1936 PGA Championship: Shute Scrambles to Victory

4th green on the No. 2 Course at Pinehurst photographed in 1999
Pinehurst No. 4 was the site of the 1936 PGA Championship. Craig Jones/Getty Images

Denny Shute scrambled his way - literally, his scrambling ability was key in the final match - to the title at the 1936 PGA Championship tournament.

Quick Bits

  • Championship match: Denny Shute over Jimmy Thomson
  • Dates: Nov. 17-22, 1936
  • Golf course: No. 2 Course at Pinehurst Resort
  • Tournament number: This was the 19th time the PGA Championship was played.

Notes on the 1936 PGA Championship

Denny Shute won his second major championship title at the 1936 PGA Championship, beating Jimmy Thomson in the final, 3 and 2. Shute won this tournament again the following year, and earlier won the 1933 British Open.

Thomson was a native of Scotland who moved to the United States when his father took a club pro job in Virginia. He was known as a prodigious driver of the ball, winning numerous long-drive contests. Thomson won two PGA Tour titles, and also finished second in the 1935 U.S. Open.

Shute was outdriven by a wide margin throughout the championship match, sometimes by as much as 60 yards. But Shute scrambled around the No. 2 Course at Pinehurst. He got up-and-down from bunkers nine times during the championship match, and made a lot of putts to win the match.

To reach the final, Shute beat Alex Gerlak, Al Zimmerman, Will Burke and "Wild Bill" Mehlhorn; Thomson defeated Rod Munday, Willie Klein, Henry Picard, Jug McSpaden and Craig Wood.

There were quite a few big names eliminated early. Among those who failed to advance out of the stroke-play qualifier were Walter Hagen, Leo Diegel and Byron Nelson. It was Nelson's first participation in a PGA Championship.

First-round match play losers included former PGA champions Gene Sarazen, Paul Runyan and Tommy Armour. Jimmy Demaret also lost in the first round, and defending champion Johnny Revolta fell in the second round.

We've mentioned the Pinehurst No. 2 course a couple times. This was the very first major played at that famous course. In fact, another major didn't arrive at Pinehurst until the 1999 U.S. Open (but in that major  interregnum, the 1951 Ryder Cup was played there.)

1936 PGA Championship Scores

Results from later matches at the 1936 PGA Championship golf tournament played on the No. 2 Course at Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, North Carolina (all listed matches scheduled for 36 holes):

Round of 16

  • Jug McSpaden def. Leo Walper, 4 and 3
  • Jimmy Thomson def. Henry Picard, 4 and 2
  • Craig Wood def. Harry Cooper, 2 and 1
  • Tony Manero def. Bobby Cruickshank, 4 and 2
  • Horton Smith def. Willie Goggin, 2 and 1
  • Denny Shute def. Billy Burke, 2 and 1
  • Bill Mehlhorn def. Ed Dudley, 6 and 4
  • Jimmy Hines def. Vic Ghezzi, 4 and 3


  • Denny Shute def. Horton Smith, 3 and 2
  • Bill Mehlhorn def. Jimmy Hines, 4 and 2
  • Jimmy Thomson def. Jug McSpaden, 1-up
  • Craig Wood def. Tony Manero, 5 and 4


  • Denny Shute def. Bill Mehlhorn, 1-up
  • Jimmy Thomson def. Craig Wood, 4 and 3

Championship Match

  • Denny Shute def. Jimmy Thomson, 3 and 2

1935 PGA Championship | 1937 PGA Championship

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