Monday, August 12, 2002

PGA Championship, hole by hole

The Associated Press

        CHASKA, Minn. — A hole-by-hole look at Hazeltine National Golf Club, site of the 84th PGA Championship, to be played Aug. 15-18:

        No. 1, 460 yards, par 4: Only three par 4s are longer than 450 yards, and players will get one of them right away. The tee shot is pinched by bunkers left and right. The hole is slightly downhill and won't play quite as long as the yardage. Most of the hole locations will be over the bunker on the right.

        No. 2, 435 yards, par 4: Big hitters can carry the bunker and the rough on this dogleg left. The conservative route is a fairway wood or iron to the wider fairway. The approach is a short iron to an elevated and firm green.

        No. 3, 636 yards, par 5: The longest hole at Hazeltine has a sloping fairway, and the tee shot must be played close to deep-faced bunkers on the left to avoid running into the rough. Several players will lay up 130 to 150 yards short of the green to avoid a steep slope in the fairway. The large green is undulating and well-guarded.

        No. 4, 196 yards, par 3: The green has two tiers, requiring a middle iron for back hole locations. The front hole location is well-guarded by bunkers, and players will want to avoid going long and facing slick, downhill putts.

        No. 5, 412 yards, par 4: Plays difficult, despite its short yardage. Fairway slopes away from the dogleg at about 265 yards, so not many players will hit driver from the tee. The approach is a short iron to a green that sits at an angle, slightly elevated and guarded by three deep bunkers and a grove of trees.

        No. 6, 405 yards, par 4: There are no bunkers in the landing area, but the slope and angle of the fairway makes players decide whether to hit driver or lay up about 150 yards from the green. The green wraps around a pond, creating interesting hole locations.

        No. 7, 542 yards, par 5: The shortest of the par 5s can be reached by just about everyone in two, especially with no fairway bunkers. The green is guarded in the front by a pond, and the smart play is away from the water. Even if the second shot catches a greenside bunker, it's an easy up-and-down.

        No. 8, 178 yards, par 3: The shortest hole on the course, with the smallest green that is pinched tightly by a pond on the right and three steep bunkers on the left. The hole is tough in swirling wind, especially when the hole location is front right near the water.

        No. 9, 436 yards, par 4: The drive is crucial to scoring. Any tee shot left of center will roll toward the rough. The approach is uphill to a green that sits at an angle. The putting surface has more contours than any other green at Hazeltine.

        No. 10, 410 yards, par 4: The hole goes away from the clubhouse and toward Hazeltine Lake. Most players will take a long iron off the tee to an area 250 yards away that allows them a good view of the green. The approach is downhill to a green halved by a distinct slope. Balls played from the rough could catch a bunker or even the lake.

        No. 11, 597 yards, par 5: A long, uphill drive puts players at the corner of the dogleg. Some will decide to lay up instead of negotiating a nest of bunkers, leaving a wedge to a green surrounded by bunkers. Plenty of birdie opportunities.

        No. 12, 465 yards, par 4: The longest par 4 on the course, there is plenty of room to hit the driver. A small pond short and right of the green comes into play only if the drive misses the fairway. The approach is a mid-iron to a shallow, firm green, where hole locations likely will hug the bunkers left and right.

        No. 13, 204 yards, par 3: Hole locations determine the strength of this par 3. The most difficult is when the hole is cut between two bunkers in the front. A back left location near the pond can be reached by playing to the center of the green and using the slope.

        No. 14, 357 yards, par 4: Some big hitters might consider going for the green, but anything off target will leave a precarious pitch to a tough green. Most players will use an iron to stay short of the fairway bunker, from where they will have a wedge to the green.

        No. 15, 586 yards, par 5: This hole was remodeled from the '91 U.S. Open. It now requires a straight drive or a slight fade to clear the cross bunkers and have a chance of reaching the green in two. For those who lay up, the third shot is a 130-yard shot to a three-tiered green. This is a hole to pick up ground if played properly.

        No. 16, 402 yards, par 4: This could be the key hole in the tournament, with disaster lurking on every shot. The tee shot must carry 200 yards of Hazeltine Lake to reach the fairway, which is flanked on both sides by water. The approach is to a peninsula green.

        No. 17, 182 yards, par 3: The green is guarded by four bunkers and two water hazards, and it also features one of the most difficult putting surfaces on the course. Several balls will end up in the bowl at the front of the green, requiring a delicate touch to reach the upper tier.

        No. 18, 457 yards, par 4: The drive is protected by bunkers on both sides of the fairway. The approach is to a multi-tiered green, putting a premium on distance control. Even if players get to the appropriate level, there are several subtle breaks on the putting surface.


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