CRAWFORD | 25 Fun Facts about the PGA Championship - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | 25 Fun Facts about the PGA Championship

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- This is like a practice round. Take a look at some general information and notes on the upcoming PGA Tournament. Most of this was gleaned from the PGA Championship official media guide, or from releases sent by the PGA. The Associated Press also contributed to the list. Just a few fun facts and figures to get things rolling.

1. VITALS. 96th PGA Championship, Aug. 7-10, Valhalla Golf Club.

2. VALHALLA VITALS. Length: 7,458 yards, par 35-36-71. It is the longest par 71 in PGA Championship history.

156 players, including 99 of the top 100 players in the Official World Golf Ranking.

4. THE SPOILS. The winner receives $1.8 million of the $10 million purse. He also gets a lifetime exemption into the PGA Championship, and five-year exemptions into the other majors -- The Masters, U.S. Open and British Open. He also earns a berth in the 2014 PGA Grand Slam of Golf, a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour and points for every $1,000 earned in the PGA Championship toward a berth on the 2014 Ryder Cup team (provided he is an American). The PGA Championship winner also receives 30 points toward the 2014 PGA Player of the Year Award (if he wins multiple majors within the year, an additional 50 bonus points for each win are applied).

5. TV. (All times are Eastern) Thursday and Friday, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., TNT Sports. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., TNT Sports; 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. CBS Sports. Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., TNT Sports; 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., CBS Sports.

WDRB Sports: Live at Valhalla will air from Monday through Saturday from 6 to 6:30 on WDRB Television. The WDRB Sports team, Tom Lane, John Lewis, Mike Lacett, Rick Bozich and Eric Crawford, along with Kelly Davis and many others from WDRB News, will bring features, updates and analysis throughout the tournament, culminating in a 10 p.m. wrap-up show after the tournament on Sunday.

Jason Dufner matched a Championship record with a second-round 63 on his way to recording a two-stroke triumph at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y., last year.

8. LAST TIME AT VALHALLA. Tiger Woods won his third straight major of 2000, making a 6-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to force a playoff with Bob May and beating him in the first three-hole playoff in the PGA Championship.

9. WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Bob May runs the Bob May Golf Academy in Las Vegas. Read Rick Bozich's update on him here. Tiger Woods' return from back surgery hit a snag when he aggravated his back during the WGC Bridgestone Invitational Sunday. He withdrew from the final round, and is questionable for this week. Read an update here. In any event, his chase of Jack Nicklaus’ record for major victories interrupted. He has not scored better than 70 on the weekend of a major since a 67 in the final round of 2011 Masters.

For the first time in 31 years, the first three majors were won by three players who already were major champions. They will play in the same group for the first two PGA Rounds at Valhalla. Bubba Watson (Masters), Martin Kaymer (U.S. Open) and Rory McIlroy (British Open) will tee off at 1:45 p.m. on Thursday.

11. PAR FOR THE COURSE. While this is the third PGA Championship to be played at Valhalla, it will be the first time the course plays to a par of 71. In both 1996 and 2000, the PGA Championship at Valhalla played to a par of 72. This year, the second hole has been converted from a par 5 to a 500-yard par 4.

12.  A LONG WALK. While at 7,458 yards, Valhalla is the longest par  71 in PGA Championship history, the longest par 71 in major championship history was at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, California, where the course measured 7,643 yards.

13. “HISTORIC” VALHALLA. If you’re old enough and from Louisville, you probably remember when the property at Valhalla was just farmland, or even in use as a Boy Scout camp. But the course has established a proud history very quickly. It is one of only five venues in the United States to have hosted three of the PGA of America’s premier spectator events – the Senior PGA Championship, the PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup. The other four:  Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y.; The Ocean Course in Kiawah Island, S.C.; Laurel Valley Golf Club in Ligonier, Pa.; and PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Valhalla also was the site of the 2002 PGA Professional National Championship.

14. OPENING SHOT. PGA Club Professional Brian Norman, a native of Henderson, Kentucky, will have the honor of hitting the first tee shot in the 96th PGA Championship, Thursday at 7:30 a.m. off the No. 1 Tee. Norman, 32, is a PGA assistant professional at The Lakes at Castle Hills in The Colony, Texas, and predicted to family and friends that “one day I will be playing in a PGA Championship at Valhalla.” He made his declaration after watching the 2000 PGA Championship playoff between Woods and May.

According to the PGA, ticket sales are the highest in the 96-year history of the PGA Championship. Attendance is expected to exceed 250,000 over the seven-day period, with 50,000 per day expected Thursday through Sunday. Ticket sales have come from all 50 states and 13 countries.

16. SALE RACK. PGA senior director of merchandising Michael Quirk told WDRB News the PGA hopes to sell 70,000 hats, 40,000 golf shirts, 2,000 T-shirts and 10,000 golf towels at merchandise shops this week. The main shop, a 38,000 square foot tent, is the largest ever for a PGA Championship.

Rickie Fowler has yet to win a major golf championship, but he does hold the distinction of being the only player to finish in the top 5 in all three major championships this year. Fowler tied for fifth at the Masters, and tied for second at both the U.S. Open and Open Championship.
18. SEVEN STRAIGHT? In the past six years, the PGA Championship has been won by six different players, each of whom had never previously won the Championship – Padraig Harrington in 2008, Y.E. Yang in 2009, Martin Kaymer in 2010, Keegan Bradley in 2011, Rory McIlroy in 2012 and Jason Dufner last year.
19. YOUNGEST, OLDEST IN FIELD. At age 21, Jordan Spieth is the youngest player in the 96th PGA Championship. Spieth was born three months after Matteo Manassero of Italy, who also is in the field. Tom Watson, who turns 65 on Sept. 4, is the oldest player in the field.  Watson won the 2011 Senior PGA Championship at Valhalla.

The purse for the first PGA Championship back in 1916 was $2,580, with $500 going to the winner. The winner’s share hit $100,000 for the first time in 1983 and $1 million for the first time in 2003. The purse was $2.4 million overall ($430,000 to the winner) when the PGA Championship first came to Valhalla in 1996, and was $5.031 million ($900,000 to the winner) when it came back in 2000.

21. MOST CHAMPIONSHIPS WON. Walter Hagen won five PGA Championships when the tournament was conducted by match play in 1924, ’24, ’25, ’26 and ’27. Jack Nicklaus also has five championships. Tiger Woods has four.

22. BEGINNER’S LUCK. Only eight men have won a PGA Championship on their first try: Jim Barnes (1916), Tom Creavy (1931), Bob Hamilton (1944), Doug Ford (1955), Boby Tway (1986), John Daly (1991), Shaun Micheel (2003) and Keegan Bradley (2011).

23. AMERICANS RULE. American-born players have won 77 PGA Championships. South Africa and Australia are next with four each, followed by Scotland, England and Fiji with two each.

The oldest winner of the tournament was Julius Boros (48 years, 4 months, 18 days). He’s followed by Jerry Barber (45), Lee Trevino (44), Vijay Singh (41) and Jack Nicklaus (40). The youngest winner, by about two months, was Gene Sarazen, who was 20 years, 5 months, 22 days when he won it in 1922. Next youngest: Tom Creavy (20), Gene Sarazen (21 years, 7 months in 1923), Rory McIlroy (23 years, 3 months in 2012), Jack Nicklaus (23 years, 6 months in 1963) and Tiger  Woods (23 years, 7 months) in 1999.

Louisville native Bobby Nichols was the first wire-to-wire winner of the PGA Championship in stroke play in 1964. Raymond Floyd did it in 1969 and in 1982. Hal Sutton did it in 1983 and Nick Price in 1994.

Copyright 2014 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.  Follow Eric on Twitter or Facebook for continuous coverage of the PGA Championship and other sports news.

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