The PGA Championship is normally my least favorite tournament of the 4 majors. The PGA seems to copy the US Open in it course selection. Both tournaments typically chose old classic courses with poor optics for television and seemingly redundant holes. Contrarily this year, as was the case in 2004, the tournament was held at Whistling Straits, a "links" golf course. The Straits has a wide variety of holes and plenty of disaster awaiting every shot(Golf star).
Digressing: if you saw the coverage this week you may share my impression that Whistling Straits looked like a target golf course dropped into a sandbox. When I think of a links course I think of St. Andrews, Troon and Bandon Dunes (Oregon) where they have pot bunkers in the middle of the fairway right where you want to hit your tee shot. Article Source: http://www.grennsports.com/ They require that you play bump and run shots into greens. Many good drives are propelled into the rough. True links courses require precision, luck and talent. I'm not saying that Whistling Straits isn't a great course and that it wasn't exciting, however it's my opinion that it isn't a "true" links course and shouldn't be advertised as such. It's a beautiful monument to golf, an extremely difficult course that has brought many very good golfers to their knees.
What a great golf tournament we "almost" witnessed. Nick Watney leading by 3 strokes after three rounds fell off one of Pete Dyes' greens and into oblivion, ending the day with an 81 and in a tie for 18th. Matt Kucher, the second round leader played steady golf but could only manage to be 1 over for that last two days. Rory Mcllroy and Steve Elkington both having several opportunities to take the lead and win the tournament as Zach Johnson's drive for the top spot was running out of gas. The possibility of the first professional from China to win on "the tour" would have sent a tsunami throughout the east. What really made this tournament exciting was the three-way battle of the eventual winner, the very consistent Martin Kaymer and the two unbelievable bombers, Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson who put on a show of not only power but accuracy, touch and a great putting display.
In every thriller there is always a hero, requiring there also be a villain. My villain of the PGA Championship was the PGA. It's not because they disqualified Dustin Johnson for grounding his club in a trap (a violation known by anyone who has played the game more than once) but because they didn't designate a majority of the sand as waste areas where grounding your club is not a penalty.
We all know that sand traps, whether around greens, in the fairway, or in the rough must be raked after being used. Many of Whistling Straits' traps were used as pathways for the huge galleries. An unending number of times during the telecast the announcers pointed out that there were roughly 1,200 sand traps on the course property. One trap was curiously placed behind one of the teeing areas, for what purpose I am unsure. The exact number couldn't be determined because some were covered with vegetation over the years and weren't visible. This should have been a huge "elephant in the room" on the golf course for the PGA.
Their failure to properly address this issue is bound to place Dustin Johnson's name alongside that of Roberto DeVisenzo. Roberto was the apparent winner of The Masters in 1968 who signed his score card with an incorrect score and it is still talked about during at least half of every golf telecast. Roberto's disqualification was uniquely ironic, because the error was not even to his advantage. The signed score card had a 4 entered, when he actually shot a 3 on the hole causing him to be disqualified.
Are the PGA Tour tournaments about golf tournaments or about the rules of golf, many of which make little sense? Dustin Johnson didn't lose an opportunity to win his first major, the PGA lost some credibility,as well as a larger-than-life showdown between the two biggest hitters in the game.
For me, the playoff excitement and the air in my balloon escaped through a Pete Dye-sized bunker.