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PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club
By joe jones on 8/5/13
With Adam Scott winning the Masters, Justin Rose the U.S. Open and Phil Mickelson the British Open, one would think that PGA would be hard pressed to duplicate the excitement. I think this could be the best of the majors this year.

Jack Nicklaus has said that Oak Hill is the fairest of all of the major venues. It is another one of the old style courses that has stood up to the march of time. Donald Ross, who is the master of deception, designed a course that is right up front. What you see is what you get. That does not mean that it is easy. Far from it.

There have been four majors played at Oak Hill since 1956. In that time only ten players total have broken par.
  • 1956 U.S.Open -- Cary Middlecoff, +1 281

  • 1968 U.S.Open -- Lee Trevino, -5 275

  • 1980 PGA -- Jack Nicklaus, -6 274

  • 2003 PGA -- Shaun Micheel, -4 276
In 1980 the course yardage was 6,964 yards.

In 2003 the course yardage was 7,134 yards.

This year the course has been stretched to 7,163 yards.

There are many seemingly short par par four holes that would seem to give today's bombers a chance to attack but it is just an illusion.

Many of the driving holes are doglegs in either direction with traps on the corners.

Many of the fairways slope in the opposite direction.
The landing zones are 18 to 26 yards wide.

Many of the driving holes have overhanging branches on the edges of the fairway that will catch a slightly wayward drive or approach shot.

Unlike Merion there will be a first cut of rough one inch high by four foot wide.

The primary rough will be four inches thick and very penal. Hitting sideways may be the only option.

Undulating bent grass greens will be hard to hold and many have runoff areas that will require a very good short game.

A few greens will allow run up shots but many of them are elevated and have false fronts so a short shot may run off the green back to your feet or worse.

The traps can only be described as evil. The sand is a very fluffy silicon sand that may present the players with plugged lies. Balls running over the green from the sand may be common place.

The hardest holes on the course are:
  • Hole 5 -- A 428-yard par-4 dog leg with no bailout, creek on right.

  • Hole 9 -- A 452-yard uphill dog leg with a hazard called "Death Valley" on right.

  • Hole 10 -- A 429-yard par-4 described as a sneaky, easy hole requiring layup.

  • Hole 13 -- The 598-yard par-5 has never been reached in two during a major.

  • Hole 14 -- The 323-yard driveable par-4 has just as many doubles as birdies.

  • Hole 17 -- The 509-yard par-4 is the most difficult hole on the course. Hard to hold fairway.

  • Hole 18 -- The 497-yard par-4 is a fantastic finishing hole. Trouble everywhere.
Past history suggests that a winning score may be four to five under. Predicting a winner is another thing.

Just as I chose three option for the British Open I will do the same thing here.

Tiger Woods just to get him to 15.

Lee Westwood because he has been trying so hard and has come close before.

Brandt Snedeker just because I love the way he plays fast and the way he putts.

This was written by Joseph Jones, a reader/follower/fellow oober and the opinions are 100% his and do not reflect those of oobgolf in anyway. Enjoy! I'm sure he's ready for your feedback.

Have an idea for a guest column? Send it here!

Image via Wikipedia

[ comments ]
bkuehn1952 says:
Watch out Joe, Curtis Strange is going to put you on his list for leaving out his U.S. Open win in 1989. ;) (the only reason I remember is I was there and have this ratty old head cover from Oak Hill's 1989 U.S. Open.)
jrbizzle says:
No. 17 is only a par 5 during member play. They are changing it to a par 4 for the PGA, because the pros would eat up a 509 yard par 5 for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
joe jones says:
Thanks fella's. Mea Culpa. When I checked my notes I had it correct and proceeded to blow it completely. I'm going to mind my P's & Q's in the future.Number 17 is listed on the official club scorecard as the most difficult par five on the course. Can you imagine what it will play like as a par four. I am looking forward to see how the pro's play this old style gem.
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