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The PGA Championship

Tournament Info for: 1937 PGA Championship
Date: May 26 - 30, 1937
Site: Pittsburg Field Club
Champion: Denny Shute
Purse: $9,200.00
Field: 64
Cut at:
Par: 37 - 35 - 72 (00 yards)
Players Advanced: 0

Qualifying for Match Play: A 36-hole qualifying round for match play was conducted the Monday and Tuesday before the Championship. Defending PGA Champion Denny Shute was exempt and 63 players qualified. Byron Nelson was low qualifier with 139. A score of 156 qualified for match play, and 10 players at 157 had a playoff for three spots. The only notable player who didn't make it to match play was 1931 PGA Champion Tom Creavy, who withdrew after a first-round 79. The first and second rounds were 18 holes each, played in one day, with the remaining matches being played at 36 holes. Early Matches: In the first day of play, five former PGA Champions went down in defeat, with the only survivors being the defender, Shute, and Paul Runyan. In the second round. Gene Sarazen, who won his first round match against Eddie Schultz, 3 and 2, was eliminated by Jim Foulis on the final green when he left a putt that would have sent the match into overtime. Johnny Revolta also was a loser in the second round, as Harry Cooper beat him, 1-up. Both Cooper and Revolta, who had easy first-round matches, beating Ben Richter and Sal DiBuono, 3 and 2, were tied after the 13th hole, with Revolta winning the 14th with a bogey. The next two holes were halved with pars and Cooper squared the match with a birdie at 17. On the final hole, Revolta hit his second shot over the green, and when he couldn't get it down in two, Cooper won the match, 1-up, with his par. Another great comeback occurred in the second round in the match between Sam Snead and Alvin Krueger. Snead, who was 4-down with just seven holes left, won six of the seven holes, capping it off with a six-foot birdie putt on the final hole to win 2-up. The second round also featured Denny Shute beating Olin Dutra, 3 and 2. To get there Shute defeated Joe Turnesa, 2 and 1, in the first round, even though he was 2-down at the turn, while Dutra beat Clarence Doser, 3 and 2. In the third round, 1936 runner-up Jimmy Thomson found his long-hitting onslaught of no use as Ky Laffoon beat him, 4 and 3. Thomson was 2-up in the morning round, but a front side 42 in the afternoon turned the match around, and when Laffoon captured the 30th hole with a birdie 4, Thomson was 1-down. He lost the next three holes as Laffoon made two birdies and a par to close out the match on the 33rd hole. Another upset saw Harold McSpaden defeating Sam Snead, 3 and 2. Thanks to a morning round 69, McSpaden went to lunch with a 1-up lead. On the 21st hole in the afternoon, Snead hit his second shot out of bounds, which cost him another hole, and they finished the front side with McSpaden holding a 2-up lead. Snead managed to get one of the holes back when McSpaden bogeyed the 32nd hole, but McSpaden's putter came to the rescue on the next two holes, where he holed a 25-footer on the 33rd hole and then a five-footer on the 34th hole to close out the match. Of the two past champions still in the field, Paul Runyan was eliminated by Jimmy Hines, 2 and 1, in a match that saw Runyan 2-up after the morning round. The other past Champion, Denny Shute, had a more favorable outcome as he beat Ed Dudley, 3 and 2, in a match with the turning point coming on the 31st hole. Shute slammed in a 30-foot downhill putt for a birdie to win the hole. In the quarter-finals, Denny Shute rolled to a 4-and-3 victory over Jimmy Hines in a match that Shute dominated from the 9th hole on. It was the only match of the day that didn't go to the final green. Ky Laffoon outlasted Nelson in a match that saw Nelson up most of the day. Nelson's downfall occurred on the back side of the afternoon round as he lost the 28th and 29th holes to go 1-down. Nelson squared the match for the last time at the 30th hole, but at the next hole, Laffoon canned a 15-foot putt for a birdie to go 1 -up. He held on from there, dropping a 15-footer for a birdie at the final hole to win 2-up. Another match decided on the final green had Tony Manero coming from behind to defeat Harry Cooper, 1-up. Cooper had the match easily within his grasp, as he was 4-up after 27 holes, but made two bogeys and a double-bogey to lose the first three holes on the back side. On the 32nd hole, Manero squared the match with a par and took a 1-up lead on the 35th hole with a 10-footer for a birdie. Manero emerged the winner when Cooper was unable to make a birdie at the final hole. The final match of the day was the most sensational, with McSpaden beating Henry Picard, 1-up, but it took 39 holes for an outcome. McSpaden had a 3-up lead after the 28th hole, but when Picard made birdies at the 29th and 30th holes, McSpaden's lead was reduced to 1. McSpaden got one back with a birdie at the 31st hole, but gave it back with a bogey on the 33rd hole. Picard squared the match with a 20-foot birdie putt on the 34th hole, and the 35th hole was halved with pars. On the final hole, Picard had a six-footer to win the match, but missed, sending the match into overtime. The 37th hole was halved with pars, and Picard had another six-footer to win the match at the 38th hole, but missed the putt. The match ended on the 39th hole when Picard couldn't make birdie to halve the hole and the match was over. The semifinals were billed as the "battle of champions," as Shute, the reigning PGA titleholder, faced Tony Manero, U.S. Open winner. In the match, Manero won the first hole, but lost the next and was never up again. Manero managed to hang on, never permitting Shute to open more than a 2-up lead, until the end when Shute won the 33rd and 34th holes to win the match, 3 and 2. The other match between McSpaden and Ky Laffoon had McSpaden take a 3-up lead after the first 9 holes, but Laffoon, hanging tight after that, didn't lose any ground as they went into the final nine with McSpaden still just 2-up. Laffoon squared the match with birdies on the 28th and 30th holes, but with a bogey on the 33rd hole he fell 1-down. They halved the 34th holes with pars and with two holes left, McSpaden was 1 -up. On the 35th hole, McSpaden hit his second shot to within three feet of the hole to win, 2 and 1. In the finals, Shute's prospect of becoming the first repeater since Leo Diegel in 1929 looked gloomy, as McSpaden jumped out to a 3-up lead after the first five holes. But Shute found his putting stroke, one-putting nine of the next 13 holes, squaring the match after the front side and then turning things around to finish the morning round 3-up. In the early stages of the afternoon round, McSpaden was 2-under-par and won four holes to go to the back side with a 1-up lead. When McSpaden bogeyed the 28th hole, the match was square. When Shute made bogeys at the 31st and 32nd holes, McSpaden was 2-up again. Both made pars at the 33rd hole, but McSpaden bunkered his tee shot on the par-3 34th hole. He wasn't able to get it up and down for par and was only 1 -up. Then came the hole that spelled disaster for McSpaden. Both hit perfect tee shots, but when McSpaden badly pulled his second shot under a tree, he wasn't able to extract the ball and lost the hole to Shute's bogey. Going into the last hole, the match was square again for the sixth time in the day, and McSpaden got a lucky break when his tee shot hit a spectator, bouncing into the fairway instead of going into the heavy rough. McSpaden then hit a great second shot to within four feet of the hole in what looked like a sure birdie and victory, since Shute was 50 feet away with his second shot. Shute hit his first putt about three feet short of the hole, giving McSpaden a chance to win the match. He took his stance over the putt, and when several cameras started grinding away, was forced to back away from the putt. He yelled at the offenders: "Please give me the chance I've been fighting for all week." When quiet was restored among the cameras and the 7,000 spectators who were gathering around, McSpaden went back to the business of making the putt, but missed it. Shute made his putt to send the match into overtime for only the third time in its 20-year history. The first hole had played havoc on Shute all week. But this time, the hole proved to be McSpaden's nemesis, as he missed a 10-footer for par and Shute made his four-footer to win, 1-up, and become not only the fifth repeat champion, but the last to accomplish this feat.

Road to the Finals
Denny Shute beatRoundHarold Mc Spaden beat
Joe Turnesa,  2 and 1 First Round
(18 Holes)
Clarence Clark,  3 and 2
Olin Dutra,  3 and 2 Second Round
(18 Holes)
Bunny Torpey,  1-up (20)
Ed Dudley,  3 and 2 Third Round
(18 Holes)
Sam Snead,  3 and 2
Jimmy Hines,  4 and 3 Quarter Final
(36 Holes)
Henry Picard,  1-up (39)
Tony Manero,  1-up Semi Final
(36 Holes)
Ky Laffoon,  2 and 1
Denny Shute     Shute
2 and 1
Joe Turnesa    
Clarence Doser     Dutra
3 and 2
Olin Dutra    
Herman Barron     Dudley
5 and 3
Ed Dudley    
Bruce Coltart     Wilcox
2 and 1
Pat Wilcox    
Levi Lynch     Runyan
4 and 3
Paul Runyan    
Willie Goggin     Goggin
6 and 4
Sam Schneider    
Jimmy Hines     Hines
6 and 4
Clarence Owens    
Al Espinosa     Espinosa
3 and 1
Clark Morse    
Harry Cooper     Cooper
4 and 3
Ben Richter    
Sal DiBuana     Revolta
4 and 3
Johnny Revolta    
Gene Sarazen     Sarazen
3 and 2
Eddie Schultz    
Jim Foulis     Foulis
5 and 4
George Kerrigan    
Vic Ghezzi     Ghezzi
3 and 2
Mike Turnesa    
Jimmy Demaret     Parks Jr.
2 and 1
Sam Parks Jr.    
Lloyd Gullickson     Manero
2 and 1
Tony Manero    
Willie MacFarlane     MacFarlane
1up
Bud Oakley    
Leo Diegel     Nelson
2 and 1
Byron Nelson    
Joe Belfore     Wood
1up
Craig Wood    
Neil Christian     Schneider
4 and 3
Charles Schneider    
Johnny Farrell     Farrell
2up
George Schneiter    
Ky Laffoon     Laffoon
5 and 4
John Shimkonis    
Billy Burke     Burke
5 and 4
Steve Zappe    
Don Galgano     Thomson
3 and 1
Jimmy Thomson    
Ralph Guldahl     Guldahl
6 and 4
John Kinder    
Clarence Clark     Mc Spaden
3 and 2
Harold Mc Spaden    
Ted Longworth     Torpey
3 and 2
Bunny Torpey    
Jack Sabol     Snead
4 and 3
Sam Snead    
George Diffenbough     Krueger
3 and 2
Alvin Krueger    
Tommy Armour III     Bernardi
1-up
Sam Bernardi    
Perry Del Vecchio     Picard
5 and 4
Henry Picard    
Harry Nettlebladt     Smith
3 and 2
Horton Smith    
Bill Mehlhorn     Watrous
1up (23)
Al Watrous    
Shute
3 and 2
Dudley
4 and 3
Runyan
2 and 1
Hines
1-up
Cooper
1-up
Foulis
1-up
Ghezzi
1-up
Manero
4 and 3
Nelson
4 and 2
Farrell
1-up
Laffoon
2 and 1
Thomson
2 and 1
Mc Spaden
1-up (20)
Snead
2-up
Picard
1-up
Smith
1-up (19)
Shute
3 and 2
Hines
2 and 1
Cooper
5 and 4
Manero
3 and 1
Nelson
5 and 4
Laffoon
4 and 3
Mc Spaden
3 and 2
Picard
4 and 3
Shute
4 and 3
Manero
1-up
Laffoon
2-up
Mc Spaden
1-up (39)
 
Shute
1-up
 
 
Mc Spaden
2 and 1
 
Shute
1-up (37)