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Tour Report: PGA makes Kiawah course ruling

By Nicholas Bright, PGATOUR.COM

In a couple of weeks, the PGA Championship returns to another Pete Dye creation after two years. It was at Whistling Straits in 2010 where Dustin Johnson lost his opportunity to win the PGA Championship on the 72nd hole after unknowingly grounding his club in a bunker.

This will not be an issue in this year’s final major. The PGA of America announced this week that the “Condition of Play” for the 94th PGA Championship, with all sandy areas at The Ocean Course in Kiawah Island, S.C., regarded as “through the green” and not designated as “bunkers.”

As a result, players who find these sandy areas will be allowed to take practice swings, ground their club, and even move loose impediments, except when their ball lies in such a sandy area that is part of a water hazard or lateral water hazard.

“With the unique topography of The Ocean Course, natural sandy areas spread throughout the entire property, the PGA of America rules committee has determined that all of these areas will be treated alike and played as through the green,” PGA of America President Allen Wronowski said in a press release. “We believe that by establishing the Condition of Play for the 94th PGA Championship well in advance of the Championship, it will help players and spectators prepare for this spectacular Major Championship experience.”

This local rule will be in place due to wind and tide carrying debris to these sandy areas. This same Condition of Play was in effect at the Ocean Course for the 29th Ryder Cup in 1991; at the 2005 PGA Professional National Championship; and at the 2007 Senior PGA Championship.

Players have been competing for the PGA Championship’s Wanamaker Trophy since 1916, but this year’s PGA Championship, Aug. 9-12, marks the first time it will be conducted under these conditions.

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