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PGA Championship Bringing Back The Long Drive Contest

Details are still being finalized, but PGA of America president Ted Bishop revealed at yesterday's Churchill Downs media day for his August's PGA Championship that the long drive contest is coming back.

Then the other thing that we're going to do that's pretty cool is that it was brought to our tension just a few weeks ago that Jack Nicklaus is actually carrying a money clip from the long drive contest that he won at the 1963 PGA Championship.  So we are going to reintroduce along drive contest during the week of the PGA Championship, it's probably going to be on Wednesday, we don't know the details of how this whole thing is going to unfold, but you'll hear more about that on top of the extension of the pick the hole location that we started last year at Oak Hill.

You can read about Jack Nicklaus winning the 1963 PGA and the place the long drive holds in his heart and...pocket

The long drive has been an on-and-off part of early week PGA Championship festivities and was the predecessor of the Remax World Long Drive Championship (until it became a standalone event in 1985).

Past winners:

National Long Drive Championship

1962    George Bayer              
1963    Jack Nicklaus               341/17         Dallas (Texas) Athletic Club
1974    Evan Williams             366               Tanglewood GC, Winston-Salem, N.C.
1975    Jeff Long (Amateur), Fort Mitchell, Ky. 322-2    Butler National Golf Club

1976 - Evan Williams, 307-23         Congressional Country Club
1977 - Evan Williams, 353/24         Pebble Beach
1978 - John McComish, 330            Oakmont CC
1979 - Andy Franks, 314                Oakland Hills CC
1980 - Scott DeCandia, 295/18       Oak Hill CC
1981 - Lon Hinkle, 338/6                Atlanta Athletic Club
1982 - Andy Franks, 346/17.5        Southern Hills, Tulsa, Okla.
1983 - Terry Forcum, 307               Riviera Country Club, Pacific Palisades, Calif.
1984 – Lawrence “Wedgy” Winchester, 319/14  Shoal Creek Country Club

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Reader Comments (19)

A guy mink named "Wedgey" won the PGA long drive contest? Classic!
06.19.2014 | Unregistered Commentertlavin
Looks like there has been a distance problem for some time....hmmmm
06.19.2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarl Spachler
I wonder if it will be optional or mandatory - if the former, I'd guess alot of the big name guys take a pass. It would be cool if they made everyone take 3 swings at the range on their way to the first tee for the prize.
06.19.2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
Wow, those names bring back memories. Evan "Big Cat" Williams crushed it. McComish and Franks were decent players who couldn't quite make it on Tour while Wedgey won it by using an extra, extra long shafted club and then he swung in almost slow motion. These guys were legends for shattering clubs.
06.19.2014 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv
+1, ol Harv on the "Big Cat". Too bad they didn't have a recorded distance for Bayer. That poor balata wasn't round after he crushed it!
06.19.2014 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
What in the holy f is Jack doing carrying 50 dollar bills? That's worse than walking under a ladder or a black cat crossing your path.
06.19.2014 | Unregistered CommenterPat
. I thought the 50s were change. i've been throwing em in the little coffee cup by the register for the girls in back for years...
06.19.2014 | Unregistered Commentersmails
I'd like to put my money on Gary Woodland.
06.19.2014 | Unregistered CommenterJeremy
I think the long-drive contest won by Nicklaus was open to the PGA field only. The iteration that began 1974 it was a stand-alone event open to anyone, though held in conjunction with the PGA Championship. It was a predecessor to the Remax in the sense that the Nissan Open was a predecessor to the Northern Trust Open. Different sponsors and slightly different format but had regional qualifying, same guys competing for years, etc. It really turned a corner when Art Sellinger formed the NLDA. But it's had continuity since 1974.
06.19.2014 | Unregistered CommenterCrusher
The state junior in Texas used to do the same event. I knew their was another league after the event. Great idea and clearly significant to the players such as Nicklaus who I would bet won other money clips.
06.19.2014 | Unregistered Commenterpanco
In the early 90's the events on the Hogan Tour had 'em....Fjinxhem probably outlawed 'em, too much fun.
06.19.2014 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
+1 DTF If you've hung that tag on Finchem before I must have missed it...
06.19.2014 | Unregistered CommenterTed Ray's Pipe
Good for the PGA. Making golf fun again.
06.19.2014 | Unregistered CommenterGreenwichGolfer
GG golf has always been and still is much fun long before the PGA of A or any other PGA was born. So it's therefore impossible to make golf fun again. When exactly are you saying golf started lacking fun? Do you think golf is fun? I think you should clarify what you mean by "making golf fun again". I certainly don't rely on the PGA of A to get my golf fun bucket filled by anyone other than myself and my kids.

In summary, I would like to say golf suffers not from what ails it but from an image of what ails it. Time to re-message this game!
06.19.2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmen Coroner
@Amen Corner

The "fun" diminished when "golf" was erroneously construed as only stroke play over 18 holes during the course of a 5.5 hour time frame so you can post it to your index. Alternative formats such as 9 hole rounds, match play, fourball, foursome, stableford, system 36, blind callaway, and drive chip and putt for the kiddies need not apply.

For the life of me, I don't why people preface their description of their golf with their handicap. No one cares that you play or carry a 5, 15, or 34 index.
06.20.2014 | Unregistered CommenterDC
Wow, hadn't thought of the Big Cat in years.
06.20.2014 | Unregistered CommenterWillie
50's are the unsung heroes of monetary exchange
06.20.2014 | Unregistered CommenterD-Ron
Great - this is where the aerial game should thrive and live - in these long drive contests.

If this was only possible we may inherit golf course that thrive due to interest in the actual contest of playing the course its traps, hazards and obstacles - it would revitalise the game into one of facing and embracing the challenge that was once the combination of Nature with the touch of Man, in other words we had a game and that game was golf.

The distance or Driver Competitions allowed the showman within the player to show his macho qualities without rendering the actual game of golf boring due to the constant 'fly me' mentality of so many players. Never understood those who took up the game of golf then crapped all over it by refusing to honour its traditions or stand by the centuries old traditions that made golf the game that went worldwide in the 19th century.

As the old Driving Competitions held in the late 19th and early 20th century, I feel its a great outlet to show-off ones brute abilities, but then golf is not that sort of game, never was - golf is chess on the large scale, its about understand the routing, GCA, the designer and oneself, before evening considering if you are play against another.

Golf is not a wham bam thank you mam game, although many think it is - poor deluded losers, they miss out on so much, but then that old saying you can take a horse to water but you cannot make him drink.
nobody has to make Melvyn drink...thats obvious
06.21.2014 | Unregistered Commentersmails

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