US PGA Championship: History tells us that there’s a Southern Hills secret route to success

They're behind you - there have been seven Major Championships played at Southern Hills and the winners all had something in common.

Some things change, others stay the same.

Rich men with oil are currently trying to change the golfing landscape and it's a familiar tale.

Back in the 1930s American oil multimillionaire Waite Phillips donated land for the construction of a country club in Tulsa, Oklahoma that would boast extensive facilities and a clubhouse in the English country manor style.

It became Southern Hills Country Club and in 1981 it was embroiled in controversy when another man with loads of money - mobster Whitey Bulger - ordered the killing of someone getting in his way, the businessman Jai Alai. He was murdered in the Southern Hills parking lot.

But what of the history of Southern Hills on the course? Let's take a look at the seven Majors it has hosted.

1958 US Open

Native Okie Tommy Bolt tied the first round lead, pulled one clear at halfway, was three clear after 54 holes and won by four from Gary Player. Bolt, a well-known hot head, was the only player in the field to avoid at least one round of 75 or more.

1970 PGA Championship

Dave Stockton carded a 70 to sit tied fifth after 18 holes, a repeat score on Friday earned him a share of the lead, he pulled three clear with a third round 66 and a 73 sealed the deal on Sunday.

1977 US Open

Hubert Green's opening 69 helped him to a seven-way share of first round lead, a 67 left him alone at the top after 36 holes, he was still there following a Saturday 73 and a last day 70 completed the win. Leaving the 14th green that Sunday he was informed by police that a death threat had been made against him. He clattered his next drive into trees, but recovered and completed one of the greatest performances under (unusual and alarming) back nine Sunday pressure.

1982 PGA Championship

Ray Floyd had finished second behind Stockton and went one better in '82. A first round 63 gave him an early three-shot advantage, rounds of 69-68 extended it to five and a 72 left him three clear of Lanny Wadkins.

1994 PGA Championship

Nick Price had won the tournament two years previously and made a fast start, joining Colin Montgomerie in the lead with a first round 67. He pulled five clear with a second round 65, was still three ahead of the field after a Saturday 70 and ended the week six in front with a trophy sealing 67 on Sunday.

2001 US Open

Retief Goosen set the pace with a first round 66 for a one shot lead before Marks Brooks and JL Lewis joined him at the top at halfway. That pair slipped back but Stewart Cink joined Goosen in a share of the lead. Goosen was still on top after 72 holes, but rejoined by Brooks. The South African prevailed in Monday's 18-hole play-off.

2007 PGA Championship

Tiger Woods opened with a 71 for T23rd, six back of pace-setter Graeme Storm. But a Friday 63 had Woods alone at the top and a pair of weekend 69s completed victory.

The Southern Hills secret

All this week there has been chatter about the importance of hitting quality approach shots into tricky greens and being ready to excel with the short game when the putting surfaces are missed.

But might it also be the case that both a fast start and quality front running are required?

Five of the seven winners on the course went wire-to-wire and all seven led, or shared the lead, after 36- and 54-holes.

Chasing seems to be mighty difficult there. Dave Stockton was two back of the first round in 1970, but the only man to have genuinely come from off the pace? It took greatness: it was Tiger Woods.

Other Southern Hills events

Let's stretch this out. The course has hosted three other tournaments.

In last year's Senior PGA Championship Alex Cejka grabbed a share of the first round lead, was second after 36- and 54-holes, then won by four.

In the 1996 Tour Championship Tom Lehman shared the lead after 18 holes, then was four, nine and six clear after the next three laps.

The year before? Billy Mayfair was on top after 18 holes, in second after 36, back on top after 54 and won by three.

That makes it 10 events and six wire-to-wire winners.

It also means that all 10 winners were tied second or better after rounds two and three.

And only Tiger Woods wasn't within two blows of the first round lead as well (eight were leading or co-leading after 18 holes).

Thursday's mission? Jump from the blocks on the B of the bang and get ready to stay there. Otherwise, the task will be a great one.

READ MORE: US PGA Championship: What can expect from Southern Hills? Players say short game will be crucial

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