Long week ahead at PGA

Paul Azinger pulled the driver from his bag because there really is no other option at Hazeltine. The sign post on the opening hole has two words and two sets of numbers that serve as a not-so-subtle welcome to the PGA Championship. 490 yards. Par 4.

The Wanamaker Trophy sits on the first tee before the first round of the 91st PGA Championship at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska

CHASKA, Minn. — Paul Azinger pulled the driver from his bag because there really is no other option at Hazeltine. The sign post on the opening hole has two words and two sets of numbers that serve as a not-so-subtle welcome to the PGA Championship.

490 yards. Par 4.

If that’s not enough, the wind was in his face.

A stream of fans were crossing the fairway about 200 yards off the tee, and as a marshal frantically waved his arms to stop the traffic, Azinger told him not to worry. He figured even he could keep the ball in the air that long, and he then ripped a shot that travelled well over their heads.

No need to put the cover back on the driver or any of the fairway metals for most players in the PGA Championship.

The final major gets under way Thursday, already in the record books without a single shot having been hit that counts on the card. Hazeltine National measures an official 7,674 yards, making it the longest course in major championship history.

The previous record was 7,643 yards last year at Torrey Pines for the U.S. Open. Before that, the record belonged to Medinah No. 3, which was 7,561 yards for the 2006 PGA Championship. And before that, it was 7,514 yards at Whistling Straits for the ’04 PGA.

You get the picture.

“Looking forward to playing a major one day that does not promote itself as the longest ever,” Geoff Ogilvy said on Twitter.

The buzz word this week is long.

Scott Verplank, who is more on the short side of driving distance, was asked how many players could talk about Hazeltine without mentioning length or some variation of the word. “Zero,” he said.

“The best hole on the course is No. 16, and it’s the second-shortest hole,” he said of the 402-yard signature hole that runs along Hazeltine Lake. “The shortest one is No. 14, the one the same length as the par 3 before it.”

The PGA Championship bills itself as “Glory’s Last Shot” because it is the final chance of the year to win a major. That takes on particular significance for Tiger Woods, whose five victories this year do not include the kind he covets the most.

Woods is trying to match Jack Nicklaus and Walter Hagen with his fifth PGA Championship victory, and continue toward a more obscure record. Hagen won a major six years in a row; Woods is at four.

The world’s No. 1 player came close seven years ago at Hazeltine, closing with four straight birdies to finish one shot behind Rich Beem. The course was a mere 7,360 yards for the 2002 PGA Championship.

Just Posted

Cannabis legalization won’t impact one Red Deer pot dispensary

Nothing changes for Compass Cannabis Clinic in Red Deer despite legalization

Cannabis retail store will open later in October in Red Deer

Two cannabis stores coming to downtown Red Deer

Neighbours drop opposition to Red Deer County communications tower

Communication tower to be located in Balmoral Heights

Legal cannabis comes with many unknowns: Red Deer County councillors

Councillors question how rural municipalities will be able to enforce cannabis regulations

Kitten season puts pressure on Red Deer shelter

More public education needed to control cat population

WATCH: Two weeks away from Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer

In just two weeks, Ponoka’s Shayna Weir will compete with the best… Continue reading

‘Start low, go slow’: Experts walk bud beginners through cannabis 101

With the countdown to cannabis legalization Wednesday ticking towards 4-20, some novice… Continue reading

NHL stays with status quo as Canada pot legalization looms

As Riley Cote took and delivered countless punches over more than a… Continue reading

Paul Stanley: Kiss farewell tour could include ex-members

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — It won’t be all night, but former members… Continue reading

Judge tosses Stormy Daniels’ defamation suit against Trump

WASHINGTON — A federal judge dismissed Stormy Daniels’ defamation lawsuit against President… Continue reading

Canada open to growing trade with China now that USMCA is a done deal: PM

TORONTO — Canada is open to doing more business with China now… Continue reading

Pot shop raids “highly unlikely” on Wednesday: head of police chiefs

VANCOUVER — Police departments across Canada are fully prepared for marijuana legalization… Continue reading

Campers will be able to smoke cannabis at campsites in Canada’s national parks

Parks Canada says visitors should do their research on cannabis before going… Continue reading

U.S. pot firms urge Trump to deny Canadian producers’ ‘competitive advantage’

WASHINGTON — An American cannabis producer is warning President Donald Trump that… Continue reading

Most Read