|Dates||August 3–6, 1978|
|Course(s)||Oakmont Country Club|
|Organized by||PGA of America|
|Length||6,989 yards (6,391 m)|
|Field||149 players, 70 after cut|
|276 (−8), playoff|
The 1978 PGA Championship was the 60th PGA Championship, played August 3-6 at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pennsylvania, a suburb northeast of Pittsburgh. John Mahaffey won his only major championship in a sudden-death playoff over Jerry Pate and Tom Watson.
Watson led the tournament each day and held a five-shot lead after 54 holes, but he faltered on Sunday with a 73 (+2) in his best opportunity for a PGA Championship, the only major he has never won. Pate had a four-foot (1.3 m) putt for a par and the victory on the 72nd hole, but it lipped out. After opening with a four-over 75 on Thursday, Mahaffey rebounded to go 12-under for the next three rounds, including a five-under 66 in the final round to gain the seven strokes on Watson. He had a history of hard luck in majors: at the U.S. Open, he lost the 18-hole playoff in 1975 and was the 54-hole leader in 1976, won by tour rookie Pate. Mahaffey broke that streak when he birdied the second extra hole to win the playoff at Oakmont. It was the second of three consecutive playoffs at the PGA Championship.
Like Arnold Palmer, Watson won numerous majors but never the PGA Championship, the only leg missing for a career grand slam. At this time he had won three of his eight majors; his next best finish at the PGA Championship came fifteen years later in 1993, placing fifth at Inverness. Pate finished in the top five for the third straight year (and would again the next year) but never won another major.
Jack Nicklaus, age 38, shot a 79 in the first round and missed the cut by five strokes in one of his worst performances in a major. Four-time champion Nicklaus was a pre-tournament favorite: in his previous majors at Oakmont (two U.S. Opens), he won in 1962, his first major and first win as a professional, and tied for fourth in the 1973. At the previous year's PGA Championship at Pebble Beach, he finished third, one stroke out of the playoff.
Lengths of the course for previous major championships:
Before 1962, the 1st hole was played as a par 5.
Past champions in the field
Made the cut
|Player||Country||Year(s) won||R1||R2||R3||R4||Total||To par||Finish|
|Lee Trevino||United States||1974||69||73||70||72||284||E||T7|
|Don January||United States||1967||73||72||75||69||289||+5||T19|
|Bobby Nichols||United States||1964||75||67||73||74||289||+5||T19|
|Dave Stockton||United States||1970, 1976||68||75||74||72||289||+5||T19|
|Gary Player||South Africa||1962, 1972||76||72||71||71||290||+6||T26|
|Lanny Wadkins||United States||1977||70||73||72||76||291||+7||T34|
|Raymond Floyd||United States||1969||76||72||73||73||294||+10||T50|
Missed the cut
|Player||Country||Year(s) won||R1||R2||Total||To par|
|Julius Boros||United States||1968||78||71||149||+7|
|Doug Ford||United States||1955||74||75||149||+7|
|Al Geiberger||United States||1966||76||75||151||+9|
|Dow Finsterwald||United States||1958||77||74||151||+9|
|Jack Nicklaus||United States||1963, 1971,
Thursday, August 3, 1978
|1||Tom Watson||United States||67||–4|
|2||Dave Stockton||United States||68||–3|
|T3||Dave Hill||United States||69||–2|
|Ben Crenshaw||United States|
|Johnny Miller||United States|
|Lee Trevino||United States|
|T7||Grier Jones||United States||70||–1|
|Phil Hancock||United States|
|Lanny Wadkins||United States|
|Mike Sullivan||United States|
|Mike Morley||United States|
|Bill Kratzert||United States|
|Jerry McGee||United States|
|Rod Funseth||United States|
|Craig Stadler||United States|
Friday, August 4, 1978
|1||Tom Watson||United States||67-69=136||–6|
|T2||Tom Weiskopf||United States||73-67=140||–2|
|Joe Inman||United States||72-68=140|
|Ben Crenshaw||United States||69-71=140|
|5||Johnny Miller||United States||69-72=141||–1|
|T6||John Mahaffey||United States||75-67=142||E|
|Bobby Nichols||United States||75-67=142|
|Bob Zender||United States||73-69=142|
|Jerry Pate||United States||72-70=142|
|Tom Purtzer||United States||72-70=142|
|Hubert Green||United States||71-71=142|
|Lee Trevino||United States||69-73=142|
Saturday, August 5, 1978
|1||Tom Watson||United States||67-69-67=203||–10|
|2||Jerry Pate||United States||72-70-66=208||–5|
|T3||Joe Inman||United States||72-68-69=209||–4|
|Tom Weiskopf||United States||73-67-69=209|
|5||John Mahaffey||United States||75-67-68=210||–3|
|6||Craig Stadler||United States||70-74-67=211||-2|
|7||Lee Trevino||United States||69-73-70=212||–1|
|T8||Gil Morgan||United States||76-71-66=213||E|
|Kermit Zarley||United States||75-71-67=213|
|Phil Hancock||United States||70-73-70=213|
|Johnny Miller||United States||69-72-72=213|
Sunday, August 6, 1978
|Place||Player||Country||Score||To par||Money ($)|
|T1||John Mahaffey||United States||75-67-68-66=276||–8||Playoff|
|Jerry Pate||United States||72-70-66-68=276|
|Tom Watson||United States||67-69-67-73=276|
|T4||Gil Morgan||United States||76-71-66-67=280||–4||14,500|
|Tom Weiskopf||United States||73-67-69-71=280|
|6||Craig Stadler||United States||70-74-67-71=282||-2||10,000|
|T7||Andy Bean||United States||72-72-70-70=284||E||8,000|
|Lee Trevino||United States||69-73-70-72=284|
|10||Fuzzy Zoeller||United States||75-69-73-68=285||+1||6,500|
The sudden death playoff began on the front nine at hole #1, a par-4 which all three parred.
After Watson and Pate could not birdie hole #2, Mahaffey sunk a 12-foot (3.7 m) birdie putt to win the title.
|Place||Player||Country||Score||To par||Money ($)|
|1||John Mahaffey||United States||4-3||–1||50,000|
|T2||Jerry Pate||United States||4-x||E||25,000|
|Tom Watson||United States||4-x|
- "Watson leads a PGA without Jack by four". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. wire services. August 5, 1978. p. 1B.
- "Tournament Info for: 1978 PGA Championship". PGA.com. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
- "Mahaffey healthy, wealthy and alive again". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. wire services. August 7, 1978. p. B1.
- Parascenzo, Marino (August 7, 1978). "Mahaffey wins PGA in 3-way playoff". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 11.
- Jenkins, Dan (August 14, 1978). "Jumping for joy". Sports Illustrated. p. 16.
- "Nicklaus scuffles around in 79 in the PGA". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. Associated Press. August 4, 1978. p. 1D.
- Axelrod, Phil (August 4, 1978). "Dame Oakmont plays Jack". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 11.
- "1978 PGA Championship". databasegolf.com. Retrieved July 1, 2012.
- "Watson has all but wrapped up the PGA". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. UPI. August 6, 1978. p. B1.
1978 Open Championship
|Major Championships||Succeeded by|