PGA Championship 2012: Preview Ocean Course, No Bunkers, TV Times, Favorites

Fred AltvaterContributor IIAugust 8, 2012

Keegan Bradley won the 2011 PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club
Keegan Bradley won the 2011 PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic ClubSam Greenwood/Getty Images

The 94th PGA Championship will be held this week at the beautiful Ocean Course at Kiawah Island.

This will be the first major and the largest sporting event ever held in the state of South Carolina.

Kiawah Island is primarily a gated golf and beach community with all the amenities of a first-class resort.

It is located just 15 miles south of historic Charleston, the No. 1 travel destination in the country.

It may be a bit tricky for fans traveling to the PGA Championship, as there is only one way on and off the Island.

The Ocean Course on Kiawah Island has hosted several important golf events, the most notable being the 1991 Ryder Cup dubbed the “War on the Shore.”

The Pete Dye design will play 7,676 yards and to a par of 72.  It is one of the most difficult golf courses on the east coast.

Elevated greens with severe run-off areas around the edges of the greens will penalize any errant approach shots.

Speaking of the greens, they are composed of a salt water-friendly grass, Paspalum.  It is slightly thicker and does not allow the golf ball to break as much as the Bent- or Bermuda-grass greens that the pros are accustomed to playing.  Putting on this different type of grass will definitely be a factor in determining a champion.

Heavy winds and weather coming off the ocean play a big factor in scoring on the Ocean Course.  Temperatures in the high 80’s, thunderstorms in the forecast every day, and winds of 15-20 mile per hour will test the player’s patience and attitude.

The PGA has announced that all sand areas will play as waste areas and there will be no designated bunkers.  Players will be able to ground their club and take a practice swing to test the firmness of the sand.

Evidently, the PGA did not want a replay of the Dustin Johnson bunker fiasco from Whistling Straits in 2010. 

The course was cut out of a salt marsh on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean and the players will need to avoid finding the water and swamp hazards that litter the course.

One of the unique features of the PGA Championship every year is the inclusion of 20 PGA Club Professionals that have qualified for the tournament.

2011 PGA Champion Keegan Bradley is coming off a win at the WGC-Bridgestone at Akron last week.  His win moved him firmly into fourth place on the Ryder Cup standings.

Tiger Woods has three wins in 2012 but no majors.  He will be looking for his fifth Wanamaker Trophy and his 15th major title.  

Tiger has not won a major since the 2008 U. S. Open.  His ball-striking, for the most part this year, has been very good.  Controlling ball flight will be very important in the winds that buffet Kiawah Island.

The Ocean Course puts a premium on short-game play.  Luke Donald, Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, and Zach Johnson are players to watch this weekend with superior play around the greens.

The PGA Championship can be viewed on Thursday, August 9, and Friday, August 10, on TNT from 1-7 PM.

Saturday and Sunday TNT will kick off coverage at 11 AM-2 PM.

CBS will pick up their coverage Saturday and Sunday from 2-7 PM.

Golf Channel will air Golf Central and Live From the PGA at various times throughout the week.