October 9, 2019 Karen Preston

A History of Champions

Bringing PGA TOUR Golf to Las Vegas Since 1983

Las Vegas is an international city known for its shopping, fine dining and gambling. Las Vegas is also making a name for itself in the golf world with more than 50 spectacular golf courses and a history of PGA TOUR competition. The 2019 Shriners Hospitals for Children® Open is the 37th annual PGA TOUR event hosted in the city.

Since 1983, Las Vegans have come together to see some of the greatest golfers of all time and witness magical golf moments. The Shriners Hospitals for Children Open has been known by various titles throughout its history, but the tournament’s legacy of bringing the best golf to Las Vegas has remained the same.

The tournament’s original host organization was the Las Vegas Founders, a volunteer group of Las Vegas business leaders. In 1983, the group helped bring the PGA TOUR to Las Vegas when Las Vegas PGA TOUR player Jim Colbert brought together business leaders Chuck Ruthe, James Cashman, Tom Hartley, Dick Etter and others to form the Las Vegas Founders Club. The group spent nearly 25 years ensuring that the PGA TOUR continued to come back to the city bigger and better each year.

At that time, there were just a handful of courses and about 500,000 residents, but that didn’t stop the group from teaming up and watching the Las Vegas golf community expand at a dizzying pace. During the Pro-Am era of golf, the 1983 Panasonic Las Vegas Pro-Celebrity Classic was the PGA TOUR’s first-ever tournament with a million-dollar prize purse.

Player with standard bearers

History of Champions

In 1983, crowds watched as Fuzzy Zoeller won the first PGA TOUR event in Las Vegas. The winner of the 1979 Masters and 1984 US Open, Zoeller also served as the player consultant for the golf course design of TPC Summerlin.

In 1986, Greg Norman won the Las Vegas tournament to finish off the inaugural season of the Official World Golf Ranking in the #1 position.

In 1987, Paul Azinger eagled the final hole to win the Las Vegas tournament before he was honored as the 1987 PGA and Golf World Player of the Year.

At the 1991 tournament, Chip Beck shot a round of 59 in the third round and made history by becoming one of only five players on the PGA TOUR to ever do so. His round included five pars and 13 birdies, a PGA TOUR record for birdies in one round.

In 1993, Davis Love III finished the Las Vegas tournament at 29-under par to win by a whopping eight shots, the largest margin of victory in the event’s history.

In 1996, Tiger Woods celebrated his first professional victory in Las Vegas and was named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year and the PGA TOUR’s Rookie of the Year.

In 1999, Jim Furyk celebrated his third win in the Las Vegas tournament after having already won the event in 1995 and 1998, becoming the only multiple winner in the event’s history.

In 2007, the tournament announced that Shriners Hospitals for Children would take over the operations of the tournament, and that the Las Vegas Founders would no longer be involved with the event. The following year, Fry’s Electronics, chief presenting sponsor in 2006 and 2007, ended their association with the event.

Entertainer Justin Timberlake was the host of the tournament for five years, 2008 through 2012. In 2010, the tournament, then known as the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, became the only PGA TOUR event in history to end with a hole-in-one when Jonathan Byrd aced the par-3, 17th on the fourth playoff hole.

In 2011, the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open Champion Kevin Na posted the best four-round aggregate score in the event’s history with a total of only 261 strokes.

In 2012, Southern Nevada resident Ryan Moore became the first UNLV Rebel to win the Las Vegas tournament in front of his family and hometown fans. One of the top players on TOUR at the time, Moore recorded 26 birdies on the week.

Beginning in 2013, the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open became a part of the FedEx Cup playoffs.

In 2015, Smylie Kaufman’s first PGA TOUR win in Las Vegas was anything but typical. He started the final round seven strokes behind the tournament leader, but by the time he reached the 18th hole, he had landed a knockout blow to the rest of the competition by making a 20-foot birdie that dropped Kaufman’s scorecard to 16 under par, allowing him to walk off the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open winner nearly two hours before the final competitors finished their rounds.

In the 2018 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, champion Bryson DeChambeau holed an eagle putt at TPC Summerlin from just inside 60 feet on the 16th hole that carried him to a 5-under 66 for a one-shot victory over Patrick Cantlay, the 2017 champion.

The 2019 tournament concluded with a playoff battle between past Shriners Hospitals for Children Open champions Kevin Na (2011) and Patrick Cantlay (2017). In the end, Na was crowned the champion and winner of the Howard Hughes Cup, making this his second Shriners Hospitals for Children Open win. Na defeated Cantlay on the second hole of sudden death to win in his hometown of Las Vegas, where he also earned his first PGA TOUR win in 2011. Na finished the tournament at 23 under overall, and won in the playoff over Cantlay with a par-4 on the second extra hole (No. 18).

Courses

In its history, the Las Vegas event has been hosted by numerous courses before settling at its current venue, TPC Summerlin. Past venues include: TPC at the Canyons (now TPC Las Vegas), Bear’s Best Golf Club, Southern Highlands Golf Club, Desert Inn Country Club (now the Wynn Golf & Country Club), Las Vegas Country Club, Las Vegas Hilton Country Club (now Las Vegas National Golf Club), Sunrise Golf Club, Spanish Trail Golf & Country Club, Showboat Country Club (now Wildhorse Golf Club), Dunes Country Club and Stallion Mountain Golf Club

Shriners Hospitals for Children

Shriners Hospitals for Children, the sponsor and benefactor of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, is a pediatric health care system with 22 locations throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. Proceeds from the tournament support the health care system and its mission to improve the lives of children.

The Shriners Hospitals for Children Open is now one of Shriners Hospitals for Children’s most important signature events, helping to raise both awareness and funds. The tournament has become a major, valuable platform for Shriners Hospitals to share patient success stories and the amazing work and expertise of the health care system.

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