PGA Championship Preview: Part II

Continuing from Part I on Tuesday, here is a hole-by-hole look at the back nine at Whistling Straits, home of the 2015 PGA Championship beginning Thursday.

No. 10: Voyageur, Par 4, 361 yards – An up-and-down sloping fairway kicks off the back nine, with a deep bunker on the right side of the landing area that requires a drive of at least 240 yards to get past. The green is elevated, but also has bunkers on the left and in the front.

No. 11: Sand Box, Par 5, 563 yards – The third-longest hole on the course, its right side is gobbled up by dunes, bunkers, and a sheer drop off. The titular box is a staggering 16 feet deep, meaning unless you’re Shaquille O’Neal, it’s going to be a blind shot to the green.

No. 12: Pop Up, Par 3, 143 yards – Arguably the toughest green on the course, the hole sits in the back right tier on a very large green. Any shot in the middle of the green is likely to slide down into the bunkers, but that’s favorable to going short or right, in which case you’re headed down a 40-foot ravine to either sand dunes or Lake Michigan.

No. 13: Cliff Hanger, Par 4, 404 yards – Not to be confused with the horrible early 1990s Sylvester Stallone movie, the cliff in question overlooks everybody’s favorite body of water, steep bluffs that will gobble up bad shots from the right.

No. 14: Widow’s Watch, Par 4, 397 yards –  Things get ugly with any sort of misplaced shot here, an ugly hillside with a ton of rough on the right fairway, but a blind approach shot and a sand bunker on the left. If it comes down to cases on Sunday, this might be the hole that decides it.

No. 15: Grand Stand, Par 4, 518 yards – After the misery of the last few holes, this one looks almost too good to be true – green, flat, and safe. But that’s just an illusion, as long drives are needed to get past the dunes, which turn into bunkers on the left of the green, which itself has multiple breaks.

No. 16: Endless Bite, Par 5, 569 yards – No, this hole wasn’t named for Craig Stadler at the buffet line, but rather the long, long approach that has a ridiculous amount of sand dunes and bunkers plaguing it. This is the shortest of the course’s par-5s, but far from the easiest.

No 17: Pinched Nerve, Par 3, 223 yards – On sunny days, you’d swear you were teeing off in California, instead of Wisconsin, but the beauty here is outmatched by Pete Dye’s sense of treachery. Huge sand dunes surround the green and the bunkers are a full 20 feet below it. Go too far left of the pin and watch your ball roll blissfully into the drink.

No. 18: Dyeabolical – Par 4, 520 yards – Try and forgive the terrible pun of a nickname here. With its swirling winds, downhill approach, water hazard in front of the wide, narrow green, and ampitheater feel, it hardly needs a nickname, it speaks for itself.



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