Leo Diegel won his 2nd consecutive PGA Championship, 87 years ago…
On this day, Leo Diegel defeated Johnny Farrell 6 & 4 to with the 1929 PGA Championship. It was Diegel’s second consecutive PGA Championship; he would never win any other majors. Eight times he finished the top 10 of the US Open or The Open, the only two strokeplay Majors during most of his career. The PGA Championship was where Diegel chose to shine; in stroke play.
Diegel is an interesting study because difficulty of players he had to beat to eventually win his two titles. The PGA Championship in the 1920’s was dominated by American’s Walter Hagen & Gene Sarazen. Between the couple they won the event 8 times. Sarazen had won it in the years 1922, 1923, & 1933. Hagen was a master in the event who won it in 1921, then four years in a row in 1924, 1925, 1926, and 1927. Prior to his loss to Diegel in the semifinals, the five-time champion Hagen was 35–2 (.946) in match play at the PGA Championship in the 1920s, losing only to Sarazen in 38 holes in the 1923 finals, and Diegel 2 & 1 in the 1928 quarterfinals.
The challenger: Johnny Farrell
Another test for Diegel was Johnny Farrell, who easily had the best years of his career between 1927-1929. Farrell was voted the 1927 and 1928 Best Golf Professional in the United States, after a winning streak of six consecutive tournaments. During this time he had won the 1928 U.S. Open at Olympia Fields for his only major. He then took two more leaps at major titles finish runner up in both 1929 Open Championship & PGA Championship