Azinger breaks through at Inverness
On August 15th, 1993 Paul Azinger won his only major championship in a sudden death playoff at the PGA Championship at Inverness Club. After shooting rounds of 69-66-69-68 for a 272 total it was good enough to match the third round leader, Greg Norman for a playoff. Azinger birdied four of the last seven holes to get into the playoff with Norman, and after many close calls in major’s it was finally his time.
“It brought tears to my eyes,” said Azinger, who had a similar reaction when he won the Memorial in June by holing a sand shot on the final hole. “It was a huge burden off of me. I felt I had somthing to prove. Today, I called myself: ‘Are you capable of doing it? Are you good enough?’ “
Of course, Azinger has also tasted disappointment and paid heavy dues in golf’s biggest events. His first chance to win a major championship came at the 1987 Open Championship, where he led with two holes to play but bogeyed them to lose to Nick Faldo. The next year at the 1988 PGA Championship at Oak Tree, Azinger was the third- round leader but finished second after Jeff Sluman’s 65. In June of 1993, ‘Zinger even tied for third at the U.S. Open. From these defeats Azinger started to matured and began to hit some clutch shots when needed. At the Memorial Tournament in also in June of 1993, he holed a sand shot on the final hole to defeat Payne Stewart.
Norman, the current 1993 Open Champion, joined Craig Wood as the only players to lose playoffs in all four major championships. The 1993 PGA Championship was unforuntatly the second time Norman finished 2nd. He was runner-up in 1986, when Bob Tway holed out from a greenside bunker at the 72nd hole for birdie. Forced to sink his chip to tie, Norman ran it ten feet (3 m) past and bogeyed.
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.