Improve Your PGA Championship Knowledge

Physician's Money Digest, August31 2003, Volume 10, Issue 16

Once again, the sun has seton another ProfessionalGolfers' Association(PGA) Championship.This year's winnerhas been crowned,and the losers have resignedthemselves to takinghome the coveted silvertrophy next year.Let's not wait until nextyear, however, to discuss1 of golf's greatest tournaments.With the PGAChampionship still fresh in ourminds, now's the perfect time totake a look at its interesting history.

The first PGA Championshipwas played in 1916, the same yearthe PGA was founded, for a purseof $2580 and an impressive silvertrophy, which was provided by thePhiladelphia department storemagnate Rodman Wanamaker. ThePGA Championship was playedin match-play format until 1958,when the tournament officiallyswitched to stroke play.

Players such as 5-time championWalter Hagen and 3-time winnerGene Sarazen rose to glory becauseof their victories in the popular tournament.In its current role as thefinal major of each year, the PGAChampionship annually boasts thestrongest field in all of golf. And,unlike other major golf tournaments,amateurs are not allowed to participate.Only the professionals get achance to compete.


In 1901, the Oak Hill CountryClub was founded nearRochester, NY. At thetime, the creation of theOak Hill Country Clubdidn't seem like the beginningof 1 of golf'sgreat venues. In fact, theoriginal clubhouse wasonce a farmhouse. Theproperty had only 9holes of golf and memberspaid a $25 initiationfee. Eventually, however,the club grew, and in the1920s moved to an expansivenew facility inPittsford, NY.

This new facility becamehome to two 18-hole DonaldRoss golf courses and thousands ofmaples, evergreens, elms, and oaks.The club hosted the US Open in1956, 1968, and 1989, and saw JackNicklaus roll to a record 7-strokevictory in the 1980 PGA Championship.Most recently, Oak Hillwas the site of Europe's dramaticcomeback victory in the 1995 RyderCup Matches.


No golf course is ever completewithout extra difficult holes. In thecase of Oak Hill, the following 3holes pose the greatest difficulty togolfers, including the pros:

Hole 5. This is 1 of the most difficultholes of the course. A new teeadds 30 more yards to the hole andmakes it the most dangerous teeshot at Oak Hill.Your tee shot musttravel through a stretch of trees forover 215 yards and then avoid acreek that winds itself into thelanding area at the 250-yard mark.

If you happen to hit a gooddrive, you'll have a mid to shortiron to a green, which is fronted bythat same creek. Shots landingshort will be wet. The green offerssome great hole locations, makingbirdies difficult to come by. Thishole produces moredouble bogeys than anyother hole on the course.

Hole 17. This doglegright hole, along with hole5, is the toughest on thecourse. It is a great drivinghole that requires a left toright tee shot. The teeshot must hug the rightside; otherwise, the driveswill go through the fairwayon the left side. Hit itin the rough on the leftside, and you'll probablybe chipping out to thefairway. Heavy rough andpine trees guard that sideof the fairway.

Trees on the right side will takecare of any drives that veer off inthat direction. Beware: The undulatinggreen makes it difficult tostop your second shot close to thehole. This hole traditionally givesup the fewest birdies and allows forthe most bogeys. Most players hit alonger iron onto this green, whichis well bunkered on both sides.

Hole 18. A new tee has added over30 yards to this difficult finishinghole. Another great driving hole, thistee shot favors a left to right shot,blending in with the dogleg righthole. A big drive is needed in orderto have a mid to long iron in thegreen. Of course, a difficult finishinghole wouldn't be a difficult finishinghole unless it had problems off thetee. And hole 18 definitely has itsshare of problems.

Deep bunkers on the right andhills and trees on the left make it difficult to hit the green if you're not inthe fairway. In addition, the greenhappens to sit at the base of a verysteep hill. Any shot hittingshort of the greenwill not make it up thisslope. The green, althoughwide, is very shallow.Shots must havegood distance control tohit this green. Despite itsdifficulty, hole 18 is a fantasticfinishing hole forboth professionals andamateurs playing a championshipcourse.

Adrian Davies is a formerEuropean Tour player who ishired by Fortune 500 companies,such as IBM, AmericanExpress, and Nike, for corporateevents.You can contact himat