PGA Championship: High winds challenging players Friday at Southern Hills

·2 min read

TULSA, Okla. — After cooking in the Oklahoma heat on Thursday, Mother Nature has another challenge in store for the players at the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club. Wind, and lots of it.

As a slow-moving front approaches, sustained winds from the south of between 15 and 25 mph are expected throughout the morning, with gusts reaching 35 mph anticipated before late afternoon thunderstorms start rolling through the region.

While recreational golfers often struggle in wet conditions, elite players would much rather play in the rain than the wind because golf balls stop quickly when the turf gets damp. The wind brings unpredictability, not just off the tee and with irons, but also on putts.

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To reduce the effects of wind on the greens and help to prevent golf balls from oscillating or blowing off the putting surface, the PGA of America opted not to mow the greens on the course or in the practice area. Still, several shots hit by golfers in the early morning wave have clearly been pushed by the breezes.

Jon Rahm’s second shot of the day, a 115-yard approach shot, landed just and to the right of the hole, but the wind pushed it 60 feet to the left, so instead of a 20-foot birdie chance, the world’s No. 2 player had to work hard to two-putt from just over 45 feet from the flag.

Several hole locations and tee boxes have been adjusted with the wind in mind. For example, the 18th hole was 490 yards long on Thursday and played a half-shot over par, making it the toughest hole on the course. On Friday, the tee boxes have been moved 19 yards forward, so the hole, which plays directly into the south wind, plays to a yardage of 471 yards.

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PGA Championship: Irons being used by the leading contenders at Southern Hills

Scottie Scheffler's TaylorMade irons
Scottie Scheffler's TaylorMade irons