Earning the infamous nickname “The War by the Shore,” the 1991 Ryder Cup was heralded by Golf World magazine as one of the top five tournaments of the decade, while Golf Digest ranked it number 18 among the most defining moments in the entire history of golf. For three days, the U.S. and European Ryder Cup teams waged a heroic duel on the shores of Kiawah Island. In fittingly dramatic fashion, at the end of 28 matches and numerous lead changes, the moment to decide which team would secure the Ryder Cup trophy hinged on one final six-foot putt.
Germany’s Bernhard Langer and America’s Hale Irwin approached the final green realizing the weight of the moment. Irwin’s approach to the green sailed wide right. A poor chip shot necessitated a long putt that left his ball within a foot of the hole. In a courtly gesture that may have sealed the Europeans’ fate, Langer conceded Irwin’s bogey putt and followed by hitting his 45-foot birdie putt six-feet past the hole. Langer then struck his par putt that just barely missed the cup. The match was halved, leaving the Americans victorious, reclaiming the Ryder Cup that it had relinquished to Europe in 1985 and 1987 (Europe retained the cup in 1989 when the contest resulted in a draw). Spain’s Seve Ballesteros and José María Olazábal continued their brilliant pairing of the past with three victories and one halve, while Fred Couples and Lanny Wadkins led their team with 3-1 records.
Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf
The 1996 rendition of the popular two-person televised challenge match pitted two polar opposite personalities. Annika Sörenstam was known for her quiet, focused approach to her game, while Dottie Pepper wore her fiercely competitive spirit on her sleeve for all the world to see — and hear. The intriguing contrast between two of the world’s all-time leading women’s golfers resulted in the Shell’s WWG’s highest rated match featuring members of the LPGA. A very tightly contested round ended with Pepper securing a narrow two-stroke victory, 75 to 77.
World Cup of Golf
The 43rd World Cup of Golf played out in balmy and uncharacteristically calm conditions that facilitated many sub-par rounds, finally demonstrating to critics that, with proper setup, the course wasn’t overly difficult for a 72-hole stroke-play tournament. The tournament was dominated by the British Isles, with the Irish team of Pádraig Harrington and Paul McGinley eventually winning by five strokes over the Scottish team of Colin Montgomerie and Raymond Russell. The wounded pride of the Scots was somewhat salved by Montgomerie winning the individual title with a two-stroke victory over Czech-German Alex Čejka.
Inaugural UBS Warburg Cup
In a Ryder Cup-format tournament sanctioned by the PGA tour for professionals 40 years and older, the U.S. team captained by Arnold Palmer defeated the Rest of the World team captained by Gary Player. Legendary senior stars, including O’Meara, Nicklaus, Irwin, Strange, Floyd, Nelson, Lehman, Watson, Calcavecchia, Torrance, Aoki, Nobilo, Faldo, Woosnam and Langer, battled to a suspenseful finish with the U.S. team eventually emerging on top by only one point, 12 ½ to 11 ½.
Eighteen two-man qualifying teams from around the globe competed in a 72-hole stroke-play event to determine the 49th World Cup, the fourth time the event was played as the World Golf Championships. South Africa duo Rory Sabbatini and Trevor Immelman held their nerve to win the WGC-World Cup at Kiawah Island. They began Sunday’s final round with a massive seven-shot lead and carded a one-over round of 73 to finish four clear on 275 over the English team of Paul Casey and Justin Rose. The U.S. team of Jim Furyk and Justin Leonard’s hopes collapsed on No. 13 when their tee shot found water.
PGA Professional Championship
University of Illinois golf coach and Land of Lincoln native Mike Small charged from behind in the final round to secure the 38th PGA Professional Championship. Small conquered the mighty Ocean Course with an impressive 3-under par 69 to finish three shots ahead of runner-up Travis Long. This win would prove the first of three Professional Championship victories for Small, as he would go on to repeat back-to-back in 2009 and 2010.
The 68th Senior PGA Championship
Denis Watson of Zimbabwe took advantage of Eduardo Romero’s late mistakes to win the Senior PGA Championship. The victory marked Watson’s first title following a 23-year drought. He also became the first non-American player to win the Senior PGA since Gary Player in 1990.
Romero of Argentina had handled The Ocean Course’s famed sand dunes and Atlantic gusts better than the rest of the field for three days. He still led by two shots after birdies on the 11th and 12th, pushing him to 10 under. Then, aiming at a pin tucked on the back left of the par-three 14th green, his ball plugged while Watson stuck his shot within a dozen feet of the hole. Romero had to take an unplayable lie, rendering a double bogey while Watson drained his birdie putt for a three-shot swing en route to an ultimate two-stroke victory.
On Sunday, Rory McIlroy shot a bogey-free 66, leaving him six under par in the final round of the 2012 PGA Championship at The Ocean Course to win his second major title by eight strokes over runner-up David Lynn of England.
McIlroy’s total score of 13 under set a Championship record eight-stroke margin of victory over runner-up David Lynn of England, surpassing the seven-stroke win posted by Jack Nicklaus in 1980. On the heels of his victory at the 2011 U.S. Open, which he also won by eight strokes, at 23 years and three months McIlroy became the sixth-youngest golfer to bring home two majors.
Although Carl Pettersson, Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh led after the end of the first two rounds at four under, none of the three veterans could keep pace with the lad from Northern Ireland. The Ocean Course really showed its teeth on Friday, with winds gusting to over 30mph, making conditions much tougher than in the first round. The field averaged over 78, the highest average of any day since the PGA Championship restored the strokeplay format in 1958.
A severe thunderstorm interrupted play on Saturday with nearly one-third of the field still on the course, leaving play to resume to complete the round early Sunday morning. When the final round got underway, Englishman Ian Poulter made a mad charge only to run out of steam on the back nine, finishing with four bogeys in the grueling final six holes. Meanwhile, Pettersson remained right on McIlroy’s heels despite a two-stroke penalty for a rules infraction, but he could not slow down the momentum of the young bogey-free Irishman who required a remarkable 24 putts through the round. McIlroy placed an exclamation point on the staggering round by draining a 20-foot birdie putt on 18.
Just one month shy of his 51st birthday, Phil Mickelson made history by capturing the Wanamaker Trophy and becoming the oldest player to win one of golf’s major championships.
Posting rounds of 70, 69, 70 and 73 over four grueling, wind-buffeted rounds of the 2021 PGA Championship, Mickelson finished at six under par 72—two strokes ahead of co-runners-up Louis Oosthuizen and Brooks Koepka—a feat highlighted by a spectacular final round reminiscent of a toe-to-toe heavyweight bout.
As Mickelson and Koepka made the final walk down the fairway, what will undoubtedly prove to be one of sports’ most dramatic scenes occurred. Exuberant spectators rushed in behind the pair, momentarily enveloping them and their caddies before encircling the entire putting surface. Koepka two putted for par. One could have heard a pin drop as Mickelson left his first putt mere inches from the hole, then the crowd erupted the moment his final putt for par broke the plane of the hole and sank triumphantly.
At that moment, Phil Mickelson transcended the barriers imposed by age, and in so doing presented the world a gift. His glorious, unlikely, audacious victory transcended even the game of golf itself to enter the pantheon of sports’ greatest achievements, the aged winning one for the ages.
The Ocean Course
Discover What The Legends Have Conquered
Since its construction by Pete and Alice Dye in 1989-1991, The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort has hosted iconic championships, indelibly engraving its reputation as one of the world’s greatest golf courses. From the epic “War by the Shore” Ryder Cup to Rory McIlroy’s triumph at the 2012 PGA Championship, experience The Ocean Course’s storied tournament history.