Perry Maxwell, during the middle of the Great Depression, used only his imagination, along with shovels, mules, plows, and many strong men, to craft his masterpiece on the rolling hills of south Tulsa.
West Virginia's Slammin' Sammy Snead took charge early and went on to a dominating win in the 1945 Southwest Invitational, an event designed to raise money for the war effort. Snead finished with a 72-hole total of 277, nine shots ahead of Ben Hogan and Vic Ghezzi, who tied for second. Byron Nelson was fourth at 288. Prize money for the event was paid in War Bonds, with Snead receiving $2,000 as champion.
One of the greatest athletes of all time became the first major champion at Southern Hills when Mildred Ella "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias captured the 1946 U.S. Women's Amateur with an 11 and 9 (36-hole match play) win over Mrs. Clara Sherman. It was the second largest margin in the history of the tournament. Babe was 5-up after the first 18 holes, then capped her round with an eagle 2 on the par-4 seventh hole during the second eighteen.
Rex Baxter, a long-hitting tall slender blond from Amarillo, came to Tulsaloaded with confidence and prevailed over a field of 128 players that included 13-year-old Jack Nicklaus. Four Tulsans were in the competition including two Southern Hills caddies; Jerry Pittman and Bob Kappus. Baxter went on to the University of Houston and became an All-American.
Oklahoma born Tommy "Thunder" Bolt birdied the opening hole and never looked back in winning his first and only major championship. He was a model of consistency in firing rounds of 71,71,69,72 (283) when every other player had a round of at least 75. 18-year old Jack Nicklaus finished T41 and 28-year old Arnold Palmer finished T23. Former Southern Hills caddy, Jerry Pittman, shot 297 and tied for 17th.
Dexter Daniels, an auto dealer from Florida, defeated Col. William K. Lanman, a retired Marine aviator, 2 and 1 in the final match to claim The Frederick L. Dodd Championship Trophy. Daniels went on to win the title again in 1966. His most memorable achievement in golf, however, was to team with his son to win the National Father-Son Tournament seven times.
In the first U.S. Amateur to be decided by stroke play, 22-year old Bob Murphy held off Oklahoman Bob Dickson to win by one. Murphy played the last three holes of the final round in one under par while Dickson bogeyed the final two holes.
Dave Stockton's cool head and sure putting secured his first major championship by holding off Arnold Palmer and Bob Murphy for a two-shot victory. Paired with Palmer for the final round, Stockton holed a wedge shot on the 7th for an eagle two and a six-shot lead. Arnie battled back and cut the lead to three with one to play. Stockton, playing conservatively on the final hole, made bogey and secured the win and a big hug from his wife, Cathy.
Using his trademark low hands and quick tempo, Hubert Green prevailed over Open pressure and a death threat to win by one. When informed about the threat on the 15th tee, the USGA gave Hubert time to think about his options. He replied, "I don't need any time. Let's go." And he did and became an Open Champion.
Raymond Floyd blistered Southern Hills in the first round with nine consecutive threes and finished with a competitive course record seven-under-par 63. After posting a 68 in round three, Floyd had a record-setting three-day total of 200. His wife, Maria, provided support during the final round telling Raymond, "Quit messing around and win this thing." He did.
In the first-ever U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur, Cindy Scholefield never passed the 16th hole in six matches and defeated fellow Californian, Dr. Pat Cornett, 6 and 5 in the final match. Cindy, a talented multi-sport athlete, was the assistant golf coach at UCLA. After her victory in Tulsa, she was named to the 1988 Curtis Cup team and played professionally for a number of years.
Nick Price was at the top of his game and in total control leading wire to wire and topping Corey Pavin by six shots. He followed up his win at The Open Championship by touring Southern Hills in an amazing eleven under par 269, against a field that included all 40 of the top players in the world. Greg Norman made a run on Sunday, but Nick released the shark repellent and sealed the deal.
Billy Mayfair held steady in hostile winds to best the top 30 tour players and win by three over Corey Pavin and Steve Elkington. Mayfair grabbed the first-round lead and never looked back. Brad Bryant pulled into a tie with Mayfair through 17 holes on Saturday, but a three-shot swing on No. 18 put Billy in the lead for good.
Tom Lehman, fresh off a victory in The Open Championship, survived cold weather and dominated the field, leading by nine shots after three rounds and winning by six over Brad Faxon. His amazing scores were 66-67-64-71 to finish 12 under par. Lehman went on to win the Vardon Trophy and Player of the Year for 1996.
Turning heartache into victory, Retief Goosen rebounded from a missed putt on the 72nd hole to top Mark Brooks by two in an 18-hole playoff. But those who saw it will never forget the drama on Sunday when all three of the leaders needed three putts on the 72nd hole. While Goosen missed a short one on Sunday, his putter was on fire during the playoff on Monday. Rolling in putts and hitting crisp irons propelled him to a five-shot lead with eight to play. Playing conservatively from that point, Retief prevailed and won the first of his two U.S. Open Championships.
Tiger Woods fired a major championship record-tying 63 in round two and captured his 13th major rolling to a two-shot victory over Woody Austin. Tiger came to the first tee on Sunday in his familiar red shirt with a 12-0 winning streak when leading going into the final round of a major. Four or so hours later it was 13-0. While Austin made a late run, Tiger made a crucial birdie on 15 to help secure the win.
Byeong-Hun "Ben" An became the first Korean and youngest ever champion by winning the 109th U.S. Amateur Championship. He won four closely contested matches before downing Ben Martin, 7 and 5, in the final 36-hole match. Others in the field included Ricky Fowler and Jordon Spieth.
May 25-30, 2021Major Championship golf returns to Tulsa as the 2021 Senior PGA Championship takes on the restored Championship Course of Southern Hills Country Club.
May 16-22, 2022.