PGA Champions Confidential: Vijay Singh, Lanny Wadkins, Ray Floyd, Shaun Micheel and Gary Player join our roundtable

Raymond Floyd
AP
Vijah Singh won his first major at the 1998 PGA Championship at Sahalee Country Club in Redmond, Wash.

What are your standout memories from your win or wins at the PGA Championship?

Floyd: The opening round in Tulsa, where I won my second [at Southern Hills in 1982]. I shot 63, and had nine threes in a row in the middle of a round. That’s something I’ll never forget.

Wadkins: When I won at Pebble in ’77, it was the first major ever won in sudden death. The par-save I made on the first hole against Gene Littler -- that was probably my favorite moment. Rolled in a 15-footer to stay alive. Things like that stay around a long time: the credibility that came with achieving that. I won five times before, and something like 20 times after. It validated everything I’d done, saying I was a major champion.

Micheel: Of course, I will always think about my 7-iron to seal my victory. But, having my wife, Stephanie, there to share it with me was really the best part of all of it. I've known my wife for 30 years and she has always known me as a golfer. She pushed me to be the best that I could be when I wasn't sure that I wanted to keep going. When we hugged on the 18th green, I told her how much I loved her and how much it meant to me to share this victory with her.

Singh: Winning a major is an excitement like no other in golf and winning that first one will never leave me. The second one was in '04 at a time when I was playing really well so it just kind of fit in there.

Player: For my second PGA Championship victory during the 1972 PGA Championship at Oakland Hills, I made a shot that is one of the most memorable of my career -- a nine iron on the 16th hole. It was the shot that helped me win the major. Going into the 16th hole, there were five of us within a shot or two of each other, and I had just missed an 18-inch putt of the 15th hole. To follow my missed putt, I sliced my drive on the 16th tee and it flew into the right-hand rough behind a huge willow tree that guarded the green. Luckily, I remembered my divot from a practice round that ended up in a similar spot and took an 8-iron onto the green. That Sunday, though, the grass was wet, so I knew that it would take a 9-iron. There was no way I could see the flag, but I was fortunate when I saw that a spectator had left a seat stick right in line with the hole. I was able to sight my shot with the seat stick and hit the ball out of the wet rough that had been trampled down by the spectators. It cleared perfectly. When I hit the ball, I knew that it was going to land on the green, but I had no idea it would end up only four feet from the cup. Left with a makeable birdie putt, I took a two-stroke lead and eventually my second PGA Championship.

Who will be first to win their next major: Tiger or Phil?

Player: Maybe neither of them next week at the PGA Championship. Tiger and Phil are two of the game’s greatest short-game players. That is what wins majors. Time will only tell who will win another major first. However, I expect them both to win more majors before their careers are over.

Micheel: I don't care which one wins their next major first. Look, I am a golf fan. But, while I am still competing, I am focused solely on what I need to do to get back to being competitive.

 

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