Jim Barnes, the 1st to win the PGA…
On this date, 101 years ago Jim Barnes took home the honors of Professional Golfers Association champion. He became the first man to win the PGA Championship defeating Jock Hutchinson 1 up on the final green by sinking a 4 foot putt. He defeated Willie McFarlane in the semifinals while Hutchinson bested Walter Hagen.
With that Barnes also received the newly named hardware named the Wanamaker trophy. Barnes also took home a gold diamond studded medal donated by Wanamaker along with $500. The next two years the PGA Championship would be obsolete due to World War I. It would resume in 1919 when Jim Barnes would retain his title by defeating Fred McLeod 6 & 5.
The Wanamaker Trophy
In February 1916 the Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA) was established in New York City. One month earlier, a wealthy department store owner (now Macy’s) Rodman Wanamaker hosted a luncheon with the leading golf professionals of the day at the Wykagyl Country Club in nearby New Rochelle. The attendee’s prepared and discussed of what we now know as the P.G.A. and the PGA Championship.
The first PGA Championship was held in October 1916 at Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, New York. The winner, Jim Barnes, received $500 and a diamond-studded gold medal donated by Rodman Wanamaker. The 2016 winner, Jimmy Walker, earned $1.8 million. The champion is also awarded a replica of the Wanamaker Trophy, which was also donated by Wanamaker, to keep for one year, and a smaller-sized keeper replica Wanamaker Trophy.
Siwanoy Country Club
Siwanoy Country Club is in Bronxville, New York and was selected to be the first host of the PGA Championship. It opened in June of 1901 and was designed by renowned golf course architect Donald Ross. So as far as major championship golf courses go…this one was fairly new. In 1912 Siwanoy was still a 9 hole course. It was until the next year that an increase of membership and popularity of golf that it was extended to a full 18 hole course.
Josh Morris is the Editor of Golf History Today. A proud USGA Volunteer and golf enthusiast. In his free time he enjoys being a weekend caddie as well as playing as much as he can.