1961 PGA Championship
|Dates||July 27–31, 1961|
|Location||Olympia Fields, Illinois|
|Course(s)||Olympia Fields Country Club
|Organized by||PGA of America|
|Length||6,722 yards (6,147 m)|
|Field||161 players, 65 after cut|
|277 (−3), playoff|
The 1961 PGA Championship was the 43rd PGA Championship, played July 27–31 at the North Course of Olympia Fields Country Club in Olympia Fields, Illinois, a suburb south of Chicago. Jerry Barber, age 45, won his only major title in an 18-hole Monday playoff by one stroke over Don January, 67 to 68. It was the fourth edition as a stroke play event and the first playoff.
Rain washed out the second round on Friday afternoon with only about one-third of the field completing their rounds. The scores were scrapped and the second round was replayed on Saturday, with 36 holes on Sunday. Barber led at the midway point with a 136 (−4), two shots ahead of January and Doug Sanders. A top putter of the era, Barber sank 120 feet (37 m) of putts on the last three holes of the final round to erase a four-stroke deficit to January and force a Monday playoff. At the 72nd hole, January had a two-stroke lead, but put his tee shot into the sand. With Barber on the green but an improbable 60 feet (18 m) away, January played conservatively for the bogey. Barber drained his third lengthy putt in as many holes (eagle-par-birdie) to even it up at the end of regulation.
In the playoff, the two were tied at three-under after 16 holes, following January's birdie. Both had pars at the 17th, which effectively turned the 18th hole into sudden-death. Both tee shots found fairway bunkers, and Barber hit a 3-iron onto the green, 18 feet (5.5 m) from the cup. January found another bunker short of the green and could not save par from 15 feet (4.6 m).
At age 45, Barber became the oldest winner of the PGA Championship, whose previous champions were all under age 40, with several at age 39. At the time, the only older major winner was Old Tom Morris at age 46 in 1867. Barber was surpassed in 1968 by Julius Boros at age 48.
It was the third major championship at Olympia Fields Country Club; it previously hosted the PGA Championship in 1925 (Courses 3 & 4) and the U.S. Open in 1928 (Course 4). The four 18-hole courses at Olympia Fields were reduced to two in the 1940s when the club sold half of its property. Course 4 became the North course, and the South course is a composite of holes form the other three. The North Course later hosted the U.S. Open in 2003, won by Jim Furyk.
Past champions in the field
Made the cut
|Player||Country||Year(s) won||R1||R2||R3||R4||Total||To par||Finish|
|Doug Ford||United States||1955||69||73||74||66||282||+2||T5|
|Jay Hebert||United States||1960||68||72||72||72||284||+4||13|
|Walter Burkemo||United States||1953||71||71||73||70||285||+5||14|
|Bob Rosburg||United States||1959||70||71||73||73||287||+7||T19|
|Sam Snead||United States||1942, 1949, 1951||72||71||71||75||289||+9||T27|
|Dow Finsterwald||United States||1958||74||74||71||74||293||+13||T41|
|Jack Burke, Jr.||United States||1956||76||71||72||78||297||+17||T52|
|Chick Harbert||United States||1954||73||75||73||76||297||+17||T52|
Missed the cut
|Player||Country||Year(s) won||R1||R2||Total||To par|
|Lionel Hebert||United States||1957||75||74||149||+9|
|Vic Ghezzi||United States||1941||78||75||153||+13|
|Denny Shute||United States||1936, 1937||76||77||153||+13|
|Jim Turnesa||United States||1952||79||75||154||+14|
Thursday, July 27, 1961
|1||Art Wall, Jr.||United States||67||−3|
|T2||Jay Hebert||United States||68||−2|
|Ernie Vossler||United States|
|T4||Jerry Barber||United States||69||−1|
|Doug Ford||United States|
|Bill Heinlein||United States|
|T7||Buster Cupit||United States||70||E|
|Don Fairfield||United States|
|Jack Fleck||United States|
|Paul Harney||United States|
|Shelley Mayfield||United States|
|Bob Rosburg||United States|
|Doug Sanders||United States|
Friday, July 28, 1961
Saturday, July 29, 1961
Play in the second round on Friday was ended by heavy rain in the early afternoon, with 54 of the 166 rounds completed. All scores were scrapped and the round was replayed on Saturday.
|1||Jerry Barber||United States||69-67=136||−4|
|T2||Don January||United States||72-66=138||−2|
|Doug Sanders||United States||70-68=138|
|4||Art Wall, Jr.||United States||67-72=139||−1|
|T5||Jay Hebert||United States||68-72=140||E|
|Ted Kroll||United States||72-68=140|
|Ernie Vossler||United States||68-72=140|
|T8||Don Fairfield||United States||70-71=141||+1|
|Gene Littler||United States||71-70=141|
|Bob Rosburg||United States||70-71=141|
Sunday, July 30, 1961 (morning)
|1||Don January||United States||72-66-67=205||−5|
|2||Jerry Barber||United States||69-67-71=207||−3|
|T3||Wes Ellis||United States||71-71-68=210||E|
|Ted Kroll||United States||72-68-70=210|
|5||Johnny Pott||United States||71-73-67=211||+1|
|T6||Paul Harney||United States||70-73-69=212||+2|
|Jay Hebert||United States||68-72-72=212|
|Doug Sanders||United States||70-68-74=212|
|Art Wall, Jr.||United States||67-72-73=212|
|T10||Gardner Dickinson||United States||71-71-71=213||+3|
|Bob Goalby||United States||73-72-68=213|
Sunday, July 30, 1961 (afternoon)
|Place||Player||Country||Score||To par||Money ($)|
|T1||Jerry Barber||United States||69-67-71-70=277||−3||Playoff|
|Don January||United States||72-66-67-72=277|
|3||Doug Sanders||United States||70-68-74-68=280||E||3,600|
|4||Ted Kroll||United States||72-68-70-71=281||+1||3,100|
|T5||Wes Ellis||United States||71-71-68-72=282||+2||2,209|
|Doug Ford||United States||69-73-74-66=282|
|Gene Littler||United States||71-70-72-69=282|
|Arnold Palmer||United States||73-72-69-68=282|
|Johnny Pott||United States||71-73-67-71=282|
|Art Wall, Jr.||United States||67-72-73-70=282|
Monday, July 31, 1961
|Place||Player||Country||Score||To par||Money ($)|
|1||Jerry Barber||United States||35-32=67||−3||11,000|
|2||Don January||United States||34-34=68||−2||5,500|
- "Barber Small and Old but Champion". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. August 1, 1961. p. 16.
- "Tournament Info for: 1961 PGA Championship". PGA.com. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
- "Downpour washes out second round of PGA". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. July 29, 1961. p. 8.
- "Barber (136) Leads PGA Test". Milwaukee Sentinel. UPI. July 31, 1961. p. 4, part 2.
- "Barber clips par for 67, leads PGA". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. July 30, 1961. p. 1, section 4.
- "PGA Tournament scoreboard". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. July 30, 1961. p. 4, section 4.
- Nichols, Bill (June 11, 2003). "January lives with that sinking feeling". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. (Dallas Morning News). p. D-2.
- Wright, Alfred (August 7, 1961). "Rain, strain and a win". Sports Illustrated. p. 10.
- "Barber defeats January by 1 stroke to win PGA Championship in playoff". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. August 1, 1961. p. 16.
- Chase, Al (June 23, 1946). "Olympia Fields acres expected to be homesites". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. B, part 3.
- "Wall grabs PGA lead; Palmer fumes". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. July 28, 1961. p. 16.
- "PGA tournament scoreboard". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. July 28, 1961. p. 18.
1961 Open Championship
|Major Championships||Succeeded by