1950-1959 PGA Championships
The 1950s was a challenging decade, with the passing of the Hagen, Sarazen, Snead and Hogan eras. After Snead’s 1951 triumph, 19 different Champions were crowned between 1952 and 1970.
In 1952, Jim Turnesa ended a 26-year-old family jinx by beating Chick Harbert, 1-up, to win the PGA Championship. Turnesa was a member of a family with seven golfing brothers, four having been runners-up in major championships.
With Lionel Hebert’s 3-and-1 victory over Dow Finsterwald in 1957, a chapter in PGA Championship history was closed. Discussion to change the format began in 1952 when PGA President Horton Smith released a plan that called for a combination of medal play and match play. In that plan, the original field would compete in a 72-hole stroke-play tournament, and the low seven qualifiers plus the defending champion would qualify for match play. The plan was never carried out.
Finsterwald won the inaugural stroke-play Championship that was televised to millions, firing a 3-under-par 67 the first day and sharing the 36-hole lead with Jay Hebert at 139. Snead grabbed the 54-hole lead with 207, but with a final-round front nine of 31, Finsterwald finished with a 67 and 276 total, and a two-stroke victory over Billy Casper.
The following year, Bob Rosburg recorded a final-round 66 at windswept Minneapolis (Minn.) Golf Club, to finish a stroke ahead of Jerry Barber and Doug Sanders.