Friday, August 13, 2010

PGA Championship

Watching the PGA Championship this week brought back memories of my time at Whistling Straits a few months ago in Wisconsin.

Anyone who has a chance to visit Destination Kohler, stay at the American Club and play the Straits course - or any of the other courses there for that matter - should do so. Although it doesn't have history of Pinehurst or Pebble Beach, that's only because it hasn't been around as long.

The service was impeccable, the facilities top-shelf and the views of Lake Michigan from the golf course spectacular.

I was working on a piece for AAA Living about the then-upcoming tournament, and I sat down with this year's director for the last Major of the year - Barry Deach. Deach also headed up the 2004 PGA Championship in 2004 when it was held at Whistling Straits.

But initially, he hadn't planned on running the 2010 event - until Ryan Jordan resigned as tournament director in June 2009.

"I got a call out of nowhere," Deach said.

And to hear him talk about the facilities and people at Destination Kohler, it made sense that he returned to Whistling Straits for this weekend's tournament. But some of his comments seemed a bit contradictory to me.

Deach talked about how much fun it is to put on a Major tournament, but then he said he might see one or two golf shots during the four-day event. That just doesn't seem like fun because he's missing some pretty good golf shots.

Matt Kuchar, who leads the tournament at 5-under right now, holed out No. 13 from what? 100 yards out or so? Bubba Watson, in a four-way tie one stroke back, had a couple of amazing up and downs from the thick rough to save pars on 17 and 18. Jason Day finished with five birdies and made the turn at 34.

And even Tiger Woods, who played horribly last week, birdied his first two holes en route to a 71 for the first round. After a 3 on the par 4 10th, he blasted a 365-yard tee shot on No. 11, scoring a 4 on the 618-yard par 5.

After watching Woods' meltdown last week and knowing he was headed to Whistling Straits this week, I remembered something Deach said awhile back - even before Woods had returned to golf from his slef-imposed hiatus this year.

"We would welcome him with open arms," Deach said when it still was up in the air whether he'd play this year.

Then I wondered if Deach still wanted him there seeing how poorly Woods was playing. But Woods' answer to a report's question this past week puts that into perspective. The reporter intimated that Woods is the No.1 player in the world playing like the worst player in the world. Woods said that he might be the world's worst player, but he still could beat the reporter.

And even though Woods' 71 is only three strokes better than his opening round 74 at the Bridgestone Invitational, where he finished tied for next-to-last, it appears that he's hitting better shots.

We'll see.

Well, we will. Deach won't. He's having too much fun to watch golf.

Jason Day photo credit: Getty Images

1 comment:

  1. Watch the 92nd PGA Championship Tour 2010 in Wisconsin. This tournament will be held at the Straits Course of the Whistling Straits complex in Haven, Wisconsin, USA on August 9-15,2010.