Players brace for 'Beauty and the Beast' at PGA

Wed Aug 12, 2015 8:49pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

KOHLER, Wisconsin (Reuters) - The stage is set for Thursday's opening round at the 97th PGA Championship being held this week for a third time at Whistling Straits, which is viewed by the players both as a 'Beauty' and a 'Beast'.

Measuring 7,514 yards off the back tees, the links-style layout is lush, green, beautifully manicured and stunningly located on the shores of Lake Michigan where eight of the holes are adjacent to the water.

Yet with its soaring sand dunes and more than a thousand bunkers dotted around the course, the par-72 Straits Course will provide a daunting challenge for the game's best players over the next four days.

"It's major championship ready, the greens are as healthy as I've seen in a long time and they putt extremely well," Masters and U.S. Open champion Jordan Spieth told reporters on Wednesday. "I think we're all very, very excited.

"The bunkers are hazards out here, and there's a lot of them. You almost have to approach it like an Open Championship (British Open), where ... the ball can squirt out in different directions based on the type of sand.

"You have to approach them as hazards and definitely stay away from them."

For Australian world number five Jason Day, who tied for 10th in the 2010 PGA Championship played at Whistling Straits, length off the tee will be a huge advantage.

"It's definitely helping if you're a bomber of the golf ball," he said.   Continued...

Aug 12, 2015; Sheboygan, WI, USA; Jordan Spieth putts on the 5th green during a practice round for the 2015 PGA Championship golf tournament at Whistling Straits -The Straits Course. Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports