There's only one thing I don't like about summer: It arrives too slowly and goes away too quickly, and with it goes the golf season-well, at least in this part of the United States. I must admit that didn't bother me a bit back when I was a downhill skier. But now that I don't hit the slopes anymore, it's a bummer.
And all of a sudden, the PGA Championship-the fourth and final major tournament of the year-is under way at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island off the coast of South Carolina. At least we have the Ryder Cup coming next month to Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill.
We all love the Olympics, which wrap up Sunday, but it should be a gripping weekend at Kiawah Island as well. British Open winner Ernie Els, "The Big Easy," is looking for his second major victory of the year, Keegan Bradley is trying to repeat as PGA champion and Tiger Woods is in pursuit of his 15th major win.
The consensus is that the big problem the players could have is dealing with the wind howling at Kiawah. I don't know about you, but I won't even sit on the patio and read a book if there's a stiff wind, let alone do something involving a ball in the air. And what's even worse: The par-72 course is 7,676 yards from the tips. Predictions are that the player who shoots 4 under par-if anyone does-will win.
Ah, yes, 4 under par for 72 holes-a familiar number when it comes to a major championship played on a real championship golf course. That's how far into the red Shaun Micheel went to win the PGA on our Oak Hill Country Club's East Course in 2003.
As you know, pro golf's final major of the year is coming back to Oak Hill in 2013, and I applaud the PGA for returning to one of the greatest golf courses on the planet. As I ranted and raved in a column during U.S. Open week back in mid-June, I'm not sure if Moe, Larry or Curly is running the United States Golf Association, but my guess is all three of them are.
Obviously, the USGA must think Els didn't know what he was talking about when he said this about Oak Hill East: "It is the best, fairest and toughest championship golf course I've ever played in all my years as a tour professional." And that, folks, just about covers it.
The PGA is being played at Kiawah for the first time, and the Open has never been played there. For the same reason, I'm guessing, the USGA hasn't come back to Oak Hill since 1989, when the Open was played there for the third time. That reason would be money, corporate cash flowing freely.
So, Moe, Larry and Curly, listen up. PGA Championship Director Ryan Cannon reports that corporate hospitality sales have been cranking up since late 2010 and more than 80 percent of the sales goals have been reached. And there is still a year to finish them off.
Not that the USGA gives a hoot, but Cannon and his crew say more than 11,000 people from 47 states and 16 countries pre-registered for tickets, which went on sale Monday. And people from 29 states and five countries have already filled all but 100 of the volunteer positions.
It will be interesting to see if someone does shoot 4 under par for 72 holes this week at Kiawah. Lee Trevino shot 5 under to win the 1968 Open at Oak Hill, and Jack Nicklaus finished second at 1 under. Back then, the East Course played "only" 6,952 yards, but players didn't hit 330-yard drives and get 210 yards out of a 6-iron.
Now the East Course plays 7,145 yards from the tips; it was 7,134 in 2003, and even then 4 under par was good enough. In the five stroke-play tournaments held at Oak Hill, only 10 players in total have finished under par. Not only that-and I know I'm repeating myself-but Oak Hill is the only golf course to host the PGA, the U.S. Open, the Ryder Cup, the U.S. Amateur, the U.S. Senior Open and the Senior PGA. Wonder why?
Anyway, this week's PGA Championship should be a great tournament to watch, and maybe if no player lights it up, the USGA will at least take a look. If the Open can be played in 2013 at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., and the USGA says tickets are limited because of Merion's size, and it's impressed by what happens here that August, maybe it will at least put Oak Hill back on the table.
Rick Woodson's column appears each Thursday on the Rochester Business Journal website at www.rbjdaily.com. His book, "Words of Woodson," is available at www.authorhouse.com/bookstore. Listen to his weekly program, "The Golf Tee," at 9 a.m. Sunday on WHTK-AM 1280 and FM 107.8/10/12 (c) 2012 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email email@example.com.