagen's four-year winning streak, defeating "The Haig" by a 2 and 1 margin in the quarterfinals at Five Farms Country Club in Baltimore. Diegel went on to win the championship, a truly stunning sports story at that time.

Even more shocking was the fact that the Wanamaker Trophy was missing. When PGA officials asked Hagen about what had happened to the trophy since its presentation a year earlier at Cedar Crest Country Club in Dallas, the five-time PGA Champion declared it was irrevocably lost. Hagen said that he had entrusted the trophy to a taxi driver to take the precious cargo to his hotel. It never arrived.

In 1930, the Wanamaker Trophy was found by accident by a porter in Detroit cleaning the cellar of L.A. Young & Company, the firm that manufactured clubs bearing Hagen's name. The trophy was safe in an unmarked case, and today is on display for all golf enthusiasts to view at the PGA Historical Center in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

The Wanamaker Trophy continues to serve as the perpetual honor prize for the PGA Championship. The trophy weighs 27 pounds, is 28 inches high, 10 inches in diameter and measures 27 inches from handle-to-handle.

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