97th PGA Championship ~ Whistling Straits
The fourth and final major golf championship of 2015 is underway and by the looks of the players and the venue the competition seems to be taking shape. The venue for this year’s event takes place at Whistling Straits in Kohler Wisconsin, strangely familiar to this year’s venue for the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. Incredibly some of the same players that played well at Chambers Bay are also finding Whistling Straits a course to their liking. Jason Day, leader after 3 rounds, is 15 under par and remarkably, 2015 two time major champion Jordan Spieth, is just 2 back at 13 under par.
PGA Championship & U.S. Open Similarities
Both courses are flanked by large bodies of water, Lake Michigan at Whistling Straits and Puget Sound at Chambers Bay, inviting strong winds to play havoc with player’s strokes. Play was suspended during round 2 when a large storm rolled through off Lake Michigan. Tall wispy grasses seem also to be a prominent feature of both courses along with numerous pot bunkers both off the tee and guarding many of the greens. In addition, despite both being seaside tracks, each have similar undulation with frequent ups and downs as players forge their final journey.
PGA Championship Amenities
As a title holder of this 4th major championship a player gets an invitation to the following 5 years Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, and Players Championships in addition to a lifetime exemption to play in the PGA Championship. Former champion John Daly, after taking a 10 on the 7th par three 221 yard hole metaphorically named “Shipwreck”, threw his 6 iron into Lake Michigan after dumping 3 shots into the dink.
With a $10,000,000 purse and 600 Fed Ex points awarded to the winner the PGA Championship is the second to last event played on the PGA Tour event schedule before the final playoffs begin starting with the Barclays Championship and a 2000 point Fed Ex Cup winning total.
PGA Championship Finish
The finish today should be an exciting culmination to this season’s 4th and final major event. In addition to Day and Spieth, other players hoping to notch this championship into their belts are Brandon Grace and Justin Rose 3 back, Martin Kaymer 4 back, Tony Finau and Matt Jones 5 back and Dustin Johnson and Anirban Lahiri 6 back at 9 under par, the golf swings and strokes should be fun to watch.
With hopes for the wind freshening and the numerous bunkers looming this year’s PGA Championship should prove to be indeed “Glory’s Last Shot” and prove that “This is Major.”