1916-1919 PGA Championships
The PGA Championship was born in the mind of department store owner Rodman Wanamaker, who saw the merchandising possibilities in a professional golfers’ organization. Wanamaker invited some prominent golfers and other leading industry representatives to a luncheon at the Taplow Club in the Hotel Martinique in New York City.
On Jan. 17, 1916, a group of 35 individuals, including the legendary Walter Hagen, convened for an exploratory meeting, which resulted in the formation of The PGA of America.
During the meeting, Wanamaker hinted the newly formed organization needed an annual all-professional tournament, and offered to put up $2,500 and various trophies and medals as part of the prize fund. Wanamaker believed that the Championship should be conducted similar to the British News of the World Tournament. That championship, a 36-hole elimination match-play tournament, was the PGA Championship of Great Britain. Both the British Open and the U.S. Open were played at medal play over 72 holes.
Wanamaker’s offer was informally accepted, and seven months later, the first PGA Championship was played at Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, N.Y.
British-born professional Jim Barnes and Jock Hutchison, a native of St. Andrews, Scotland, played in the final match of the inaugural PGA Championship. Barnes emerged a 1-up victor.
The PGA Championship was put on hold for two years because of World War I. It was resumed in 1919, at the Engineers Country Club in Roslyn, N.Y. Barnes was again the Champion, turning back Fred McLeod, 6 and 5.