KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – One might be simply fooled into pondering that Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course is on the softer facet of the major-championship scales based mostly on the final time the PGA Championship visited the tony enclave.
Back in 2012 when the seaside gem final hosted a serious championship, Rory McIlroy made the place appear to be a pitch-and-putt. The Northern Irishman completed at 13 underneath for a tournament-record eight-stroke victory that by some means included a second-round 75. He was first in driving distance, scrambling and was thirteenth in greens in regulation.
He made it look straightforward – too straightforward – when the reality is that the Ocean Course ranked because the second-toughest course on the PGA Tour in 2012 behind solely The Olympic Club, which hosted the U.S. Open. Five of the ultimate 9 holes at Kiawah ranked among the many season’s high 50 hardest, and whereas McIlroy was ridiculously dominant, think about that David Lynn, who completed alone in second place, ended at 5 underneath, which was greater than seven-and-a-half pictures higher than the sector common.
“There’s just parts on the golf course where me as a player felt more comfortable than other parts on the golf course. Rory is obviously feeling at ease on the whole of the golf course. That’s good golf,” Lynn stated on the time.
It’s seemingly not going to be an excellent consolation to any of the 156 gamers who’ve converged on this slice of the Lowcountry for the PGA Championship that the 2012 version of the Ocean Course was, no less than in principle, a extra user-friendly model than what they’ll play this week.
That PGA Championship was performed in August, when the course typically performs a lot softer due to the ever present afternoon thunderstorms that roll by way of the realm just like the one which halted play on that Saturday. If this week’s forecast holds, there received’t be any aid. The rain chance drops to zero p.c beginning on Thursday with temperatures within the mid-70s for many of the match.
The larger concern would be the winds that often buffet the structure with gusts to fifteen mph predicted for Friday and Saturday. It might be these winds, that are forecast to sift all through the week, that’ll seemingly complicate issues based mostly on typical knowledge.
Jordan Spieth has by no means performed the Ocean Course, however based mostly on most assessments, he described it as a “second-shot” structure.
“I hear it’s a second-shot golf course with a lot of blind shots off the tee,” he stated Sunday earlier than leaving Dallas. “I’m just going to need to be sure we get a lot of information in our practice rounds about what line to take off the tee, and from there I feel like iron shots in the wind and controlling distances is a strength of mine, and hopefully that’s what it comes down to.”
Spieth estimated he’ll spend most of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday getting a really feel for the structure and the way the wind will influence sure pictures.
Statistically, it’s most likely extra correct to name the Ocean Course a mid- to long-iron take a look at based mostly on how lengthy it may play due to the ocean breeze which robs gamers of priceless distance. And it’s already actually lengthy: a major-record 7,876 yards this week.
McIlroy remembered his record-setting week in 2012 slightly otherwise. Although he acknowledged how properly he hit his driver, it was a chic brief recreation that he remembers most fondly.
“I’ve watched a couple of videos back over the last few weeks of that, just sort of trying to refamiliarize myself with the course a little bit. I chipped and putted so well that week. I mean, that’s the one thing I remember,” McIlroy stated earlier this month. “I got it up and down a lot and my chipping and putting was really good.”
McIlroy was additionally one thing of a special participant a decade in the past. He was younger, fearless and overpowered a course many thought couldn’t be overpowered.
“I was probably maybe a little more one dimensional, but it was a very consistent move. I hit this big swooping draw all the time, but it was consistent,” he stated. “I’m probably a little more versatile now, I probably have a few more shots in the locker, it’s just a matter of choosing those shots correctly and hitting them at the right times.”
Whether that “locker” is on full show this week stays to be seen, however no matter how he, or anybody else, makes it look, the Ocean Course received’t be straightforward.