Richard Stanwood sets the record for fewest putts in one round -- 15 -- at Riverside GC in Pocatello, ID.

The USGA institutes the Overall Distance Standard -- golf balls that fly more than 280 yards during a standard test are banned.

1977
Al Geiberger shoots 59 at Colonial CC in the second round of the Memphis Classic, to set a new PGA TOUR 18-hole record.

Bing Crosby dies after completing a round of golf in Spain. His Bing Crosby National Pro-Am continues for several years, but after relations sour between the PGA TOUR and the Crosby family, AT&T takes over sponsorship of the event.

The "sudden-death" playoff is used for the first time in a major championship, when Lanny Wadkins defeats Gene Littler for the PGA Championship played at Pebble Beach G.L.

In what has been described as the most exciting tournament in history, Tom Watson defeats Jack Nicklaus by one stroke in the British Open, at Turnberry. They were tied after the second and third rounds, and were paired with each other during the final 36 holes.

Tom Watson
Tom Watson

1978
The Legends of Golf is inaugurated at Onion Creek C.C. in Austin, Texas. Its popularity leads to the formation of the Senior TOUR two years later.

1979
The Ryder Cup is reformatted to add European continent players to the British-Scottish-Irish side, making the event far more competitive.

Taylor Made introduces the first metal woods.

1980
Tom Watson is the first golfer to earn $500,000 in prize money in a single season.

The PGA Senior TOUR is born, with four official events.

The U.S. Senior Open is instituted. Roberto De Vicenzo is the first winner.

Jack Nicklaus sets a record of 272 in the U.S. Open at Baltusrol. His mark is equalled in the 1993 U.S. Open by Lee Janzen, also at Baltusrol.

The USGA introduces the Symmetry Standard, banning balls such as the Polaris which correct themselves in flight.

Gary Wright completes 18 holes in a record 28 minutes 9 seconds at Twantin Noosa GC, Australia (6,039 yards).



1981
The Tournament Players Club at Sawgrass opens, with its controversial island green 17th hole, and immediately becomes the permanent host of the Tournament Players Championship. The TPC at Sawgrass becomes the prototype for a dozen "stadium" TPC courses around the United States, built specifically to host PGA TOUR co-sponsored events and affording better viewing for spectators.

The USGA institutes the Mid-Amateur.

Kathy Whitworth becomes the first woman to earn $1 million in career prize money.

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