PGA Championship Winners Who Were the Sons of PGA Pros

PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley is the son of a PGA Pro
The PGA Championship is one of the four majors of men's professional golf. It was founded in 1916 and has always been run by the PGA of America, the trade organization for club professionals across the United States.

One can imagine that if you grew up the son of a PGA of America golf professional, then, that winning the PGA Championship would have a little extra meaning for you. And that is exactly what the sons of PGA Professionals who have won the PGA Championship say.

How many times has that happened — how many times has the son of a PGA of America golf pro grown up to win the PGA Championship? So far, it's happened nine times.

The List: PGA Champions Whose Fathers Were PGA of America Pros

Chick Harbert, 1954

Chick Harbert earned his only win in a major at the 1954 PGA Championship, defeating Walter Burkemo in the final match to become the first son of a PGA of America Professional to win the PGA's own major. Harbert's dad was E.W. "Pop" Harbert, who was the pro at (among other places) Richmond (Ind.) Country Club, Hamilton (Ohio) Elks Club, and Battle Creek Country Club in Battle Creek, Mich. Pop was best-known, however, as the pro at Bobby Jones Golf Course in Sarasota, Fla. He also played in several Senior PGA Championships.

Doug Ford, 1955

The 1955 PGA Championship was the first of two wins in majors for Doug Ford. Here, he defeated Cary Middlecoff in the championship match. Ford's father was Mike Ford, who is also the family member who changed the family name from Fortunato to Ford. Mike was a pioneer of a sort: he owned an indoor driving range in Manhattan, at a time when indoor driving ranges were quite the novelty (they still are today in many places).

Jack Burke Jr., 1956

The 1956 PGA Championship was the third in a row whose winner was the son of a PGA of America Professional. Jack Burke Jr. defeated Ted Kroll in the championship match, one of his two wins in major championships.

Jack Burke Sr. was a longtime tournament player and club pro, working at many clubs in the Greater Philadelphia area: Delaware County Field Club, Hershey Country Club, Philadelphia Country Club, Aronimink Golf Club and Old York Road Country Club among them. Senior won one PGA Tour tournament plus several state opens, played in two PGA Championships and reached the Round of 16 in 1925, and was runner-up in the 1920 U.S. Open.

Dave Marr Jr., 1965

Dave Marr Jr. won the 1965 PGA Championship by two strokes over the pair of superstar runners-up, Billy Casper and Jack Nicklaus. His father, Dave Sr., was the longtime pro at a 9-hole golf course outside Houston. The Marrs didn't get along on the golf course, unfortunately, both suffering from bad tempers. Dave Jr. once told Golf Digest: "We butted heads. I don't think I ever finished a round of golf with my father. He had a bad temper and mine was worse."

Raymond Floyd, 1969 and 1982

Two of Raymond Floyd's four career major championship wins were in the PGA, in the 1969 PGA Championship and 1982 PGA Championship, making him the only golfer on this list to win it twice.

L.B. Floyd was dad to Raymond and LPGA Tour player Marlene Floyd. L.B. spent 21 years in the Army, many of those years as the head pro of the Army golf course at Fort Bragg, which is where Raymond and Marlene spent many years of their youths honing their games. L.B. Floyd also owned an off-base driving range, and later was a co-founder of Cypress Lakes Golf Club in Fayetteville, N.C.

Davis Love III, 1997

Davis Love III won the 1997 PGA Championship by five strokes, pulling away with a 66 in the final round. Love learned the game from his father, Davis Love Jr., who was a noted instructor who also taught LPGA Hall of Famer Beth Daniel. (Daniel and Love III partnered one another in mixed events several times over their careers, including two wins in the JCPenney Classic.)

Love Jr. played college golf at the University of Texas, where his future teaching style was heavily influenced by his coach there, Harvey Penick. As a player, Love Jr. won several state PGA championships, including the Carolinas Open and the Georgia PGA Championship three times. He played in the PGA Championship five times with a best finish of 55th, and tied for sixth in the 1969 British Open. He was the golf instructor at Sea Island Golf Club in Georgia when, in 1988, he was killed in a plane crash.

Rich Beem, 2002

Rich Beem, like Dave Marr earlier on this list, won "only" three PGA Tour titles, but one of them was the 2002 PGA Championship. And Beem did it by outdueling Tiger Woods, winning his major by one stroke over Tiger. His father Larry Beem was a longtime pro at various U.S. Army installations around the world. After retiring from the military, Larry was head coach of the men's golf team at New Mexico State University.

Keegan Bradley, 2011

Keegan Bradley's PGA win came via playoff at the 2011 PGA Championship. He and Jason Dufner tied at 8-under 272, then Bradley won the three-hole-aggregate playoff by one stroke. His father, Mark Bradley, was the PGA of America Professional at Haystack Golf Club in Wilmington, Vermont, when Keegan was born. By the time Keegan was a PGA Tour winner, Mark Bradley was director of instruction at Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis Club in Wyoming. Mark doesn't just have a famous son, but also a famous sister: LPGA Hall of Famer Pat Bradley.

Justin Thomas, 2017 and 2022

Justin Thomas joined this list by carding a 68 in the final round to hold off Louis Oosthuizen and Patrick Reed and win the 2017 PGA Championship by two strokes. Justin's father, Mike Thomas, was the longtime PGA Pro at Harmony Landing Country Club in Goshen, Kentucky, where Justin learned the game. And he learned it not just from dad Mike, but also from grandfather Paul Thomas, another PGA Pro who played in both the PGA Championship and U.S. Open. Justin Thomas added a second victory at the 2022 PGA Championship, winning in a playoff.

Photo credit: "Keegan Bradley" by Bröder Media Group is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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