In June 1989, Curtis Strange made historical past at Oak Hill Country Club close to Rochester, NY, the positioning of the PGA Championship, which begins on Thursday.
Trailing Tom Kite by three strokes with one spherical to go, Strange shot an even-par 70 to turn out to be the primary participant since Ben Hogan in 1951 to win back-to-back United States Opens. Strange had captured the 1988 Open by 4 pictures over Nick Faldo in an 18-hole playoff.
“Move over, Ben,” Strange mentioned after the ultimate spherical in 1989. It was his seventeenth and closing tour victory.
Strange, 68, mirrored lately on his week at Oak Hill and what the highest gamers on the earth will doubtless encounter on this second main of the season.
The following dialog has been edited and condensed.
What was your mind-set going into the ultimate spherical?
I had all the things to acquire and nothing to lose. To exit and shoot a strong spherical of golf and hopefully some putts would fall, and I might shoot one or two beneath par. That was not an enormous ask for me. The one large reminiscence was once I acquired phrase that [Kite] had made a triple at 5. That’s when the adrenaline ran via my physique.
How did you discover out about his triple bogey?
I used to be strolling to the eighth tee, the seventh tee perhaps. I heard rumours. I requested anyone within the crowd, ‘Is it true?’ They mentioned sure. It acquired me one again or one thing on the time.
The line, ‘Move over, Ben,’ was that absolutely spontaneous?
Totally spontaneous, made with all due respect for Mr. Hogan. Going into the week, I did not know who the final back-to-back champion was.
You actually did not know?
When I led after two rounds, I learn within the paper the final man was Ben Hogan.
Did you hear from Hogan after your win?
No, I did not. I wasn’t anticipating something, however I believe I used to be perhaps just a bit bit disenchanted as a result of I had such admiration for him. And for all these guys who paved the best way for us. I nonetheless admire the man like I did earlier than.
Did you think about the Open could be your final victory?
Not for an extended, very long time. I had three or 4 main possibilities [to win] and acquired a bit unfortunate.
Do you place one Open victory over one other?
The US Open is the US Open. I do not assume you possibly can.
What would be the challenges for these guys at Oak Hill?
So much of it’s decided by how they determine to arrange the golf course, how a lot tough and the way slim the fairways. There are solely two par 5s, and so they’re each very lengthy. Par 5s are usually thought-about catch-up holes the place you may make a birdie. Not a lot at Oak Hill. They have [two] quick par 4s on the again facet the place you may catch up.
They will set it up in another way for a PGA than for an Open, proper?
Last 12 months at Tulsa (the positioning of the 2022 event), it was fairly deep tough. Kerry Haigh, who has finished a wonderful job within the PGA; I’m certain he’ll do one other one. All is dependent upon how he desires to set it up. He’s at all times let the gamers play slightly bit.
Does the PGA, as a significant championship, get sufficient respect?
I believe they do now with the May date. The August date was late within the 12 months for the viewership and the gamers. The May date was a house run for them.
With your dad having been a membership professional, was it particularly disappointing that you just by no means received a PGA?
It was at all times on the very prime of my listing as a result of of that. It’s the PGA of America [an organization of golf professionals].
In the 1989 PGA, once you tied for second, what do you keep in mind?
It’s the one Payne Stewart received, however Mike Reid ought to have received. I performed very, very properly on Sunday and did not putt in addition to I wanted to putt to win and had an opportunity on the final gap. I had a superb alternative.