1992 PGA Championship
Bellerive Country Club, St. Louis, Mossouri.
August 13-16, 1992
In 1992, Bellerive Country Club hosted the PGA Championship. The course was long, stretched out to 7148 yards and its Zoyzia grass fairways were lined with thick bluegrass rough up to four inches high.
The PGA Championship began under unusual weather conditions with temperatures closer to the 50's than the normal 90's.
Price began Thursday's first round with a 71, tied with Ian-Baker Finch, the 1991 British Open champion, Greg Norman and Hale Irwin, four strokes behind Gene Sauers who shot 67.
On Friday, Price was tied seventh after a 69 for a total of 140 four strokes behind leader Gene Sauers at 136.
Nick had lost two strokes early in the third round, falling back to even par on the sixth, but he stormed back by birdying the ninth, tenth, 11th and 12th. The 12th ranked amongst the most amazing birdies he had ever made; he came out of the rough with an iron that left him more than 100 feet from the hole, gave his putt a good, solid wrap, and gasped when it fell into the hole. The monstrous putt dropped him to four under. He made one more birdie, holing a 15-foot putt from the back fringe on the 17th after laying up with his second shot. Price closed in on Sauers who finished with a 70 and led with a 54-hole score of 206. Nick Price moved from sixth to a tie for second, two strokes behind with Jeff Maggert on 208 and John Cook and Jim Gallagher on 210.
On Sunday Gene Sauers managed to save par on the first two holes after missing both greens. After his shaky start, he birdied the fourth going to eight under par, and it looked like he had the championship within reach. But he three putted the fifth and on the short sixth hole, he hit his tee shot into the water. Sauers was now tied with Price who had run off seven consecutive pars and remained at five under par, one stroke behind Maggert.
Price made ten consecutive pars with his four at the tenth. Now he made a move. Taking a one-iron from the 11th tee, he drove into a fairway bunker, then played a stunning eight iron within ten feet and holed it. He was six under par now, one stroke behind Maggert. Maggert bogeyed the 12th and was tied with Price after bogeying the 15th.
Suddenly Price took control. He hit a perfect three iron 25 feet from the hole on Number 16. John Cook, just two behind Price, missed the green. He chipped his ball into the cup; a birdie two where he might have bogeyed, and now Cook had closed within a stroke of Price.
Price had watched Cooks shot carefully. As the ball ran toward the hole he saw the break. Knowing the line now, he stepped up and holed his putt matching Cooks' birdie.
Still two strokes apart, both men drove well on the par 5, 17th hole. Cook was to play his second shot first and now faced an agonizing choice. He needed a birdie at least, but his ball lay about 245 yards from the front of the green, beyond that intimidating pond and just outside Cook's comfort zone.
Cook chose to lay up short, pitched on, and made his par five by holing a six-foot putt. For a moment, though, Cook looked as if he might have closed in nonetheless.
Much closer to the hole, Price went for the green with his three wood and pulled the shot into the left greenside bunker. Since the hole had been cut to the center of the green about 80 or 85 feet from the front, Nick faced a very long bunker shot.
He took too much sand and left his ball 40 feet short of the hole, in three-putt range. The green was faster than he realized and blew his first putt 12 foot past the hole. He was shocked, now struggling save his par.
As he lined up this crucial putt, memories of the 1982 British Open flooded back. Stepping up to the ball, Price rolled it into the center of the cup and remained two strokes ahead.
Stepping to the 18th, Price gave Cook a window of hope by pulling his drive into the left rough, but he tore the ball out with a five iron to the back fringe, and when Cook pulled his approach down a bank to the left of the green, it was all over. Price parred the hole, Cook bogeyed, and Nick Price won the PGA Championship, his first Major, by three strokes.
Nick had played the last round in 70 - each round under par - and had finished with 278. Cook had shot 71, the same as Gallagher, Sauers had stumbled in with 75, and Faldo, hopelessly out of it after three rounds, had stormed to life with a closing 67, but it was far too little and too late.
1994 The Open Championship
Turnbery Hotel, Ailsa Course, Turberry, Scotland
Par 35-35 - 70; 6,957 yards
July 14-17, 1994
Nick first surfaced as a player of international importance in 1982, when he stood on the 13th tee at Royal Troon leading Watson by two strokes. Then he bogeyed the 13th, double bogeyed the 15th, and bogeyed the 17th. He shot 73 and finished one stroke behind Watson. Price was 25 years old then. Six years later a more mature golfer, he had gone into the last round at Royal Lytham & St Annes leading Seve Ballesteros by two strokes; But in a struggle that had brought back memories of the battle between Watson and Nicklaus at Turnberry, Ballesteros closed with 65, Price shot 69, and Ballesteros won his third British Open. Price was thwarted again.
He broke through by winning the 1992 PGA Championship and since then had won 8 tournaments in the United States. This brought him into direct conflict with Greg Norman and Nick Faldo to determine the No.1 Player in the world.
The British Open was immensely important to Price and when he arrived at Turnberry in 1994, he was determined to make up for poor outings in the first two Majors of the year.
Price began the tournament with a first round of 69, and added a 66 that left him at 135, two behind leader Jesper Parnevik and Brad Faxon.
On Saturday, Price climbed from five under par when the round began, to nine under after 17 holes, but he misplayed the 18th, and missed the chance to tie Faxon and Zoeller for the lead. His 67 and three round total of 202 left him tied with Tom Watson.
On Sunday Price had birdied the 12th and together with Zoeller, stood at nine under par, just two behind Parnevik. Having gone out in even par 35 with two birdies written off by a pair of bogeys, Price holed from 15 foot for par at the tenth after missing the green. A routine par at the 11th and an eight iron to 15 feet on the 12th, set up his third birdie of the day. However he missed the green on the 13th and played a nerveless pitch to four feet and saved par but then played a five iron to the 14th green that streaked across it through the gallery and ran 25 feet beyond.
Then with everything at stake, Price showed the fierce determination that had built up through years of experience. He played a wonderful running seven iron that bounced and rolled along the bare, uneven ground, hopped onto the green and pulled up no more than four feet from the cup. He holed the putt and saved not only his round but the championship as well. Price would reflect on them later claiming that the pars on the 13th and 14th were the keys to his winning.
Still, he lagged behind Parnevik who birdied 16 and 17 that took him to 12 under par. Against this backdrop Price had holed from 14 feet on the 16th for a birdie, putting him at ten under par.
He had bogeyed no 18 the previous two days and certainly couldn't count on a birdie there. So he had to make an eagle he thought, to get in a play-off.
Having watched a video of the famous Nicklaus - Watson encounter in 1977 where Nicklaus had difficulty contending with the moguls that front the 17th green, Price hit a four-iron second shot instead of a five-iron that would take his ball past those mounds and get back pin high or past the pin.
He hit it so solidly that the ball refused to cut and headed for the left edge of the green where it took a slight bounce to the right and ran to about fifty feet from the hole.
He picked a spot on the crest of a ridge between himself and the hole and ran his putt right over the spot. Knowing he had hit the spot and had the perfect speed, he got excited as he saw the putt breaking just as he had thought. Just three feet from the hole it hit a spike mark and for an instant Price thought it would knock it off line. It went in.
Running and jumping in the air, Price hugged his caddie, Squeeky Medlin. The crowd erupted and Price couldn't hear himself think. But he did know he had to control his emotions because he still had to play the 18th. When Price came back to earth he looked at the scoreboard and saw that Parnevik had bogeyed 18. So instead of being tied he had a one-shot lead.
Things had changed from Troon in 1982. He had won fifteen tournaments around the world since 1991. He knew what it took to bring a score home in a major with his win in the1992 PGA Championship at Bellerive.
All the experience he had gained over those years he put into practice. Taking a three-iron to make sure he hit the fairway, he hit it perfectly. He had 157 yards to the flag and took aim at a big "D" in the grandstand beyond the green. Going through his same routine, he flew the shot right at the "D", finishing twenty five feet right of the hole and just past pin high. Misreading the speed of his putt, it came up a couple of feet short. He took his time and holed the putt for par.
Clutching the gleaming silver claret Jug, Price said "In 1982 I had my left hand on this trophy. In 1988 I had my right hand on the trophy. Now I finally have it in both hands".
1994 PGA Championship
Southern Hills Country Club, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Par 35-35 - 70; 6,384 yards
August 11-14, 1994
Until Nick Price in 1994, no-one had played the game on such a high level since Greg Norman in 1986 and no-one since Tom Watson, in 1982, had won two of the games Major Championships in succession.
Hardened by experience and driven to excel, Price won both the British Open and PGA championship with forceful, attacking golf. He was the first since Walter Hagan in 1924 to win those championships in the same year. He won the PGA championship as few have won any of the major titles. He was overpowering, and shot 67-65-70-67-269, 11-under par over the Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Ok. He led every round and won by by six strokes.
Southern Hills bared its teeth from the start. With 151 players taking their best shots at it in under nearly perfect weather conditions, the course gave up only 14 rounds under it's par of 70 and no-one was ever lower than three under par.
Price played later in the day, when the heat reached it's worst, but it had no noticeable effect. He bogeyed the first hole and birdied the second to be at even. On the seventh, he hit a two-iron and a seven-iron to 15 feet and holed the putt for a birdie. He three putted the ninth but played flawless golf from there in. He birdied the 12th, 13th and 17th and led the first day with Colin Montgomerie on 67.
On Friday Price birdied the first hole from 20 feet. He kept playing the steadiest kind of golf through the seventh and went out in 34. He then picked up his second birdie of the day at the tenth from 15 feet. A sensational seven iron pulled up within three feet of the cup on the 12th and Price went to four under for the day and six under for the tournament. Birdies on the 13th and 16th gave Price a 65 and a comfortable five stroke lead with a total of 132. Corey Pavin, Ben Crenshaw and Jay Haas were next at 137 followed by Jose Maria Olazabal and Blain McCallister at 138.
Despite the searing heat and humidity under a blazing sun each day, the scores continued to run low. Saturday's round began with Price making nothing but pars through the opening holes. He simply could not make anything happen through the first nine holes, although he had some opportunities. Price bogeyed the 12th and birdied the 13th, bogeyed the 15th, birdied the 17th and finished with 70 for a third round total of 202, three ahead of Jay Haas, four ahead of Corey Pavin and Phil Mickelson and five ahead of Ben Crenshaw, Greg Norman and John Cook.
With Norman off to a fast start on Sunday, Price held his ground and birdied both the third and the fourth. Norman cooled off and no-one else made a serious run as Price demolished the competition.
Price ripped a three iron into the eighth and birdied from a little more than 20 feet. With a par four at the ninth, Price had played the first nine in 32 and another glorious wedge to four feet on the tenth and a birdie took him to twelve under par.
He bogeyed 11, made par at 12, birdied 13 and bogeyed 15. Price picked up his last birdie on the 16th hole, hitting a six iron to within eight feet of the hole. He was now seven ahead of Pavin and eight ahead of Mickelson.
He made his par the 17th and bogeyed the last and his 67, played under telling pressure, was at least two strokes better than any of his closest challengers could put together.
This was an immensely satisfying victory for Price. As he said, "To get my name on this trophy two out of three years, is something very special".
By winning in Tulsa he jumped to the top of the Sony Ranking. He had won 3 majors - two PGA Championships and a British Open over three years which no-one had done since Nicklaus in 1978-80, Palmer 60-62 (5) and Hogan 51-53 (5).