With the buzz of the upcoming Ryder Cup this weekend, Michael Haywood has received a very important endorsement for his PGA Secretary campaign from PGA Member, World Golf Hall of Famer and decorated Ryder Cup Player and Captain, Lanny Wadkins.
“Michael possesses the leadership qualities and skills necessary to lead the PGA to new heights. He is the quality of character and demeanor that will represent the PGA member in everything he does. Michael’s leadership and decision making has been tested as a Chapter, Section, and National leader, and is someone the membership can TRUST and BELIEVE in to represent their best interests at all times. Michael is the right PGA professional who will lend balance, perspective, and experience to the PGA of America. That is why me and many of my colleagues are in 100% support of Michael’s election as the next PGA of America Secretary.” – Lanny Wadkins 1977 PGA Champion, World Golf Hall of Fame Member, 8-time Ryder Cup Player, & Captain of the 1995 Ryder Cup Team
It is axiomatic that the more Ryder Cup Teams one plays, the more records one has the possibility of setting. So it is with Wadkins. He ranks third in most matches played with 34, third in most points won with 21-1/2, sixth in most singles matches played with eight, tied for first in most foursome matches with 15, tied for third in most four-ball matches with 11, tied for second in most matches won with 20, tied for first in most foursome matches won with nine and tied for first in most four-ball matches won. Clearly, it is one of the strongest ever Ryder Cup records for an American player.
Wadkins’ finest moment in the Ryder Cup came in the final round of the 1983 matches at PGA National Golf Club. With the score tied 12-1/2 – 12-1/2, three matches were left on the course. Sam Torrance and Tom Kite worked to a half, as Tom Watson was one-up on Bernard Gallacher on the 16th and Wadkins was one down to Jose Maria Canizaries playing 18. All of the pressure was on Wadkins. Laying up on the par-5 18th hole, Wadkins was about 70 yards from a pin tucked just behind a large bunker. He almost holed his wedge shot, as the ball stopped about a foot from the cup. With a Wadkins birdie to win the hole, the match was halved and the U.S. side earned the crucial 1/2 point. Almost simultaneously, Watson closed out Gallacher on 17. The U.S. had eked out the win over the Europeans by one slim point, 14-1/2 – 13-1/2.
Wadkins later told a relieved Captain Jack Nicklaus, “It was only the most important shot of my life, Jack. There’s nobody I’d rather have hit it for.”