August 09, 2011
No major seems to be complete without a hole that players complain about in the days leading up to the first round. It's no different at this year's PGA Championship, where the par-3 15th hole at Atlanta Athletic Club seems to be taking the brunt of the criticism.
At 265 yards, playing slightly downhill, the hole is considerably longer than the last time a major was hosted at the course in 2001. Back then, David Toms was able to ace the hole in the third round with a 5-wood. He admitted prior to the tournament that he couldn't recreate the same shot with the club this time around.
The biggest beef with the hole is that it takes some of the skill out of the tee shot, forcing players to aim for the center of the green, instead of being able to fire at the stick. While tournament officials haven't confirmed if they'll be playing the hole all the way from the back tees, a couple of players have already made it clear they're not fans of the lengthy hole.
"I'm never a big fan of long par-3s," Luke Donald said. "I think some of the world's greatest par-3s are very short. The seventh at Pebble, 12th at Augusta, Postage Stamp, you can keep naming quite a few that are short and at the same time quite tricky.
"You know, today off the back tee, I hit a rescue. Just seems like you take a little bit of the skill out of it when it's that long a hole. But it is the same for everyone, and I'm going to have to learn to try and love it for this week."
"Rumour has it that the 15th is 265 yards off the back tee so that's a cunning par three, isn't it?
"At some stage they are going to realise that length is not the way to toughen up the golf course."
Clarke claimed he'd most likely have to take 3-wood off the tee if it was playing from the back. That said, nobody knows for sure where the hole will play, and considering the early reports, I wouldn't be shocked if the PGA moved the tees up and brought some skill into play.
I would agree that the hole isn't a memorable one at 265 yards, but with that much distance to play with, the 15th will certainly be one to watch on the weekend, especially if it plays to the full yardage.