Tiger Woods and rest of the Open field played under sunny skies for most of the week at Lytham. Don’t expect the same at the PGA at Kiawah.
As I caught parts of the British Open on TV I was amazed at how well the weather behaved and how big an impact that had on scores. I found myself looking forward to the next major, where I don’t think the field will be quite so lucky. The PGA Championship will be played in two weeks at the Ocean course at Kiawah Island, a spit of land surrounded by water that seems to manufacture humidity and has the most changeable conditions I know of in this country.
I spent the late 1990s as a part-time resident of Kiawah and did the majority of my practicing and playing there. The brutal test, without doubt, made me a better player. On that course a 115-yard shot could be a bunted wedge or a hammered four-iron-during the same round. There were days that simply standing upright was a challenge. There is, in my opinion, no finer closing stretch of holes than those on the Ocean course: two par-3s, a par-5 and two par-4s that have absolutely no let up in them.
Designed by Pete Dye and opened in 1991, the Ocean course is one of only two I have played that were made significantly easier after they opened. (The other: Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Fla.) Following the ’91 Ryder Cup-the infamous War at the Shore-fairway widths at the Ocean course were expanded, greenside bulkheads moved and the sea oats on the beautiful dunes substantially thinned. Prior to the 2007 Senior PGA Championship the 18th green was moved farther from the shoreline, and the greens were redone with Sea Isle paspalum. It is a grass that can be amazingly consistent and firm and has very little grain, but will present a new challenge for the field, as I believe this will the first time this grass will be seen in a major championship.
Between the heat, wind, humidity and the unique features of the course, the PGA will be every bit the challenge we saw at the British Open on Sunday. I will watch with great memories of the cold, wet winter walks I used to take on the beach and a course that made me a lot better player.
Keeping Fans Healthy During the 2012 PGA Championship in S.C. Roper St. Francis prepares to be the medical services provider for thousands
CHARLESTON, S.C. (June 20, 2012) – This August up to 30,000 people per day are expected to gather at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island for the 2012 PGA Championship, and late summer in Charleston, S.C., means fans and players will be feeling the heat.
PGA officials have worked closely with Roper St. Francis Healthcare’s emergency services team to develop a safe and effective medical plan for heat-related and other illnesses during the large-scale event Aug. 6-12.
“Roper St. Francis is honored and proud to be the medical services provider of the 2012 PGA Championship,” said David Dunlap, president and CEO, Roper St. Francis Healthcare. “This tournament is a premier global sporting event, and we were thrilled when the PGA of America asked us to work with them again.”
Michael Bolton made an appearance at Kiawah Island in May and had the chance to test his game on the back nine at America’s Toughest Course- The Ocean Course. With a birdie on the famous 17th and a par on the difficult 18th, he was just getting into a rhythm but was forced to leave for his sound check before he could make the turn and play the front. He was at Kiawah as the headline entertainment for a corporate incentive program being held at The Sanctuary, and he amazed a small audience of about 300 people with his performance on the Lower Terrace Lawn. Bolton was very complimentary of the golf course, and agreed that the professionals will have their hands full during the PGA Championship in August.
Thought you were too late? Think again! The PGA has shifted things around and will be able to release 2,000 more PGA tickets to the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. Check it out here: http://www.pga.com/pgachampionship/2012/news/2012_pga_championship_tickets.cfm
J. Pierce Buster, Ocean Course caddie and recent MBA grad from the Citadel, has tons of caddie stories. Here’s some:
Over the course of my tenure as a caddie at The Ocean Course, one of the things I am most often asked is, “What are some of the funniest things you have seen or been asked by a person you’re caddying for?” While the answers to this question are seemingly endless, a few have overwhelmingly stuck out over the years. What is more, I asked the same question around to the gents in the caddie-shack and found many similar stories, inquiries, and sites. However, I also learned of a number of different, but equally interesting ones as well. Let’s tee it up…
“The Things We Have Carried”
One of the most unique and interesting parts of being a caddie is seeing the things that people store in their golf bags. From the bizarre to the hilarious and the unnecessary to the ridiculous, the things that are pulled out of golf bags never cease to amaze me. In the interest of time, and perhaps embarrassment, I thought a simple list format, paired with a brief description, would be most appropriate.
Not one… not two… but THREE golf ball retrievers – No explanation given.
An unopened 2 Liter bottle of Sprite – When asked: “I was wondering where I put that after the grocery…”
Similarly… a carton of Orange Juice WELL passed its Expiration Date – (The color of said bottle I will leave to your imagination)