The PGA championship is the last of the 2015 season’s major tournaments. To the winner goes the security of 5 years entry into the PGA and other major tournament events as well as the Players Championship, the European tour, and the PGA championship for life. With the total prize purse of $10 million, it is also the richest of the majors.
Qualification into the PGA Championship is reserved for members of the PGA. Each year 20 of the 156 places in the field are taken by club professionals. The Club Pro Championship is run in June and this determines those 20 spots. Although the top players are invited to compete, the places are also taken by: All former PGA Champions, Winners of the last 5 US Opens, Masters and Open Championships and The last senior PGA Champion. As well as the top 70 on the money earning list, the Ryder Cup Team members (Top 100 only) the low 15 scorers in the last PGA Championship. If this does not make up the 156 places, then the next money earners outside the top 70 will be invited. As a 4 time winner of the PGA, Tiger Woods will be playing, and by all reports, Rory will be as well. It remains to be seen if he is fully fit though.
The course it will be played on is The Straits course at Whistling Straits, Kohler, Wisconsin. Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, this links looking, but not playing, course has hosted this tournament twice before. In 2010, Martin Kaymer fought off Bubba Watson in a 3 hole playoff that secured the German his first major. In 2004 it was Fijian Vijay Singh who beat Chris Demarco and Justin Leonard in a playoff too. This course has a habit of keeping players very honest in terms of score. Although it does have the look of a links course, there is a lot of water and unlike this years’ US Open, the greens at Whistling Straits will hold the incoming shot and make for a better spectacle.
The course has over 500 bunkers and 14 water hazards, the mounds and berms are largely left uncut, but the 22 acres of fairway is surrounded by over 150 acres of rough, the deep rough being a brutal mixture of four grasses. You will see bluffs and huge sand dune areas, holes that hug the Lake Michigan shoreline, four stone bridges and large elevation changes while watching this tournament. It is visually stunning.
8 Australians have qualified so far: Steven Bowditch, Adam Scott, Marc Leishman, Cameron Smith, John Senden, Geoff Ogilvy, Matt Jones and Jason Day. Hopefully, one of them can take it out. It would be the first Australian to do so since Steve Elkington back in 1995 at Riviera.