Straits Course a big challenge for PGA field

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff


JORDAN SPIETH hits a shot on the practice range Monday at the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. Watching is Spieth’s instructor, Cameron McCormick (far left), a PGA professional. – Photo courtesy of the PGA of America JORDAN SPIETH hits a shot on the practice range Monday at the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. Watching is Spieth’s instructor, Cameron McCormick (far left), a PGA professional. – Photo courtesy of the PGA of America HAVEN — The 97th PGA Championship field faces a stiff test on the Straits Course this week at Whistling Straits with the many bunkers, berms, high rough and water hazards lurking, plus the possibility of strong winds off Lake Michigan.

It will be fascinating to see how the golfers will attack this worldclass, Pete Dye-designed course which, while being very demanding, also rewards good shots. The 72-hole tournament gets under way Thursday and runs through Sunday.

Tiger Woods, who is seeking his fifth PGA Championship title, is impressed with the Straits Course which was also the site of the 2004 and 2010 PGA Championships.

“I think it’s playing great. The greens are absolutely perfect,” said Woods during a press conference Tuesday.


THE PGA CHAMPIONSHIP practice round on Tuesday drew big crowds. Pictured are fans along the 10th fairway. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley THE PGA CHAMPIONSHIP practice round on Tuesday drew big crowds. Pictured are fans along the 10th fairway. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley “They’re such a great speed and so smooth. I know they’ll probably get a little bit quicker come Thursday but overall this golf course is in perfect shape right now.

“You look at this golf course – there’s plenty of room off the tee. There’s plenty of room on the greens. It’s just that you have to hit both of them. If you don’t, then you’re going to have something that’s pretty ugly.

“Pete rewards good shots but he really penalizes bad ones,” said Woods.

Martin Kaymer, who won the 2010 PGA Championship, offered his impressions of the course and recalled his play in that tournament.


DUSTIN JOHNSON (left) watches his shot on the practice range at Monday’s PGA Championship. – Photo courtesy of the PGA of America DUSTIN JOHNSON (left) watches his shot on the practice range at Monday’s PGA Championship. – Photo courtesy of the PGA of America “I believe it plays a little bit different than five years ago. It’s a little bit softer than the way we played it in 2010,” Kamyer said at his press conference Wednesday.

“In 2010 I didn’t make many mistakes. I really avoided the big numbers and I believe if you miss the fairways once in a while you have to accept that that bogey is not a bad score.

“It’s very easy to make doublebogey or even worse, sometimes when you’re in those bunkers you can have some very strange lies and a strange stance in there.

“So, the key back then I hit a good amount of fairways but my putting was very good,” said Kaymer.

“I think that that’s what we saw this year at a lot of the majors when Jordan [Spieth] won [the Masters] in Augusta [Ga.] and the U.S. Open the way he putted. That’s the same way I felt on the greens five years ago and that was pretty much the key, and hopefully I can do the same this year again and give it a go on Sunday.”

The PGA Championship is the fourth and final major this year.

“There are a few holes on the golf course where there’s a good side to miss it and a bad side,” observed Kaymer.

Bubba Watson is looking forward to the PGA Championship. In 2010, Watson lost to Kaymer in a three-hole playoff which decided the winner.

“Obviously only one person beat me [in the 2010 PGA], so I wish I could improve on that. What I remember is the tough golf course,” he said.

“I remember the golf course being tough, and fairways are the key around here. If you don’t hit the fairways, it’s going to be very difficult to make pars and have a good finish. It’s all about fairways around here.


IAN POULTER signs autographs during his practice session Tuesday for the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley IAN POULTER signs autographs during his practice session Tuesday for the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley “I’m looking forward to the week because I’ve played here before. I’ve got some good memories here, and hopefully up to the challenge,” Watson said.

The golf course is in beautiful shape. The rough is thick and healthy. And fairways are in perfect shape.

“I haven’t seen greens run this good in a long time. It’s pretty amazing out there how nice it’s running,” observed Watson.

“The players will have every aspect of their games tested,” said Jim Richerson, general manager and group director of golf for the Kohler Co. which owns Whistling Straits.

“Players will have to be on their games the entire week in order to have a shot at the Wanamaker Trophy.”


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