By Dave Thomas

August 8, 2005

87th PGA Championship Tees-Off at Baltusrol in N.J.

Needless to say, all eyes surrounding Baltusrol are towards the skies. If the weatherman cooperates, the 87th PGA Championship in Springfield, N.J., could be one for the record books, as the game’s top golfers descend on the Garden State and the course at Baltusrol this week.

Golf’s fourth major takes place at the club which turned 110 years old in 2005, and the site is no stranger to the limelight. Baltusrol has hosted more than a dozen national championships in more than a century, including seven U.S. Opens and two Women’s U.S. Opens.

So what goes into planning a major like this? Work, work and more work to say the least. The event has been in the planning stages for sometime now, and officials will collectively hold their breaths to make sure everything falls into place.

The Lower Course will be the site for the event, and changes have taken place on the greens since the site hosted the 1993 U.S. Open. In 2004, the rough was re-sodded and the course now proves longer and narrower. The rough plays at some 7,400 yards-more than 200 yards from 1993’s U.S. Open.

Today’s greats follow list of champions

Among those expected to play this week will be defending PGA champion Vijay Singh, who will be shooting for his third Wanamaker Trophy.

Earlier this summer, Singh visited the course for the annual media day event, and expressed his excitement at playing on the veteran course. According to Singh, “It’s (the course) going to play really long, but it sets up really well for a great event.”

Singh will be joined by the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, David Toms and many more.

To put a little historical perspective on the event, for more than a century, some of the game’s greatest golfers have played at Baltusrol, including Willie Anderson, Bobby Jones, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.

The 87th PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club will highlight the first time in 63 years that the event has been played in New Jersey. It was last held in the Garden State in 1942 at Seaview Country Club in Atlantic City, where golf legend Sam Snead garnered the first of his seven major championships.

More than just the big boys

While the PGA’s top players will dominate the news this week, Sunday (Aug. 7) proved a special day for more than 200 golfers who attended the second annual Play Golf America Academy at the Hyatt Hills Golf Complex in Clark, N.J. Golfers attending the Academy also received a pair of tickets to any one of the three practice rounds during this week’s championship.

PGA Director of Instruction Rick Martino and 2004 PGA Teacher of the Year Hank Johnson served as the featured instructors.

Play Golf America Academy featured golf clinics by 25 New Jersey PGA Section Professionals, 2-Hole Family Scrambles, contests and prizes.

Martino and Johnson gave golf instruction to spectators in three programs: “Everything About Golf Except the Swing,” “Developing Your Short Game,” and “Developing Your Golf Swing.”

“The Play Golf America Academy is a unique learning opportunity for the entire family to get expert assistance with their game and to share in the PGA Championship Experience,” said Martino, the 1997 PGA Teacher of the Year, and PGA director of Instruction since 1998.

“The Academy brings together outstanding PGA Teaching Professionals, who will expand your golf knowledge, aid your game and to enhance your ability as a spectator to view the game.”

The Play Golf America Academy at the PGA Championship is one of the many events supported by Play Golf America, a national golf industry campaign led by The PGA of America to increase golf participation among new and occasional adult golfers.

“The New Jersey PGA Section is excited to be a part of the Play Golf America Academy and to help kickoff the 2005 PGA Championship with this excellent golf instruction program,” added New Jersey PGA Executive Director Scott Kmiec.

Begun in January 2004, Play Golf America’s goal is to reach 17 million golfers who have expressed a desire to play golf and the 14 million occasional golfers who play between one and seven times per year. The campaign focuses on the adult population of families, couples, women and business professionals. Play Golf America is supported by the National Golf Course Owners Association, PGA Tour, LPGA, USGA and GOLF 20/20.

TV Schedule:

Thursday, Aug. 11 – TNT: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m.

CBS: 12:37 a.m. – 1:07 a.m.

Friday, Aug. 12 – TNT: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m.

CBS: 12:37 a.m. – 1:07 a.m.

Saturday, Aug. 13 – TNT: 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. CBS: 2-7 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 14 – TNT: 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. CBS: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m.

All times Eastern.

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