The Wanamaker Trophy

The Wanamaker Trophy 1(Mike Davis/Flickr)

HERE’S WHAT THEY’RE PLAYING FOR in the 90th PGA Championship. (Plus $1.26 million, plus exemptions galore, plus getting the major monkey off their back, if they’re majorless.)

Ladies and gentlemen, I present the Wanamaker Trophy. Shiny, isn’t it?

Of course, as with anything that’s 90, there’s a story behind it. It’s named after Rodman Wanamaker, a man of means who took up the cause of professional golfers when they were considered to be lowly working class and not allowed in the clubhouse or locker room. Think Walter Hagen era.

Wanamaker thought this was wrong, so he spearheaded the formation of the PGA of America and its pros-only tournament, the PGA Championship. He launched the effort with $2,500 and ordered the silver cup. Every pro who tees off on Thursday to play for the $7 million purse should say a word of thanks for Rodman Wanamaker.

One more thing. The original Wanamaker Trophy was huge –- more than two feet tall and two feet wide (handle to handle) and weighing 27 pounds. That’s a lot of silver to hoist. Today the PGA awards a smaller replica to the winner.

−The Armchair Golfer

Photo of author
Neil Sagebiel

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