Golf

Kiawah Island a major talking point at Firestone

While this week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational is a big enough event in its own right, the monster venue for next week's US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island has already captured the attention of the players.

 
Kiawah Island a major talk - GolfReuters
 

The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island in South Carolina will measure 7,676 yards for year's final major and Tiger Woods and Adam Scott have each predicted a daunting challenge there after taking a sneak peak.

"It's going to be long, it's going to be close to 7,700 yards, and that's a big ballpark," world number two Woods said at Firestone Country Club on the eve of the elite Bridgestone Invitational.

"A lot of the holes are crosswind holes. It's going to be a great test. There's so much room out there, but as soon as the wind starts blowing 20, 30 miles an hour, there's not much room.

"There are so many collection areas. Where you have to miss the golf ball to give yourself the correct angle? Do you pitch into the wind? Do you pitch downwind? Where do you leave yourself on these different angles?"

Woods, a four-times winner of the US PGA Championship, played the Ocean Course in wet conditions on Tuesday and said he would need to gain more experience of the longest layout to stage a major before feeling comfortable on it.

"I need some more practice rounds on it for sure, but I did most of our charting," he said. "I still would like to see it under different wind conditions because we only played one wind yesterday.

"It was really soft and I don't think it's going to be like that during the tournament."

Australian Scott was especially taken aback by the severity of the closing nine holes on the Ocean Course.

"The front nine is a really nice, playable golf course, and then the back nine is not," he smiled, sparking widespread laughter in the interview room. "The back nine is very severe.

"There are good scores out there in good weather, but if the wind blows, it's just going to be very difficult, even if they move tees forward and stuff like that.

"The green complexes are very severe on some holes, and there is extreme penalty for a miss. There's water one side and big waste bunkers the other. It's certainly going to need some (good) ball striking."

American Keegan Bradley, who as a US PGA Tour rookie won his first Major title at last year's US PGA Championship in Atlanta, was also preparing for a tricky test on the Ocean Course.

"I've played it and the golf course is unbelievable," he said. "It's going to be very difficult. I've heard it's going to rain there for the next week and that's only going to make the course longer and tougher.

"I'm interested to see how the PGA sets up the golf course because they can set it up a million different ways. I think it's going to be a great tournament. It's just an awesome venue for us to go to and enjoy."

The 94th US PGA Championship will be played from August 9-12.

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