World Golf Hall of Famer Lanny Wadkins
"GREENSBORO, N.C. – In celebration of its 75th anniversary, the Wyndham Championship, the sixth-oldest event on the PGA TOUR excluding the Majors, will welcome back several former winners during tournament week, the tournament announced today. The 75th anniversary Wyndham Championship is set for Aug. 11-17, 2014.
World Golf Hall of Famer Lanny Wadkins, 1959 champion Dow Finsterwald, 1958 champion Bob Goalby as well as two-time champions Rocco Mediate and Davis Love III will all return to the Wyndham next month to help celebrate the tournament’s 75th anniversary. The Wyndham Championship counts 17 World Golf Hall of Famers among its former winners including Sam Snead who won the tournament eight times and is the golfer for whom the tournament trophy is named, Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Gary Player and Seve Ballesteros.
Wadkins, who won the Greater Greensboro Open in 1983, was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2009. He won 21 PGA TOUR events including the 1977 PGA Championship and represented the United States in the Ryder Cup nine times. The Wake Forest University alumnus ranked in the top-10 of the Official World Golf Ranking for 86 weeks from its debut in 1986 to 1988. Currently a member of the Golf Channel Champions Tour broadcast team, Wadkins will be at the Wyndham early in the week before traveling to the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open Champions Tour event in Endicott, N.Y.
Finsterwald, who finished second or third on the money list every year between 1957 and 1960, won the tournament at Starmount Forest Country Club in 1959. In the tournament’s early years, it was contested at either Starmount Forest Country Club or Sedgefield Country Club, the tournament’s current home. Some years, two rounds were played at each course. In 1958, all four rounds were at Starmount Forest.
An 11-time PGA TOUR winner, Finsterwald won the 1958 PGA Championship and was named the 1958 PGA TOUR Player of the year. He finished fifth or better more than 50 times in his career. The 1959 tournament will forever be remembered for its radical change in weather conditions. After three days of perfect weather with temperatures in the 80s and Finsterwald recording three rounds in the 60s, a cold front moved through the region, and championship Sunday came with cold, hard rain, wind and temperatures in the 40s. Consequently, Finsterwald shot 77 in the final round, still the highest final-round score recorded by a tournament winner.
Goalby won the 1958 Greater Greensboro Open, also at Starmount Forest Country Club. Goalby, also an 11-time PGA TOUR winner, won the Masters in 1968. His nephew, Jay Haas, currently plays on the Champions Tour, and another nephew, Jerry Haas, coaches the Wake Forest University golf team. His great-nephew, Bill Haas, plays on the PGA TOUR and won the FedEx Cup Championship in 2011.
Love is one of the nine golfers with multiple Wyndham wins, and he will play in the 75th Wyndham Championship. He fired a final-round 62 to come back from a six-stroke deficit to win the 1992 tournament then called the Kmart Greater Greensboro Open. His second win came in 2006 in the final tournament before Wyndham Worldwide took over title sponsorship the next year. It was also the last time the tournament was played in the fall before moving to its current August dates. This year’s tournament will be Love’s 20th Wyndham Championship appearance.
Mediate, who will also play in the 75th anniversary Wyndham, is another of the nine golfers with more than one Wyndham Championship victory; he won the tournament in 1993 when it was called the Kmart Greater Greensboro Open and in 2002 when it was called the Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic. He plays the Champions Tour now but is returning to the Wyndham for one final time in celebration of the tournament’s 75th anniversary. After Mediate won the tournament in 1993, he was unable to defend his title the next year due to a back injury. Rather than just not playing, he asked the Greensboro News & Record to print his letter apologizing to the fans for being unable to defend. This year’s tournament will mark Mediate’s 23rd Wyndham Championship appearance.
“Preparing for our 75th anniversary has been fun in a lot of ways,” tournament director Mark Brazil said. “But I think welcoming these former winners back to the Wyndham Championship will be the centerpiece of our 75th anniversary celebration. These guys had or are having some incredible careers, and we are all looking forward to seeing them. We are planning some opportunities for the fans to meet these champions, and when we have that confirmed, we’ll get the word out.”
Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2014 and contested annually on the Donald Ross-designed course at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., the Wyndham Championship was founded in 1938 and is the sixth-oldest event on the PGA TOUR excluding the Majors. Tickets are available at www.wyndhamchampionship.com or through the tournament office. The tournament thanks title sponsor Wyndham Worldwide, presenting sponsor BB&T and Premier Partners, Cadillac, Harris Teeter, Lincoln Financial, McConnell Golf, New Breed Logistics, Sunbrella®, Technology Concepts & Design, Inc. and VF Corporation for their continued support. Additional tournament information, including ticket packages and sponsorship information, is available at www.wyndhamchampionship.com or through the tournament office at (336) 379-1570. For more information about Wyndham Worldwide, please visit www.wyndhamworldwide.com. Stay connected with the Wyndham Championship through its social media channels, including the Wyndham Championship Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, Flickr and YouTube."
A Press Release