The battle for the Wanamaker Trophy
US PGA Championship (Kiawah Island, South Carolina), August 9 to 12
After last year’s heroic final day in Atlanta with Keegan Bradley beating Jason Dufner in a thriller play-off, the 2012 US PGA Championship is played on Kiawah Island, South Carolina. For pro golfers, winning the US PGA Championship is a dream.
Keegan Bradley is one of three golfers in history who won in their major debut, along with Ben Curtis and Francis Ouimet. He was the 2011 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year. With Dufner, he made golf fans all over the world hold their breath at the final day of last year’s tournament. Both players took the lead at several holes, showing some stunning putting for birdies and eagles and losing the lead the after hitting the ball in a water hazard. Bradley was the first American to lift the Wannamaker Trophy after three consecutive wins by European Tour players: Ireland's Padraig Harrington (2008), Korean YE Yang (2009) and Kaymer (2011).
The 94th PGA Championship is considered to be one of the most important golf events in the world. Since 1916, the event has seen many golf legends win, like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, Davis Love III, Jack Nicklaus, Sam Snead, Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan and Walter Hagen.
Last year’s event was held at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Georgia, this year Kiawah Island Golf Resort will host the tournament. A fitting environment, as Kiawah Island Golf Resort was recently named the No. 1 resort on the U.S. Mainland by readers of the prestigious Conde Nast Traveler magazine. It was also named the No. 1 golf resort by Golf World magazine.
Located on the east end of Kiawah Island, The Ocean Course (architect: Pete Dye) has more seaside holes than any other course in the Northern Hemisphere – 10 right along the Atlantic. As a result of this, the course is affected greatly by the changing wind direction and speed, as players found out at the 1991 Ryder Cup held at The Ocean Course. During the relatively benign practice rounds, players hit 7 and 8-irons into the treacherous par-3 17th hole. By Sunday, with a stiff wind in their face, players were hitting everything from 3-irons to 3-woods.
Versatile and flexible
Players who want to have any chance of lifting the Wannamaker Trophy on Sunday August 12, will have to be versatile and flexible and will need to adjust their game to the conditions. They also need to be capable of hitting every club in the bag. As the Kiawah Island Golf Resort website explains, this is a course where strategically attacking each hole is imperative. “From the back tees, players have to work (and think) their way around the golf course. A player must pick the best approach angles. With the shifting winds, decisions have to be made on whether to play the ball up into the wind or hit a knockdown shot, loft a wedge or hit a bump-and-run.”
Would you like to comment on this article? Please log in on the right hand side of this page or: