Mark Hayes claims THE PLAYERS 1977 title in 40 MPH winds

Mark Hayes


1977 Champion

Mark Hayes

United States | Score: 289

1949 - 2018

Player Profile


When the wind starts blowing (fiercely), we go inside and drink iced tea.

Mark Hayes

As a card-carrying member of the famed “Oak Tree Gang,” Mark Hayes knew he could handle a robust blast of wind.

But what Mother Nature provided for big stretches of THE PLAYERS Championship at Sawgrass Country Club in 1977 brought to mind what Hayes’ Oak Tree CC pal, Bob Tway, once said about “fun” rounds at their course in Edmond, Okla.: “When the wind starts blowing (fiercely), we go inside and drink iced tea.”

Ah, but the best field in golf didn’t have that luxury as the March weather presented a demanding challenge in the first of five straight years at the seaside Sawgrass CC. Fortunately, Hayes’ Oklahoma roots had provided valuable experience against sturdy winds, so as others struggled, he maintained composure.

Six behind after the first day, the then 27-year-old Hayes, a two-time winner in 1976, shot a second-round 74 in 40 mph winds. Weekend scores of 71-72 left Hayes at 1-over 289, the only over-par score that won a PGA TOUR tournament that season.

Not that wind was Hayes’ only challenge, because the game’s best were in the hunt. Jack Nicklaus was within striking distance until he three-putted the 14th and Tom Watson had visions of winning before taking 41 strokes on his final nine holes.

Both Nicklaus and Watson finished tied for fifth, four back, as Mike McCullough eventually was second, two behind Hayes, who recorded the last of his three PGA TOUR wins.

More Hayes Articles

Past Champion: Mark Hayes, 1977

A second round dubbed “Black Friday” annihilated half of the field. Playing in 40-mile per hour winds, Mark Hayes predicted it wouldn’t take “a real low” to win, and his prophecy came to fruition.


Mark Hayes' Historic Wins

A final-round score of even-par 72 for a 289 total gave Hayes, 20 strokes higher than the previous year’s, and the highest winning PGA TOUR total score in the previous five years.