1987 Bay Hill Classic: Don Pooley’s $1 Million Dollar swing
On this day, During the final round of the 1987 Bay Hill Classic, Don Pooley aced the 17th hole to win $1 million dollars. Pooley kept half of the million, while the other $500,000 went to the new Arnold Palmer hospital, a project under construction by the Orlando Regional Medical Center Foundation. It was a great week for charity…the winner of the event, Payne Stewart, donated all of his $108,000 1st place check to a local hospital.
“I thought, when I hit it, it was right where I wanted, and I thought, This is going to be fun to see how close it gets…. Then I heard it hit the pin and everybody started screaming. It was really exciting. I never dreamed it would go in. I’m still smiling. Every time I think about it, I can’t stop smiling, and that was over a week ago. It was great for everybody, certainly for me.”
-Don Pooley after the elation of the hole in one
This was Pooley’s third hole-in-one and his first in 12 years on the PGA Tour. From that point on, Pooley would receive $2,000 a month for the next 20 years. ” A nice pension plan if you can call it that” quipped Pooley. That`s comforting for a 12-year journeyman who has won just one tournament in his career at that point.( 1980 B.C. Open) Just a couple months later, Pooley would win for the second and final time on the PGA Tour at Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament.