PGA Championship 2010: 10 Golfers Who Have Excelled at Whistling Straits

Nathaniel UyFeatured ColumnistAugust 12, 2010

PGA Championship 2010: 10 Golfers Who Have Excelled at Whistling Straits

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    At 7,514 yards, Whistling Straits ranks as one of the longest courses in major championship history.

    The PGA Championships first debuted at Whistling Straits in 2004.  Six years later, it returns to the same par-72 course in Kohler, Wisconsin.

    In its young history it has been host to one PGA Championship and the 2007 Senior Open.

    With so much promise, this Irish links course is expected to be the site of the 2015 PGA Championship and many more major tournaments in the future.

    Let's take a look back at the last time the PGA Championships were at this beautiful course. Here are 10 golfers who excelled at Whistling Straits the first time around...

Adam Scott

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    He was a young 24-year-old golfer the last he was at Whistling Creek.  And, at the time, Scott had an impressive ninth place finish in 2004.

    Now at 30, he sill hasn't won a major title. But his experience from six years ago, coupled with more maturity, could give him an advantage for this course.

Phil Mickelson

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    Lefty still had a chance to take this tourney in 2004 until the last two holes. 

    He was there until the end.

    At the 17th hole he missed an important birdie putt that would have kept him in contention.

    After a bogey in the final hole, he fell into a sixth place tie and two strokes behind the leaders.

K.J. Choi

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    Back in 2004 Choi finished the course in a sixth place tie with Paul McGinley and Phil Mickelson.

    The 40-year-old South Korean excels here, Whistling Straits gave him the best PGA finish of his career.

    With countryman Y.E. Yang winning last year's PGA Championship, Choi might be more motivated to win at Wisconsin.

Ernie Els

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    Els finished the 2004 PGA Championship one shot behind the final three.

    He came on strong at the end with a pair of birdies on the 15th and 16th hole, then a par on the 17th hole.

    Had he made par on the final hole, Els could have been a fourth player in the subsequent playoffs.

    If anyone is capable of putting together a Vijay-like run in this year's tournament, it could be Els.

Chris DiMarco

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    DiMarco's strong showing on the last day at Whistling Straits allowed him to compete in a three-way playoff with Singh and Leonard.

    Of the three, he was the only one to break par in the final round with a 71.

    His missed 18-foot birdie putt at the last hole ultimately cost him the win. 

    So much for missed opportunities.  Once the playoffs started it was all Vijay Singh.

Ben Crane

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    Crane finished this course in a ninth place tie in '04 alongside Rober Allenby, Stephen Ames and Adam Scott.

    A tough second day at Whistling Straits saw Crane get four bogeys and two double-bogeys.  But he was able to bounce back and finish strong, only three strokes behind the lead.

    He has had a solid 2010 so far, earning his third career PGA Tour win at the Farmers Insurance Open and considering his past success at Whistling Straits, he could find himself among the leaders in the standings.

Darren Clarke

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    Clarke started this course off at a torrid pace six years ago.  His 65 during the opening round at Whistling Straits is a course record.  It was later tied by Miguel Angel Jimenez the next day.

    After nine birdies in the first round, the course proved challenging on the final day where he closed four-over-par with a 76. He finished the course four shots off of the lead and tied for a 13th place finish.

Stephen Ames

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    In 2004, Ames found himself in contention through the last round at Whistling Straits. He had a strong first and third round at the course with a 68 and 69, respectively.

    Despite four bogeys in the final seven holes on the last day, Ames finished just three shots behind the lead.

    That was the best PGA Championship finish of his career.

    Ames, now 46, hasn't had a very strong 2010 but a return to Whistling Straits could change that.

Justin Leonard

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    With only five holes to go, Leonard had a two stroke lead on the rest of the pack and seemed like he was on his way to win.   But his putting failed him down the stretch.

    Leonard missed a 12-foot par putt on the 18th hole that would have won him the coveted Wanamaker trophy.

    Instead, his missed opportunity led to a three-way playoff with Singh and DiMarco and a major title win faded away after Singh dominated the playoffs.

    This year's PGA Championship at Whistling Straits is a chance for redemption.

Vijay Singh

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    Vijay won the PGA Chamionship last time it was at Whistling Straits.

    In dramatic fashion, he scrapped his way into a three-way playoff with Justin Leonard and Chris DiMarco.  Despite shooting a 76 in the final round, he found himself still in it at the end.

    After not making a single birdie during regulation play, he notched a very important one in the first of three playoff holes. That birdie sealed his win and gave him the third major of his career.

    Singh had a tremendous 2004, earning PGA Tour Play of the Year honors. Now, at 47-years-old with his best golf seemingly behind him, he is trying recapture some of that magic from 2004.