The 55th edition of the PGA Championship came to Canterbury Golf Club August 9th—12th 1973. It was the first time that one of the big four professional major championships came back to Canterbury since the 1946 US Open. It was also the last time that the PGA Championship used all local caddies for the full field of 148 participants.
Canterbury’s own Caddie Master Mike Kiely led the blind draw that matched all players in the field with each professional. From Jack Nicklaus, to Arnold Palmer, to Sam Snead, each player trusted a Canterbury caddie to guide them through this Major Championship. Canterbury member and Invitational participant Dr. Dan Breitenbach was on the bag of the 1973 British Open Champion Tom Weiskopf. Weiskopf was in the hunt all week and finished in a tie for 6th. Also of note, current Canterbury caddies Wink McLaughlan and Mike Nagy caddied for Tour stars David Graham and Miller Barber respectively.
The tournament started out with Al Geiberger and Don Iverson each shooting 67 for a share of the first round lead. At the midway point, Iverson and Mason Rudolph shared the lead, but the Golden Bear was lurking just a single shot back. By the time the weekend arrived, Jack Nicklaus found himself on top of the leaderboard after firing a third round 68. But there were many players within striking distance.
Though Nicklaus started the day with just a one shot lead, he built the margin to three with back to back birdies on the 6th and 7th holes. Famed sportswriter Dan Jenkins said, “Nicklaus’ victory came in typical fashion: an unrelenting errorless application of pressure to his opponents.” The two biggest shots of the tournament came at the 13th and 15th holes. At 13, Nicklaus hit a low fading long iron from the right trees onto the green to secure a par. Then at 15 a high towering 8 iron from the rough over the trees and onto the green setting up a birdie and all but assuring the victory.
A victory that was Jack Nicklaus’ 14th major championship, breaking Bobby Jones’ record for career major championship titles. A historic event that all happened here at Canterbury.
During the 1973 PGA Championship Canterbury played at 6,852 yards with a par of 71. Nicklaus winning score of 277 bested the field by 4 shots. He took home a winner’s share of $45,000.