Hal Sutton wins in a MAJOR setting
On August 7th, 1983 Hal Sutton won the PGA Championship wire-to-wire to capture his only major victory of his career. Being played at the historic Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, CA , Sutton bested five time winner, Jack Nicklaus to win. He shot rounds of 65, 66, 72, 71 for a -10 under par total and the $100,000 first prize. The year 1983 marked the first time the first place prize money was six figures. Sutton himself was under scrutiny before the tournament after having a brief history of not being able to close out events.
Sutton opened up the even with a lovely 65, -6 under par to start of the event. Behind him at -5 under par was Scott Simpson & Bud Whitten. Nicklaus opened up with a 73 in the first round. Sutton poured it on some more in the second round, shooting a 66, gaining a three stroke lead. Ben Crenshaw was behind him posting a 68 & 66 for sole second place. Nicklaus was now lurking in the pack, after shooting a 73 in the opening round he came back with a 65 to get into contention.
The third round produced more mediocre scored compared to the first two rounds. Sutton shot a even par 72 while Crenshaw still lurked behind him by 2 strokes, shooting a 71. Nicklaus, who also shot a 71 was now sitting T-7 (-4), setting the scene for a famous final round charge.
In the final round, Sutton stayed on the straight an narrow shooting a careful 71, 1 under par to place him at 10 under par. Nicklaus made a testing final bid as he shot on of the low rounds of the final day with a 66. That -6 under, 66 catapulted Nicklaus from T-7 to second place..missing a playoff with Sutton by one stroke. If the Golden Bear could have won this one… it would have given him the record for the most PGA Championship wins of all time, a title he shares with the great Walter Hagen.
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.