PGA Championship (Baltusrol) – Fantasy Golfanac

Course Details

Lower Course at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey
7,428 yards – Par 70 – Bentgrass Greens
Course Architect: A. W. Tillinghast

Average Green Size: 6,402 square feet…Average Green Sizes
Strength of Field Rating: ~900 OWGR …Strong Field Strength
Fairways Hit (Field Average): 55% … Hard-to-Hit Fairways (2005 @ Baltusrol)
Greens in Regulation (Field Average): 58% … Hard-to-Hit Greens (2005 @ Baltusrol)

PGA Championship Course Rotation

2015: Whistling Straits
2014: Valhalla Golf Club
2013: Oak Hill Country Club
2012: Kiawah Island Golf Resort
2011: Atlantic Athletic Club
2010: Whistling Straits

Tournament Angles

#1 Bentgrass Greens
#2 Strong Field Events
#3 Long Courses
#4 Par 70 Courses
#5 Majors
#6 Hard-to-Hit Greens
#7 Hard Courses
#8 Tillinghast Design

Previous Winners

2015: Jason Day -20 over Jordan Spieth -17
2014: Rory McIlroy -16 over Phil Mickelson -15
2013: Jason Dufner -10 over Jim Furyk -8
2012: Rory McIlroy -13 over David Lynn -5
2011: Keegan Cradley -8 over Jason Dufner in a playoff
2010: Martin Kaymer -11 over Bubba Watson in a playoff

54-Hole Leaders

2015: Jason Day -15
2014: Rory McIlroy -13
2013: Jim Furyk -9
2012: Rory McIlroy -7
2011: Jason Dufner, Brendan Steele -7
2010: Nick Watney -13

36-Hole Leaders

2015: Matt Jones -11
2014: Rory McIlroy -9
2013: Jason Dufner -9
2012: Carl Pettersson, Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh -4
2011: Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner -5
2010: Matt Kuchar -8

Tournament Horses (since 2010)

Rory McIlroy … 68.48 strokes gained in 24 rounds
Steve Stricker … 53.48 strokes gained in 24 rounds
Jason Day … 51.77 strokes gained in 20 rounds
Jason Dufner … 49.95 strokes gained in 20 rounds
Jim Furyk … 47.48 strokes gained in 24 rounds
Adam Scott … 43.13 strokes gained in 22 rounds
Phil Mickelson … 42.48 strokes gained in 24 rounds

Important Interview Quotes

Green Contours: While the green contours serve as a form of hazard, requiring proper placement of both the tee and approach shots, they are also subtle enough that their slopes and hole locations are enhanced at tournament speeds. -2016,

Course Setup in July: Mark Kuhns, CGCS, director of grounds at Baltusrol, says holding a PGA Championship in July won’t affect his team’s preparations. “It could be hot, humid, cool or rainy. We’re going to be ready for anything,” says Kuhns, adding that the rough features 15 different grass varieties, from Kentucky bluegrass to perennial rye, and should be dense and as high as 6 inches in some places. “Usually we’re pretty firm at that time, so we’ll challenge the players.” -2016,

Primarily Bentgrass: “Kuhns instituted a program of aerating and topdressing greens, which combined with bentgrass overseeding, has converted the greens from a 10 percent bentgrass/90 percent Poa mix in 2000, to a 90-95 percent bentgrass today. Likewise, the fairways, which were almost totally Poa in 2000 are nearly 80 percent bentgrass today.” -2005,

Penal Rough: “At five inches, the rough should pose a significant challenge to the competitors. Fairways have been narrowed to 25 yards in the landing areas, approximately 260-330 yards off the tee.” -2005

Precision on Approach: “The Lower demands more accuracy into the greens than is apparent, particularly if Haigh, who in recent years has gotten more aggressive in his flagstick locations, places holes close to slopes and collars.” -2005,

Summer Greens: “Not only are the Lower Course’s Penn A-4 bentgrass greens heavily infested with Poa annua (which wilts and dies in intense heat and humidity), its fairways are likewise a mixture of bent and Poa. “August isn’t the worst month around here,” says Kuhns. “It’s getting to August all in one piece that’s the challenge. Getting there with healthy, growing turf.” -2005,

Weather-Permitting: “Kuhns says Haigh wants Baltusrol to play firm and fast “but not ridiculous” for the PGA, but if temperatures are high, he admits he’ll have to do whatever it takes to keep his turf alive, even if it means watering more than they’d like to.” -2005,

Q. This golf course compared to what you play on week to week?
Like I said, just margin of error. It’s longer. The rough is a little bit more penal. They shrunk the fairways in a little bit, so it separates guys who are hitting it good from guys who aren’t. Not hitting it well tee to green is going to catch up with you; you’re not going to be able to fool this golf course for very long. -2005

Q. How does the course test composure?
You’ve got to hit every fairway. If you don’t hit the fairways, you’re struggling. I mean, you have to be patient, some of the flags were tucked on the front corners today, so it’s hard to get close to them. The greens are firming up. You’ve just got to stay there and pick your shots every time and hit them. Otherwise, you’re going to be scrambling a lot today. -2005

Q. How many times did you hit driver today?
Every hole except for two times. -2005

Q. Is this the type of golf course that if you’re aggressive, it can backfire?
Well, if you hit bad shots, it can get to you. You can be aggressive out there. There’s nothing wrong with it because if you get it down there with some of these pin locations, you can kind of control the 9 iron and the wedge to the rough. But I mean, you get going sideways here, it can hurt you pretty good. You know the way they rake up the rough every day, every ball sits down on the bottom. -2005

Q. And the golf course, it must suit your game?
The golf course is probably one of the best golf courses I’ve ever played in my life. I mean, it’s a major championship golf course. I can see why they’ve had so many majors here. I think you’ve just got to drive your golf ball really well here, and if you can do that and hole a few putts, you never know what can happen. -2005

Q. What did you think of the setup and PGA Championship setups in general?
Extremely fair, hard but fair. I think that’s why can’t all championships be that way? The PGA gets it right. They make the rough difficult but it’s playable. They put the pins in difficult spots but they’re not where they could go over the edge, and it’s one of those great tournaments, and you go to great venues but they set it up fair every time. It’s never over the limit. -2005

Q. Why so good in the majors?
It’s not a putting contest. It’s a contest from tee to green and everything is tested today equally. A regular tournament when the greens are soft, guys are shooting 25 under par and it’s really whoever putts best wins. Here it’s the whole package and I get more fired up and enjoy that sort of golf more. I seem to keep my head more when I make a bogey and don’t lose it as much as I do in a normal week. -2005

Q. You’ve won lots of tournaments and you’ve had all phases of your game working. Can you talk about maybe the different satisfactions that come with grinding out a tournament on such a tough course and all of the things that you dealt with this week?
Well, it was a very difficult tournament. It was amazing how the course changed after the first two days to the last two and how much more difficult it played.

I thought that the thing I’ve learned the most is how important it is to control the miss and miss it on the right side or the correct side of the course and take out half of the trouble, and being able to do that allowed me to make aggressive swings. Taking out the bunkers off the tee on 18 on the right and being able to rip that drive and go ahead and swing as hard as I want and know it’s not going right, that was a big factor. I was able to do that throughout the week; even though I missed it, if you noticed, most every miss was a little bit left and I was able to play it from there. -2005

Q. Can you talk about how and when you decided to use the cut drive exclusively? And also, do you think with birdies to win now two majors on the final hole by one shot, do you think you’ve quieted your critics?
That’s certainly not my intention. I went to the fade this week when I came here a couple of weeks ago, saw the course and realized that the fairways were tight, that it was important to get the ball to stop rolling. I didn’t want to be hitting draws and having the ball bound and go into the rough.

So the cut was designed not necessarily for as much control through the air as there was to get the ball stopped once it hit the ground. And I had fewer drivers bounce into the rough than I would have had I been hitting a draw. -2005

Q. Besides eliminating half the golf course and winning with the backyard shot, over five days what would you attribute the victory to? Good putting early? What else?
I think that as I look back on the 72 holes, the biggest miss that I had was just off the fairway. I had one time where I hit a tree limb early and had to play off another fairway. For the most part my misses were within three or four yards of the fairway; it was never really a big miss. That led to keeping the score in check, and I think that that was probably the biggest factor. -2005

Quotes found at unless otherwise noted.

Tournament Notes

Several of Tillinghast’s notable designs which came after Baltusrol include San Francisco Golf Club, the 36-hole design at Winged Foot Golf Club, the Five Farms course at Baltimore Country Club, the 27-hole design at Ridgewood Country Club, and the 54-hole design at Bethpage State Park. –, Brief History of Baltusrol