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When Was Golf First Televised?

Golf History FAQ: First Television Appearance

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The 1947 U.S. Open was televised locally in St. Louis, Mo., by station KSD-TV. Lew Worsham (remember that name) defeated Sam Snead in a playoff.

It would take until 1953 before the first nationally televised golf tournament.

It was the Tam O'Shanter World Championship, played just outside Chicago and televised by ABC. But get this - the owner of the club paid ABC to televise the tournament!

The owner of Tam O'Shanter Country Club was a fellow named George S. May. May must have been quite a golf lover, and quite willing to part with his money. Because, while he started hosting pro tournaments in the 1940s, by 1953 he was putting on four tournaments simultaneously (men's, women's and amateur events).

In 1953 his purse included a winner's share of $25,000, which by itself exceeded the total purse of every other event on the PGA Tour.

The hullabaloo over the (for the time) outrageous money involved - and the fact that May was also willing to pay ABC - prompted the network to dive in with the first national golf broadcast.

And the tournament wound up producing one of the great shots in golf history.

Lew Worsham (told you to remember that name) was trailing the leader in the clubhouse, Chandler Harper, by one stroke as he teed off No. 18 in the final round.

His drive left Worsham 115 yards to the green. He hit a wedge onto the putting surface and watched it roll 45 feet right into the hole - an eagle, and a one-shot victory.

In many respects, that shot - in the first nationally televised golf tournament - helped launch golf into the American mainstream.

Note: A Golf Magazine article about the tournament served as the primary source material.

Back to Golf History FAQ Homepage

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