Memorable Moments

75th Anniversary Celebration

Welcome to the 75 Memorable Moments series in the history of the Charles Schwab Challenge golf tournament. We have selected 75 important moments in Colonial's 75 decades of hosting the world's greatest golfers. Each week, four new historic moments will be unveiled, taking us all the way to Tournament Week May 24-30. Enjoy!

JAN 1936

The vision of Fort Worth businessman Marvin Leonard is realized with the opening of Colonial, a golf course featuring bent grass greens deep in the southwestern United States. His ultimate goal was to bring championship golf to his beloved city.

MAY 8, 1940

The USGA awards Colonial the 1941 U.S. Open Championship, which Leonard and many friends and associates had been lobbying for since the club opened. They guaranteed the USGA it would be a financial success.

Summer of 1940

Spurred by a mandate from the USGA to improve the easy 4th hole prior to the 1941 Open, Leonard hires celebrated architect Perry Maxwell to redesign holes 3, 4 and 5, which become the hardest holes on the course. This became infamously known as the “Horrible Horseshoe".

OCT 1940

The greatest female athlete of all time, Texan Babe Zaharias, wins the Texas Women’s Open at Colonial. This was one of many tournaments and exhibitions hosted in the early years to help set the stage for much bigger events at Colonial. (Zaharias would win two more Women’s Opens at Colonial.)

JUN 5-7 1941

The 1941 U.S. Open is held in the South for the first time in USGA history, thanks to the determination and perseverance of Colonial founder Marvin Leonard. Its success made an annual professional event conceivable. Preliminary planning for a 1942 tour event began in August.

DEC 7, 1941

The Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, forestalling plans for a 1942 Colonial National Invitation event until after the War.

MAY 29, 1945

Three weeks after V-E Day, Colonial announces formal plans for a 1946 Colonial National Invitation Tournament that would be second to none. The announced purse of $15,000 was even bigger than the Masters’ purse.

MAY 19, 1946

Hometown boy Ben Hogan captures the first Colonial NIT with a stunning 65 in the final round to overtake Sam Snead and others. His 65 stood as the course record for 24 years!

MAY 1947

Ben Hogan captures his second consecutive Colonial NIT title. Cary Middlecoff records Colonial's first eagle, on the par four sixth hole. Colonial experiences its first weather delay, a rain-out of Friday's second round, causing a 36-hole Sunday finish.

MAY 30, 1948

Clayton Heafner runs away with a record-breaking victory, including four sub-par rounds that led from start to finish, both firsts. His 72-hole score of 8-under par stood for 27 years.

MAY 1949

Heavy rains and major flooding inundate the course and city of Fort Worth prior to the tournament, and ultimately force its cancellation a week later.

MAY 1950

Live television coverage makes its Colonial debut on the weekend, with WBAP-TV broadcasting to area homes. Radio stations blanket the state of Texas with live coverage as well.

MAY 1950

After eagling the very first hole, Sam Snead leads the NIT wire-to-wire as payback for Hogan beating him at his home tournament (Greenbrier) just weeks earlier. The sparkling new 5-foot tall, permanent Leonard Trophy is introduced.

MAY 1951

Thanks to record attendance, Colonial is able to operate the tournament in the black for the first time, ensuring the event’s immediate future.

APRIL 1952

Colonial introduces its new tradition of a Scottish tartan plaid jacket for the winner.

MAY 25, 1952

Hogan comes from six shots back to win his third Colonial title as local pro Raymond Gafford suffers a collapse in the 36-hole Sunday finish.

MAY 1953

Colonial begins its unique tradition of having two Champions' Choice invitees selected to compete by past winners. This remains unique on the PGA TOUR today.

MAY 1953

Overcoming a major clubhouse fire just one month before the tournament, the event goes on. Despite very windy conditions Hogan wins his fourth NIT title, thanks to a masterful final round, in the most incredible and celebrated year of his career.

MAY 5, 1955

Arnold Palmer makes his first Colonial appearance, having just turned pro at age 25.

MAY 8, 1955

Chandler Harper wins by eight shots, the widest margin of victory in Colonial history which still stands today.

MAY 1956

Golf Digest reports that Colonial has reached the "same class as the U.S. Open and Masters."

MAY 3, 1956

George Bayer hits 4-wood approach at 18 onto the roof of the new Colonial clubhouse. Bogey.

MAY 5, 1957

Argentine Roberto De Vicenzo becomes Colonial's first foreign winner.

MAY 4, 1958

Thankfully, after a rain-soaked 1957 event and another wet week in 1958, the sun comes out on the weekend as Tommy Bolt edges Ken Venturi for the win. Colonial officials said afterwards that more rain on the weekend may have put the event so far in the red that it could have meant the end of the tournament.

MAY 3, 1959

Hogan wins a dramatic fifth Colonial title in the tournament's first-ever playoff. Fittingly, it is Hogan's final career victory.

MAY 10, 1961

Colonial holds its first Pro-Am event prior to the main tournament.

MAY 11, 1961

Kel Nagle records Colonial's first tournament ace, on #13 – in front of playing partner Ben Hogan. The three amateur competitors in the event that year are British Amateur Champ Charles Coe, World Amateur Champ Jack Nicklaus (his first NIT) and U.S. Amateur Champ Deane Beman.

MAY 14, 1962

Attempting to pass up Colonial after winning three of four tournaments, and two in a row, Arnold Palmer is arm-twisted by tournament officials to honor his prior commitment to play. He does, and wins.

MAY 13-14, 1962

Two days in a row, contender Bruce Crampton hits into the lake on the 18th hole. He loses the tournament by one shot, and that is how “Crampton’s Lake” got its name.

MAY 1963

A feud with the PGA and its players over invitation criteria comes to a head, and the future of Colonial's tournament is in doubt. But cooler heads prevail, a compromise is reached, and Colonial quickly regains its prestigious place on the "official" PGA calendar.

MAY 12, 1963

Julius Boros becomes the first player besides Ben Hogan to win at Colonial more than once. Gary Player finishes second, Jack Nicklaus third. Ironically, this is the first NIT missed by Hogan.

MAY 1964

Colonial makes its live national television debut on ABC Saturday and Sunday.

APRIL 1965

Ben Hogan is named in a national poll as the Greatest Professional Golfer of All Time. He is presented the honor during festivities at the Colonial NIT the following month.

MAY 11 1965

Colonial's purse reaches the $100,000 mark, and rain postpones the event's finish until Tuesday. Bruce Crampton exorcises his demons from three years earlier by avoiding the #18 lake and winning.

MAY 21 1967

Dave Stockton, as a 25-year-old Champions' Choice, stuns the field and wins on his first visit.

MAY 19 1968

Billy Casper becomes Colonial's third "multiple" champ, winning his second NIT by five shots.

MAY 1969

With 100 players in the field, this year marks the first time a 36-hole cut is made at Colonial.

MAY 17 1970

Dale Douglass fires a 63 in the third round to shatter Hogan's 24-year-old scoring record of 65. Ironically, it is Hogan's last NIT.

MAY 23 1971

After finishing second three times, future Hall of Famer Gene Littler finally breaks through for victory on a windy Sunday

MAY 1973

One of the LPGA Tour’s founders, Marilynn Smith, becomes the first woman to provide television color commentary at a men’s PGA Tour event, at Colonial for ABC.

MAY 13 1973

On his way to Golfer of the Year honors, Tom Weiskopf out-duels Bruce Crampton on Sunday for the title. A double-bogey on the final hole costs Crampton the championship.

MAY 1974

CBS begins its long-running broadcast relationship with Colonial.

AUGUST 1975

The now-famous Wall of Champions makes its debut on the first tee.

AUGUST 24 1975

Colonial hosts the Tour's second annual Tournament Players Championship, as Al Geiberger collects his first of two wins in Fort Worth with a record-breaking score of 10-under par. In so doing, Colonial becomes the only course in America to host a U.S. Open, a Tournament Players Championship and a regular PGA TOUR event.

MAY 11 1978

George Burns scores the first double-eagle in tournament history, on the par five first hole Thursday.

MAY 1978

Tom Watson becomes the first player to fire four consecutive sub-par rounds in the tournament and not win. In fact, he loses by five shots. Lee Trevino carves out a new course record of 12-under par for his second Colonial title.

MAY 1979

Al Geiberger becomes Colonial's fifth "multiple" champ with his win.

MAY 1980

Bruce Lietzke sinks a 25-foot birdie on the final hole to nip Ben Crenshaw and earn the distinction of being the first player ever to birdie the tournament's 72nd hole for victory.

MAY 1982

Colonial reaches the million dollar mark in ticket sales for the first time, as Jack Nicklaus, after a six-year hiatus from Fort Worth to start his own event, returns and charges to victory.

MAY 1983

Colonial sees its first sudden-death playoff, a six-hole marathon won by Jim Colbert over former champ Fuzzy Zoeller.

MAY 1985

Corey Pavin becomes the third youngest player ever to win at Colonial to date, while breaking practically every tournament scoring record. He leads from start to finish and shoots 14-under-par to win by four. Pavin, Ben Crenshaw (’77) and Jerry Heard (’72) were all 25 when they won.

FEB 1986

GOLF Magazine survey of pros names Colonial's event as one of the "Ten Most Prestigious Tournaments in Golf".

MAY 1986

Heavy rains prevent players from even stepping on-course Saturday. The forecast for Sunday is iffy, so only 18 holes are scheduled, and the tournament ends at 54 holes. (It never rains on Sunday, so 36 holes actually could have been played.) This is the only year the event has failed to complete 72 holes. Dan Pohl beat Payne Stewart in a playoff, the second playoff loss at Colonial for Stewart in three years.

MAY 1987

Keith Clearwater, in Colonial's 36-hole Sunday finish, shoots an incredible 64-64 to tie Pavin's tournament record and become the third player to win here on his first try. It's the only time Colonial's champ finished the event on hole #9.

MAY 1989

Colonial's purse reaches $1 million. A sponsor's exemption entry from Australia, Ian Baker-Finch, recommended to tournament officials by Greg Norman, runs away with the title.

MAY 1990

Texas favorite Ben Crenshaw claims his second Colonial win.

MAY 1992

Bruce Lietzke claims his second Colonial title, staving off '85 champ Corey Pavin in a playoff.

MAY 1993

Clearwater and Lee Janzen fire 61s to set a new Colonial 18-hole record. Fulton Allem outduels Greg Norman for the title and a then-record 16-under-par.

MAY 1994

Nick Price stages Colonial's biggest final round rally in history, making up seven shots to Scott Simpson and winning a sudden-death playoff on Monday morning. This comes in a phenomenal year for Price, who rises to the #1 world ranking and captures Player of the Year honors.

MAY 1996

Reigning U.S. Open champ Corey Pavin charges from behind to claim his second Colonial title.




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