Cool it down: Red Hot Nicklaus wins 1971 PGA Championship
On this day, In 1971 Jack Nicklaus won the only PGA Championship held in February ever. What is usually the final major of the season was moved due to extremely hot conditions the previous year. A pretty very odd thing in a players head, that is to be playing two PGA Championships back-to-back. (1970 at Southern Hills CC &1971 at PGA National)
This was a move by the PGA Tour commissioner, was a precautionary one to avoid the forecasted heat. New PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan may be borrowing a few pages from the history books as he brought up a possible move for the final major of the year.
The 1970 PGA Championship was plagued by problems, mostly heat related in Oklahoma. The 1970 PGA Championship was played August 13–16 at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Dave Stockton won the first of his two PGA Championships at 279 (−1), two strokes ahead of runners-up Bob Murphy and Arnold Palmer.
The move from the 4th to the 1st major of the year and the Golden Bear winning his eleventh major championship. Nicklaus took away $40,000 for the win out of the $202,404 purse. With the win, Nicklaus became the first to complete a career Grand Slam “double” – at least two victories in each of the four professional major championships, a feat subsequently matched by only Tiger Woods. He completed his third career grand slam at the 1978 British Open.
- The 1971 PGA Championship was the first time Nicklaus won in Florida
- This was the first time the PGA Championship was the 1st major of the year. It had been moved before and played at different dates throughout its history. In the 60’s The Open Championship and PGA Championship were played back-to-back before the PGA was moved to August permanently in 1969.
- This was played on the East Course at BallenIsles Country Club, renamed in 1973 to PGA National…the current site of the Honda Classic.
- In August 1987, the PGA Championship would return to PGA National in ironically hot conditions. Winner Larry Nelson proclaimed it was “Hotter than Vietnam out there”