Thunderbird Invitational

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Thunderbird Invitational
Tournament information
Location Rancho Mirage,
California, U.S.
Established 1952, 1954 (72-hole)
Course(s) Thunderbird Country Club
Par 71
Length 6,680 yards (6,108 m)[1]
Tour(s) PGA Tour
Format Stroke play - 72 holes
Prize fund $15,000
Month played January
Final year 1959
Final champion
United States Arnold Palmer
Rancho Mirage is located in the US
Rancho Mirage
Rancho Mirage
Location in the United States
Rancho Mirage is located in California
Rancho Mirage
Rancho Mirage
Location in California

The Thunderbird Invitational was a professional golf tournament on the PGA Tour, played from 1952 to 1959 in Rancho Mirage, California.[2][3][4] Held in late January at Thunderbird Country Club, the tournament's purse was a modest $15,000; it was the direct predecessor of today's CareerBuilder Challenge, which began in 1960. Thunderbird hosted the Ryder Cup in 1955.[5][6]

Arnold Palmer, 29, was the event's final champion in 1959;[1][4] he won the next year at the first edition of the "Palm Springs Desert Classic," which had a $100,000 purse and a winner's share of 12,000, his largest tour check to date.[7]

Ken Venturi, 26, won the 1958 event and was awarded a $1,500 check and a $4,500 automobile.[8] He backed it up with another win the following week at Phoenix.[9]

Jimmy Demaret won the event three times; his first was a 54-hole midweek event in 1953,[10][11] and the last was an 18-hole playoff on Monday in 1957 for consecutive titles.[12][13]

Winners[edit]

Year Winner Score To par Winner's
share ($)
Notes and refs
1959 Arnold Palmer 266 −18 1,500 [1][4]
1958 Ken Venturi 269 −15 1,500 [8]
1957 Jimmy Demaret 273 −11 2,000 18-hole playoff[12][13]
1956 Jimmy Demaret 269 −15 2,000 [14]
1955 Shelley Mayfield 270 −18 2,000 second playoff hole[15]
1954 Fred Haas 268 −20 2,000 [3]
1953 Jimmy Demaret 201 −15 1,500 54 holes, midweek[10][11]
1952 Dutch Harrison 1,000 36 holes, midweek[16][17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Palmer wins Thunderbird on 62 for 266". Chicago Daily Tribune. Associated Press. January 26, 1959. p. 3, part 4. 
  2. ^ Spicer, Judd (December 28, 2010). "Before the Hope". Palm Springs Life. Retrieved February 17, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b "Fred Haas wins". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). United Press. February 1, 1954. p. 2B. 
  4. ^ a b c "Palmer victor in Thunderbird". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. January 26, 1959. p. 2B. 
  5. ^ "Ryder Cup kept by U.S.; Briton tops Middlecoff". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. November 7, 1955. p. 10. 
  6. ^ "U.S. retains Ryder Cup golf trophy by 8-4". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. November 7, 1955. p. 26. 
  7. ^ "Palmer wins title". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. February 8, 1960. p. 3B. 
  8. ^ a b "Ken Venturi 'Bird winner". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. January 27, 1958. p. 3B. 
  9. ^ "Venturi, finishes strong, takes Phoenix golf crown". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. February 3, 1958. p. 2B. 
  10. ^ a b "Demaret wins at Thunderbird". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). United Press. January 22, 1953. p. 2B. 
  11. ^ a b "Prize goes to Demaret". Ellensburg Daily Record. (Washington). Associated Press. January 22, 1953. p. 8. 
  12. ^ a b "Souchak holes 40-foot putt for Thunderbird triple tie". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. January 28, 1957. p. 10. 
  13. ^ a b "Demaret wins golf playoff". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. January 29, 1957. p. 3B. 
  14. ^ "Thunderbird tourney won by Demaret". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. January 30, 1956. p. 3B. 
  15. ^ "Mayfield wins golf playoff on extra hole". Chicago Daily Tribune. Associated Press. February 1, 1955. p. 2, sec. 3. 
  16. ^ "Ferrier leading at Palm Springs". Ellensburg Daily Record. (Washington). Associated Press. January 22, 1952. p. 8. 
  17. ^ "Harrison takes top money in California golf". Chicago Daily Tribune. Associated Press. January 23, 1952. p. 3, sec. 3. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°45′22″N 116°25′48″W / 33.756°N 116.43°W / 33.756; -116.43