PGA Championship: Whistling Straits no walk in the park

By Ron Furlong
whistling straits
Whistling Straits is also scheduled to host the Ryder Cup in 2020

whistling straits

The final major of year will be played on a golf course that on first glance looks as if it belongs on the coast of Scotland.

Not quite. The Pete Dye design is actually located on the banks of Lake Michigan in Kohler, Wisconsin.

Whistling Straits will again host the PGA Championship this year. The links course hosted the tournament in 2004, and is scheduled to do so again in 2015. It also has been selected as the Ryder Cup venue in 2020.

The rugged terrain of Whistling Straits makes one feel they are indeed somewhere in the British Isles. Huge, undulating greens, deep pot bunkers, a constant strong wind, vast sandy areas and native grass-covered dunes evoke Scotland time and time again.

The Dye course plays over 7500 yards long and is no walk in the park. When Vijay Singh won the 2004 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits he won with a -8 score (winning a three hole playoff over Chris DiMarco and Justin Leonard), but the course did not show its true teeth until Sunday when the wind picked up.

If the wind is down, just like at St Andrews this year during the first round, the golf course can be had. But when the wind is blowing off the lake it can be as tough a test of golf as can be found in the States.

One of the more interesting groupings for the first two rounds on Thursday and Friday include Singh, last year’s winner YE Yang and the struggling Tiger Woods.

Another group includes the three major winners from this year; Phil Mickelson (Masters), Graeme McDowell (US Open) and British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen.

After the PGA Championship, golf’s final big event for the season will be the Ryder Cup, this year played in Wales, and beginning in early October.

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