January 17

This Day in History

Sports

Jan 17, 1916:

PGA is formed

On January 17, 1916, a group of golf professionals and several leading amateur golfers gather at the Taplow Club in New York City, in a meeting that will result in the founding of the Professional Golfers Association (PGA).

The lunch meeting occurred at the invitation of Rodman Wanamaker, the son of the pioneering founder of Wanamaker’s department stores (now Macy’s). A graduate of Princeton University, Wanamaker joined his father’s business in 1886. He used his considerable wealth and influence to support a number of interests, including aviation, art and sports. Believing that golf needed an official organization to promote interest in the game, which was already growing at the time, Wanamaker invited a group of players, including the celebrated Walter Hagen, and other representatives of the sport to the Taplow Club for an exploratory meeting.

The Taplow Club gathering began a series of several meetings over the next several months, and on April 10, 1916, the PGA was officially established with 35 charter members. Wanamaker proposed that the newly formed organization hold an annual tournament, and offered to donate money for a trophy and prize fund. That October, the first annual PGA Championship took place at the Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, New York. James M. Barnes defeated Jock Hutchinson in the championship match, taking home the trophy and a purse of $2,580.

In the years since 1916, the PGA has grown into one of the sporting world’s largest professional associations. Each summer, top golfers compete at a different outstanding course for one of golf’s most prestigious awards, the Wanamaker Trophy.

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