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Keegan Bradley hits from the fairway on the 18th hole during a practice round for the PGA Championship golf tournament at Valhalla Golf Club on Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014, in Louisville, Ky. The tournament is set to begin on Thursday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Golf: PGA Championships that end with a par 5
First Published Aug 06 2014 10:25 am • Last Updated Aug 06 2014 11:24 pm

Lousville, Ky. • The typical closing hole for major championships is a long, challenging par 4 that makes it difficult for someone to protect his lead with par.

The most exciting closing holes are the par 5s.

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It’s rare to have two majors in one year that end with a par 5 — Pebble Beach and Valhalla in 2000, for example — and even rarer to have back-to-back majors end with a par 5. Royal Liverpool is the only links course on the Open rotation that ends in a par 5.

There wasn’t much exciting at Hoylake the last two times because Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy had the tournament in hand.

Valhalla is a different. It was the decisive hole in the last two PGA Championships here, both times in a playoff. In fact, just about every time the PGA Championship is held on a course that ends with a par 5, that becomes the decisive hole.

Here are five of them:

5. SIWANOY

The inaugural PGA Championship was held in 1916 at Siwanoy Country Club in New York, and it turned into a dandy championship match between Jim Barnes and Jock Hutchison that was decided on the last hole.

Hutchison led most of the 36-hole match, but he missed a 5-footer on the 35th hole to leave it tied with the par-5 18th remaining.

Both hit their second shots just short of the green and pitched up to about 5 feet away, so close that an official was called out to measure the distance to see who was away. Hutchison was about an inch farther away and missed another 5-footer. Barnes knocked in his putt and won his first PGA Championship.


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He never gets much credit as the first repeat winner of the PGA, mainly because the championship was not held again until 1919 because of World War I.

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4. PGA NATIONAL

The PGA Championship first went to its Florida headquarters in 1971 when it was held in February, making it the first major of the year. Jack Nicklaus won wire-to-wire, closing with a 73 for a two-shot win.

It was far more dramatic in 1987 when the PGA was held in the heat of August.

Larry Nelson and Lanny Wadkins finished at 1-under 287, neither making birdie on the par-5 closing hole with a chance to win. Nelson won in a sudden-death playoff, though that took place at No. 10.

Overlooked at this PGA was the first blown chance by Scott Hoch. He was well off ahead of the final group and had an 8-foot birdie putt for a 67 — no one shot better than 69 the last day — that surely would have given him his first major. Hoch missed the 8-foot birdie putt — and then missed from 3 feet for a bogey that ultimately left him one shot out of the playoff.

Two years later, Hoch would miss a more famous 3-foot birdie putt at the Masters against Nick Faldo.

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3. PEBBLE BEACH

The 1977 PGA Championship was held at Pebble Beach for the only time, just five years after Pebble hosted its first U.S. Open. Gene Litter, out of golf for six weeks because of a back injury, returned at the PGA and appeared to be headed to an easy victory until a collapse on the back nine when he lost a four-shot lead.

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