essentially turned a tiny but treacherous pot bunker into a trench that nearly cleaves the green in two. The bunker has sod-stacked vertical walls and is about six feet deep.
“Pete and Mr. Kohler have created what I think is the most difficult bunker I’ve ever seen,” points out Haigh. “It is unbelievable. It is an extremely difficult bunker. You walk into it and you’re entrapped by it.”
If the hole is located on the right half of the green and a player’s ball finishes on the left half – a possibility considering the green is driveable from the forward tees and downwind – the player may have to hit a lob shot off the putting surface, across the bunker.
Asked about his thought process regarding the bunker, Dye smiles and says: “Just trying to get everybody mad.”
“I think the Straits is a masterpiece, so I have to admit I was concerned about something that would be that big a change on this golf course,” adds Joe Steranka-----, CEO of The PGA of America. “That bunker does add a new dimension to that hole. It will make the players think a little bit.”
Given that the first three major championship venues in 2010 are Augusta National (Masters), Pebble Beach (U.S. Open) and the Old Course at St. Andrews (British Open), Kohler is excited about the prospect of Tiger Woods coming to Whistling Straits in position to tie or break Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championship titles, considered the game’s greatest benchmark.
“I can’t even imagine the hoo-rah that might be going on,” Kohler says. “Let me tell you, it’s got me right on the edge of my seat.”
He’s not the only one. ●
Gary D’Amato is the golf writer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Year Facility Location
2010 Whistling Straits Kohler, Wis.
2011 Atlanta Athletic Club Duluth, Ga.
2012 Kiawah Island Golf Resort Kiawah Island, S.C.
2013 Oak Hill Country Club Rochester, N. Y.
2014 To be determined
2015 Whistling Straits Kohler, Wis.
Future PGA Championship venues
Aug. 9–15 August August August
THE OFFICIAL JOURNAL OF THE 2009 PGA CHAMPIONSHIP