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1979: The Year in Golf


TaylorMade First Metal Wood

The first metal wood made by TaylorMade, a 12-degree driver marketed in 1979.

Courtesy of TaylorMade-adidas; used with permission
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TaylorMade is founded and introduces its first metal wood at the PGA Merchandise Show. Woods with metal heads had sporadically shown up before on the PGA Tour, and metal woods were frequently used as driving range clubs. But TaylorMade's metal wood started the growth of the product and was destined to drive persimmon almost completely out of golf.

Ron Streck and Jim Simons play 12-degree TaylorMade metal drivers in the MONY Tournament of Champions, the first appearances of a metal wood on the PGA Tour.

Ryder Cup matches are opened to players from all of Europe, rather than just Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team still wins, 17-11.

The Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf - a team event for seniors that is considered the launching pad of the Senior Tour - is played in Austin, Texas. Roberto De Vicenzo and Julius Boros beat Tommy Bolt and Art Wall in a 6-hole playoff.

Signalling a coming tide of great European players, 22-year-old Seve Ballesteros wins the British Open.

Playing the PGA Quad cities Open, 67-year-old Sam Snead shoots rounds of 67 and 66. He is the only player to shoot his age on the PGA Tour, and also at this tournament becomes the oldest golfer to make a cut on the PGA Tour.

David Graham's PGA Championship win comes the hard way. He double-bogeys the final hole (still finishing with 65) to fall into a playoff against Ben Crenshaw, then birdies to win on the third playoff hole.

Nine years after retiring from full-time competition at age 34 - and six years after her final LPGA victory - Mickey Wright plays her way into a five-way playoff at the LPGA Coca-Cola Classic. Also in the playoff are Nancy Lopez, Bonnie Bryant, Hollis Stacy and Jo Ann Washam. Lopez wins.

Nancy Lopez follows up her rookie season on the LPGA Tour with eight wins, the Vare Trophy and Player of the Year award.

Fuzzy Zoeller earns his first PGA Tour victory at the Andy Williams San Diego Open.

Born This Year:

• Charles Howell III, PGA Tour
Grace Park, LPGA Tour

Died This Year:

• Chick Evans, 1916 U.S. Open winner, 2-time U.S. Amateur winner
• Tom Creavy, 1931 PGA Championship winner

Money Leaders:

PGA: Tom Watson, $462,636
LPGA: Nancy Lopez, $197,489
European: Sandy Lyle, Scotland, £ 49,232

Scoring Leaders:

PGA (Vardon Trophy): Tom Watson, 70.27
LPGA (Vare Trophy): Nancy Lopez, 71.20

Men's Major Championship Winners:

The Masters: Fuzzy Zoeller
U.S. Open: Hale Irwin
British Open: Seve Ballesteros
PGA Championship: David Graham

Women's Major Championship Winners:

LPGA: Donna Caponi
U.S. Open: Jerilyn Britz
du Maurier: Amy Alcott

Amateur Champions
U.S.: Mark O'Meara
British: Jay Sigel
U.S. Women's: Carolyn Hill
British Women's: Maureen Madill

Ryder Cup
U.S. 17, Europe 11

Walker Cup
U.S. 15.5, Great Britain and Ireland 8.5

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