1978 PGA Championship Winner and Scores

The 1978 PGA Championship was the 60th time the tournament was played, and it was decided in a three-man playoff. The winner needed the biggest final-round comeback in PGA Championship history to get that victory.

Winner: John Mahaffey, 276

Where it was played: Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pennsylvania

Tournament dates: August 3-6, 1978

Leader after first round: Tom Watson, 67

Leader after second round: Tom Watson, 136

Leader after third round: Tom Watson, 203

What Happened at the 1978 PGA Championship

By the time of the 1978 PGA Championship, Tom Watson was a 3-time major winner. He went on from here to win five more majors over the course of his career. In total, Watson won five British Opens, two Masters and one U.S. Open. The only major preventing Watson from claiming the career Grand Slam was the PGA Championship.

Watson never won the PGA Championship, so of course you know he didn't win this one. But the 1978 PGA Championship was his best chance at winning, and was a tournament he should have won.

Watson opened 67-69-67. He was the first-round leader, the second-round leader and the third-round leader. Watson had a five-stroke lead over Jerry Pate entering the final round.

Then he blew it. Watson carded a 73 in that final round, while Pate shot 68 to tie Watson atop the leaderboard. The really big mover, however, was John Mahaffey, whose 66 propelled him from seven shots behind Watson — he was tied for fifth after Round 3 — into a 3-way tie for the lead at the end of 72 holes. Pate himself blew a golden opportunity for the win, lipping out a 4-footer for par on the 72nd hole that would have given him the victory.

Watson, Pate and Mahaffey entered a sudden-death playoff. All three parred the first extra hole, then Mahaffey won it with a 12-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole.

Watson never again came as close to winning a PGA Championship. For Mahaffey, it was his first PGA Tour win in five years, just the second PGA Tour win of his career. He went on to win 10 times total on the PGA Tour, and came close in a couple other majors (including losing in another major playoff, to Lou Graham in the 1975 U.S. Open), but the 1978 PGA Championship was Mahaffey's only win in a major. He put himself in the record books with this win, however: He made up a 7-stroke deficit in the final round to win, the biggest final-round comeback in PGA Championship history.

1978 PGA Championship Final Scores

John Mahaffey 75-67-68-66—276
Jerry Pate 72-70-66-68—276
Tom Watson 67-69-67-73—276
Tom Weiskopf 73-67-69-71—280
Gil Morgan 76-71-66-67—280
Craig Stadler 70-74-67-71—282
Andy Bean 72-72-70-70—284
Lee Trevino 69-73-70-72—284
Graham Marsh 72-74-68-70—284
Fuzzy Zoeller 75-69-73-68—285
Joe Inman 72-68-69-77—286
Hale Irwin 73-71-73-70—287
John Schroeder 76-69-70-72—287
Larry Nelson 76-71-70-70—287
Billy Kratzert 70-77-73-67—287
Grier Jones 70-73-71-74—288
Ben Crenshaw 69-71-75-73—288
Phil Hancock 70-73-70-75—288
Bob Gilder 74-71-70-74—289
Dave Stockton 68-75-74-72—289
Wally Armstrong 71-73-75-70—289
Don January 73-72-75-69—289
Bobby Nichols 75-67-73-74—289
Kermit Zarley 75-71-67-76—289
George Burns 79-68-70-72—289
Peter Oosterhuis 73-72-72-73—290
Bob Shearer 73-73-71-73—290
Hubert Green 71-71-74-74—290
Bob Zender 73-69-74-74—290
George Cadle 74-74-74-68—290
Greg Powers 75-70-75-70—290
Gary Player 76-72-71-71—290
Rod Curl 76-71-73-70—290
Jim Dent 74-74-70-73—291
Mike Sullivan 70-75-73-73—291
Lanny Wadkins 70-73-72-76—291
Victor Regalado 76-71-70-74—291
Keith Fergus 71-74-72-75—292
Danny Edwards 74-73-70-75—292
Morris Hatalsky 77-71-69-75—292
Johnny Miller 69-72-72-79—292
Bill Rogers 72-74-73-74—293
Dave Eichelberger 74-73-74-72—293
Lee Elder 71-76-73-73—293
Leonard Thompson 72-76-74-71—293
Andy North 76-71-73-73—293
Mike Morley 70-73-73-77—293
Dewitt Weaver 75-69-72-77—293
Rod Funseth 70-73-72-78—293
Tommy Aycock 74-72-75-73—294
Dave Hill 69-76-75-74—294
Raymond Floyd 76-72-73-73—294
Jack Newton 73-71-71-79—294
Bobby Cole 75-73-73-74—295
Bobby Wadkins 74-74-71-76—295
Bob Murphy 71-75-71-78—295
Tom Purtzer 72-70-78-75—295
Mike McCullough 76-71-75-74—296
Jay Haas 73-71-77-75—296
Curtis Strange 72-74-71-79—296
George Archer 76-67-77-77—297
Bruce Lietzke 75-72-73-78—298
Lon Hinkle 73-73-74-79—299
Laurie Hammer 74-72-77-77—300
Gary Koch 74-72-77-77—300
Howard Twitty 75-72-77-76—300
Ed Sneed 76-72-73-79—300
Jerry Heard 76-71-72-81—300
Jim Colbert 74-74-73-80—301
Bill Hall 76-72-77-78—303

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