McIlroy excited about PGA at Whistling Straits

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff


RORY MCILROY, 2014 PGA champion, shares a laugh with Herbert V. Kohler, executive chairman of the Kohler Co., at Friday’s press conference at Whistling Straits. – Photo courtesy of the Kohler Co. RORY MCILROY, 2014 PGA champion, shares a laugh with Herbert V. Kohler, executive chairman of the Kohler Co., at Friday’s press conference at Whistling Straits. – Photo courtesy of the Kohler Co. HAVEN — Rory McIlroy is excited about his return to Whistling Straits for the 2015 PGA Championship.

McIlroy, the world’s No. 1-ranked golfer and defending PGA Championship winner, met with the media Friday morning at Whistling Straits to discuss the PGA Championship which will be held Aug. 10-16 on the Straits Course.

“Whistling Straits is as close to a links-style course as you’re going to find in America,” McIlroy said. “I’m tremendously excited for the 2015 PGA Championship to be back at Whistling Straits.

“I enjoy the setup of PGA Championship courses. I find them very fair. I have no doubt it will be a terrific event here in August.”


2014 PGA CHAMPION Rory McIlroy is presented with honorary jerseys from (left to right) Todd Dekker, representing son, Sam, a former Wisconsin Badger and Sheboygan Lutheran basketball star; Jason Kidd, the Milwaukee Bucks’ head coach; and Bill Schroeder, former Green Bay Packer wide receiver and a Sheboygan native. – Photo courtesy of the Kohler Co. 2014 PGA CHAMPION Rory McIlroy is presented with honorary jerseys from (left to right) Todd Dekker, representing son, Sam, a former Wisconsin Badger and Sheboygan Lutheran basketball star; Jason Kidd, the Milwaukee Bucks’ head coach; and Bill Schroeder, former Green Bay Packer wide receiver and a Sheboygan native. – Photo courtesy of the Kohler Co. He was joined at the press conference by Derek Sprague, president of the PGA of America; Herbert V. Kohler, executive chairman of the Kohler Co.; David Kohler, Kohler Co. president and CEO, and general chair of the 2015 PGA Championship; Rob Correa, executive vice president of programming for CBS Sports; and Matt Hong, executive vice president and general manager at Turner Sports. CBS Sports and TNT will be televising the PGA Championship.

Kohler-Co.-owned Whistling Straits also hosted the tournament in 2004 and 2010. McIlroy tied for third place in the 2010 PGA, only one shot out of a playoff which was won by Martin Kaymer. McIlroy didn’t play in the 2004 PGA.

McIlroy shared some of his memories of the 2010 PGA and the Straits Course.

“I hadn’t every played here before and I knew Pete [Dye, Whistling Straits designer] likes to make courses visually very intimidating. But once you get out onto the fairway and the landing area, there’s a little bit more room than you see on the tee,” said McIlroy who is from Ireland.

“There are some fairways where you don’t see the ball landing, so I had to learn the course. I came into the tournament playing well. It was a very fair setup. I had a great time here in 2010.

“It was my first championship contention in a major. I played a solid round [tournament] of golf,” he said.

Sprague is impressed with the Straits Course.

“What I’ve learned about the PGA Championship and what I’ve heard from golfers is that it’s a great test of golf. It’s firm but fair, and it’s right in front of you,” said Sprague.

“It has provided great, dramatic finishes and we expect the same at the 2015 PGA Championship.”

The 2004 PGA also needed a playoff to decide the champion which was Vijay Singh.

“We’re really excited [to host the PGA Championship] as a company and an organization but really an entire region,” said David Kohler.

“In the entire history of the PGA Championship, we have two top positions in terms of revenue from general ticketing, combined with corporate sales from 2004 and 2010. That’s an amazing accomplishment.

“This region is really excited about what’s going to happen in August.

“We’re basically sold out with the corporate tickets. For individual tickets, we’re down to a small portion left for the championship rounds,” said David Kohler.

Following the discussion, Mc- Ilroy received a surprise welcome from some well-known Wisconsin sports luminaries. Jason Kidd, Milwaukee Bucks head coach; Bill Schroeder, retired Green Bay Packers wide receiver; and Todd Dekker, father of former University of Wisconsin men’s basketball star and highly rated 2015 NBA draft prospect Sam Dekker, were on hand to present McIlroy with honorary team jerseys.

Notably, Schroeder and Todd Dekker are both natives of Sheboygan near Whistling Straits. Dekker was standing in for his son who was busy with NBA draftrelated obligations Friday morning. The elder Dekker was the boys varsity basketball coach at Sheboygan Lutheran High School for more than 20 years where he coached his son to a WIAA state championship in 2012.

McIlroy later dropped in on a group of young Junior League golfers who were practicing as scheduled on the Straits Course Friday. McIlroy is an official ambassador for PGA Junior League Golf which introduces youths, ages 13 and under, to the game in a team setting.


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