John Mahaffey

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John Mahaffey
Personal information
Full name John Drayton Mahaffey Jr.
Born (1948-05-09) May 9, 1948 (age 70)
Kerrville, Texas
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight 160 lb (73 kg; 11 st)
Nationality  United States
Residence The Woodlands, Texas
College University of Houston
Turned professional 1971
Former tour(s) PGA Tour
Champions Tour
Professional wins 15
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour 10
PGA Tour Champions 1
Other 4
Best results in major championships
(wins: 1)
Masters Tournament T8: 1981
U.S. Open 2nd: 1975
The Open Championship T10: 1975
PGA Championship Won: 1978

John Drayton Mahaffey Jr. (born May 9, 1948) is an American professional golfer who has won numerous tournaments including 10 PGA Tour events.

Mahaffey was born in Kerrville, Texas. He attended the University of Houston in Houston, Texas. He turned pro in 1971 after graduating in 1970 with a degree in psychology.

Mahaffey came close to winning back to back U.S. Opens. In 1975 he lost in a playoff to Lou Graham at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Illinois. The following year Mahaffey had a two-shot lead after 54 holes at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Georgia before shooting a final round 73 and finishing T4th.

In 1978, he won twice on the tour that year including one major, the PGA Championship. He also won the World Cup individual and team event where he was paired with Andy North that year.

The 1978 PGA championship was held at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pennsylvania. Mahaffey became the best comeback winner in PGA history after trailing Tom Watson by seven strokes with 14 holes to play. Ultimately, the tournament came down to a three-player playoff – Mahaffey, Watson and Jerry Pate. All three players made par on the first playoff hole. The drama ended on the second playoff hole when Pate missed the green, Watson missed a 30-foot birdie attempt and Mahaffey made his 12-foot birdie putt for the Championship.[1]

Mahaffey played on the 1979 Ryder Cup team.

Mahaffey currently lives near Houston at The Woodlands in his home state of Texas. His family includes wife Elizabeth, son John D. III (born 1988) and daughter Meagan (born 1992). In his spare time, he enjoys fishing. Early in his career, Mahaffey was often sought out by other players to do comedic imitations for which he has a special talent. He last played on the Champions Tour in 2007. He works as a announcer on Golf Channel telecasts of the PGA Tour Champions.

Amateur wins (1)

Professional wins (15)

PGA Tour wins (10)

Major championships (1)
Players Championships (1)
Other PGA Tour (8)
No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of victory Runner(s)-up
1 Oct 28, 1973 Sahara Invitational −13 (68-66-69-68=271) 3 strokes United States Dave Eichelberger
2 Aug 6, 1978 PGA Championship −8 (75-67-68-66=276) Playoff United States Jerry Pate, United States Tom Watson
3 Aug 13, 1978 American Optical Classic −14 (71-65-67-67=270) 2 strokes United States Raymond Floyd, United States Gil Morgan
4 Jan 14, 1979 Bob Hope Desert Classic −17 (66-66-71-71-69=343) 1 stroke United States Lee Trevino
5 Jun 1, 1980 Kemper Open −13 (68-72-67-68=275) 3 strokes United States Craig Stadler
6 July 26, 1981 Anheuser-Busch Golf Classic −8 (72-67-70-67=276) 2 strokes United States Andy North
7 Jan 15, 1984 Bob Hope Classic −20 (66-70-70-68-66=340) Playoff United States Jim Simons
8 Sep 29, 1985 Texas Open −12 (68-68-65-67=268) Playoff United States Jodie Mudd
9 Mar 30, 1986 Tournament Players Championship −13 (69-70-65-71=275) 1 stroke United States Larry Mize
10 Aug 6, 1989 Federal Express St. Jude Classic −12 (70-71-66-65=272) 3 strokes United States Bob Gilder, United States Hubert Green,
Germany Bernhard Langer, United States Bob Tway

PGA Tour playoff record (3–2)

No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 1975 U.S. Open United States Lou Graham Lost 18-hole playoff (Graham:71, Mahaffey:73)
2 1978 PGA Championship United States Jerry Pate, United States Tom Watson Won with birdie on second extra hole
3 1984 Bob Hope Desert Classic United States Jim Simons Won with par on second extra hole
4 1985 Anheuser-Busch Golf Classic United States Mark Wiebe Lost to birdie on first extra hole
5 1985 Texas Open United States Jodie Mudd Won with par on second extra hole

Other wins (4)

Champions Tour wins (1)

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 Jun 20, 1999 Southwestern Bell Dominion −12 (67-67-70=204) Playoff Spain José Maria Cañizares, United States Bruce Fleisher

Champions Tour playoff record (1–1)

No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 1999 Southwestern Bell Dominion Spain José Maria Cañizares, United States Bruce Fleisher Won with birdie on second extra hole
Fleisher eliminated with birdie on first hole
2 2002 FleetBoston Classic United States Bob Gilder Lost to birdie on third extra hole

Major championships

Wins (1)

Year Championship 54 holes Winning score Margin Runners-up
1978 PGA Championship 7 shot deficit −8 (75-67-68-66=276) Playoff1 United States Jerry Pate, United States Tom Watson

1Defeated Pate and Watson with a birdie on the second extra hole.

Results timeline

Tournament 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
Masters Tournament CUT CUT T39
U.S. Open T36 LA CUT T29 T12 2 T4 T36
The Open Championship T44 T10
PGA Championship T30 T9 T28 WD 1 T51
Tournament 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
Masters Tournament T44 T8 CUT T40 CUT T14 T42 T35
U.S. Open T28 CUT T22 T34 T30 T39 CUT T24 T46
The Open Championship T32 T30
PGA Championship T15 CUT T42 CUT T20 T23 CUT T65 T15 CUT
Tournament 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997
Masters Tournament T42
The Open Championship
  Top 10
  Did not play

LA = Low amateur
CUT = missed the halfway cut
WD = Withdrew
"T" indicates a tie for a place.


Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 0 0 0 0 1 2 12 8
U.S. Open 0 1 0 2 2 5 20 13
The Open Championship 0 0 0 0 1 1 4 4
PGA Championship 1 0 0 1 2 6 23 12
Totals 1 1 0 3 6 14 59 37
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 8 (1978 PGA – 1981 Masters)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 2 (1975 U.S. Open – 1975 Open Championship)

U.S. national team appearances


See also


  1. ^ "PGA Championship History – 1978: Never count a golfer out". PGA of America. Retrieved November 15, 2013.

External links

  • John Mahaffey at the PGA Tour official site
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