Merrill Lynch Shootout
From 1994 to 1996, the Merrill Lynch PGA Shootout Championship took place at Mid Ocean Club in Bermuda.
In 1994, Corey Pavin was victorious in the championship, etching his name in golf history. Pavin's skillful touch was evident as he demonstrated a precise 70-yard pitch shot on the final hole, landing it within an impressive four feet and nine inches of the hole. The stakes were high as Pavin had earlier shown skills making a crucial up-and-down from the fringe to save par on the ninth and final hole, forcing a shootout with Craig Stadler. The playoff determined the ultimate winner of the 10-man championship.
The playoff format was that the player hitting closest to the pin would win the match. Stadler went first from a distance of 70 yards, but his ball took an unpredictable bounce, skipping past the hole. This set the stage for Pavin's decisive shot, which landed precisely as he had envisioned. Pavin secured the $130,000 top prize, while Stadler earned $80,000 for his commendable performance. Brett Ogle claimed the third spot, earning $55,000. Jeff Maggert, Scott Hoch, and the other participants rounded out the rankings.
The allure of the Merrill Lynch Shootout Championship extended beyond the course, as Bermuda embraced the opportunity to host this prestigious event. Plans were set in motion for Bermuda to serve as the event's host for future years, attracting golfing superstars like Nick Price, Greg Norman, Paul Azinger, and Lee Janzen.
Merrill Lynch and the professionals themselves recognized the exceptional quality of Mid Ocean Club and expressed their intent to continue this remarkable partnership. With the promise of televised exposure through ESPN and ABC, Bermuda's Tourism Ministry capitalized on this unique opportunity to showcase the island's beauty and charm during the off-season.
In 1995, Curtis Strange beat Scott Hoch in a playoff to win the Merrill Lynch Shootout Championship. After both players parred the ninth hole, Strange hits his 110-yard shot getting fust 15 feet 2.5 inches from the pin. Hoch's shot stopped 21 feet from the hole.
In 1996, Craig Stadler was named Champion in the Merrill Lynch Shootout, hitting a 90-yard lob wedge shot 8 feet, 8.5 inches from the pin in a final-hole tiebreaker with Scott Hoch, last year's winner. "The Best part of my game today was survival," said Stadler. "In a format like this, you can play well and get eliminated, or you can hit it all over the course and survive. That's what I did today."
Stadler and Hoch, chip-off survivors on the fifth and seventh holes, parred the final hole to force the deciding tiebreaker. Hock, who earned $90,000, hit his shot into the front bunker. Payne Stewart, who escaped three tiebreakers, bogeyed the eighth hole to drop out of the competition. He made $55,000.
Pavin, the 1994 winner, earned a $40,000 Retirement Plus Annuity from Merrill Lynch in the match. He hit a 5-iron shot 54.25 feet from the pin on the par-3 17th hole.