Milwaukee Championship History

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 11: Golf Pro Greg Norman poses during a photo call at the Langham Hotel before being inducted in to the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in Melbourne on 11 October 2007. (Photo by Simon Fergusson/Getty Images)The Milwaukee Championship will probably be best remembered as the indefatigable Tiger Woods’ debut tournament. In 1996 he tied 60th and made $2 544 for his efforts. Who would have guessed that from those humble beginnings a true legend of the game would emerge!

The first events of the Milwaukee Championship were held sporadically. The inaugural tournament took place in 1940, and nine years later saw the second event being contested at the North Hills Country Club in Menomonee Falls.

The tournament, however, only really came of age in 1968 when, dubbed as the Greater Milwaukee Open, it offered the second highest purse on the PGA Tour – $200 000 – which was a fortune in those days. In that year the competition coincided with the British Open, and in an effort to put it firmly on the map the prize money was increased.

In Milwaukee Championship history, the lure of big money paid off remarkably well and ’68 US Open champion, Lee Trevino, opted to play in the Greater Milwaukee Open instead of the elite British Open. This must have ruffled some feathers of the European Tour! In any event, the Milwaukee Championship had arrived.

Another major move forward for the tournament was in 2007 when it became part of the new PGA Tour FedExCup competition. Players taking part would, for the first time, be awarded points which in turn determine their seeding for the PGA Tour playoffs for the FedExCup.

Over the years the event has been hosted by several different golf clubs throughout Wisconsin:

  • North Hills Country Club, Menomonee Falls – 1940, 1951, 1960 – 1961
  • Blue Mound Golf Club,Wauwatosa – 1955
  • Tripoli Country Club,Milwaukee – 1956-1959, 1971-1972
  • Tuckaway Country Club,Franklin – 1973 – 1993
  • Brown Deer Park Golf Club, Milwaukee – 1994 – 2008

All through its history the event has attracted some of the most influential international golfers of all times. Names like Snead, Nicklaus and Player littered the earlier fields, and more recently ‘The Shark’, Australia’s Greg Norman (1989), and America’s Mark O’Meara (1984) and Jay Haas (1981) have left Wisconsin a tad richer.

Make Milwaukee Championship history – and a couple of bob – by predicting the winner!

Could Heath Slocum or Fred Funk improve on their scores of 269 which elevated them to runner-up status in 2003 and 2004 respectively, or will we see a non-American claim the title for the first time since Paraguay’s Carlo Franco beat the field in 2004?