PGA Championship at Whistling Straits
August 08, 2015
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM
- August 08, 2015
- Dustin Johnson mistakenly grounded his club in a bunker on the 72nd hole at the 2010 PGA at Whistling Straits. (Richard Heathcote/Getty)
• TEE TIMES: Round 1 and 2 starting times
• COURSE: Whistling Straits (Straits), 7,514 yards, par 72. Once an anti-aircraft training base and stretch of waste dumps along the shores of Lake Michigan, the 1998 Pete Dye design is set to host its third PGA Championship in a 12-year span. Dye set about to bring the links-style look of Scotland and Ireland to America’s heartland, moving more than a million cubic tons of earth to create open, windswept terrain framed by wispy fescue and more than 1,000 bunkers. The PGA of America quickly became smitten, arriving for the first time in 2004 and again just six years later. After this edition, Whistling Straits will prepare to stage the 2020 Ryder Cup.
• FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 600 points.
• CHARITY: The PGA Foundation has contributed more than $40 million over the past two decades to growth-of-the-game initiatives, ranging from establishment of The First Tee to teaching grants and funding for disabled and special-needs golfers.
• FIELD WATCH: World No. 1 and defending champion Rory McIlroy, returning from torn ankle ligaments, joins Masters/U.S. Open champion Jordan Spieth and Open Championship winner Zach Johnson atop traditionally the year’s strongest field. … All but two of the top 100 in the world rankings are slated to compete, missing only No. 22 Chris Kirk (hand) and No. 73 Alexander Noren (rib). … Openings remain for the winners of this week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and Barracuda Championship if not already qualified. … The lineup also includes the top 20 finishers from June’s PGA Professional National Championship.
• 72-HOLE RECORD: 265, David Toms (2001 at Atlanta AC).
• 18-HOLE RECORD: 63, Bruce Crampton (2nd round, 1975 at Firestone CC), Raymond Floyd (1st round, 1982 at Southern Hills), Gary Player (2nd round, 1984 at Shoal Creek), Michael Bradley (1st round, 1993 at Inverness), Vijay Singh (2nd round, 1993 at Inverness), Brad Faxon (4th round, 1995 at Riviera CC), José María Olazábal (3rd round, 2000 at Valhalla), Mark O’Meara (2nd round, 2001 at Atlanta AC), Thomas Bjorn (3rd round, 2005 at Baltusrol), Tiger Woods (2nd round, 2007 at Southern Hills), Steve Stricker (1st round, 2011 at Atlanta AC), Jason Dufner (2nd round, 2013 at Oak Hill).
• LAST YEAR: McIlroy emerged from an epic back-nine chase at Valhalla – not to mention falling darkness – to outlast Phil Mickelson by a shot for his second consecutive major and fourth of his young career. McIlroy overcame early struggles to make up a three-shot deficit on the back nine, moving two in front with a birdie at No. 17 after finding a fairway bunker off the tee. A chaotic 18th hole followed in the gloaming, as PGA of America officials allowed McIlroy to hit both his tee shot and approach before Mickelson and Rickie Fowler had left the terrain ahead. Mickelson wound up just missing a short chip for eagle, allowing McIlroy to win with a par. The young Ulsterman became just the fourth man in the past century to notch four majors by age 25 – joining Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Bobby Jones.
• STORYLINES: McIlroy returns to the stage for the first time since the U.S. Open, forced to the sideline two weeks later when he injured his left ankle in a pickup soccer game. That cost him a title defense at The Open Championship. … Spieth gets another chance to collect a third major trophy this year, having finished one shot out of the playoff at St. Andrews. Only Woods (2000) and Ben Hogan (1953) have won three majors in a year. … Woods, down to No. 262 in the world, tees it up with his season on the line. The three-time PGA winner stands 185th in the FedExCup points race, saying his performance at Whistling Straits will determine whether he pursues a Playoffs berth at the Wyndham Championship.
• SHORT CHIPS: The dubious bunker that stood between Dustin Johnson and the 2010 PGA Championship playoff won’t be a factor this time. Johnson infamously grounded his club in the small sandy area right of the 18th fairway, incurring a penalty that kept him from the playoff won by Martin Kaymer. A grandstand now covers the area. … With McIlroy placed alongside Spieth and Johnson in the first- and second-round pairings, each of the past five major titles are represented in the same group.
• TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 2-8 p.m. ET (TNT). Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (TNT), 2-7 p.m. (CBS).
• RADIO: Thursday-Friday, noon-8 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, noon-7 p.m. (SiriusXM).