PITTSFORD, N.Y. – Oak Hill regained its teeth Saturday on what was the best weather day of the PGA Championship so far. Temperatures were in in the 70s with a few fluffy clouds, and low humidity made the day very easy to work even if it was very long. I spent the entire day on the 11th tee calling clubs in to the truck. The hole played 232 yards with a slight wind into the players angling from the left side of the hole. Club selection varied between 4 iron and 5 wood, with neither of the two four irons hit getting close to the putting surface.
75 players made the attempt with the following results:
Missed green: 37
Hit green: 38
Birdies: 3 (Tiger was one of them, too!)
What does this prove? To me it says that only 50 percent of the best players in the world can get the ball on the green on a par 3 over 230 yards long. In amateur statistics you could probably drop that to 10 percent or less.
What is the lesson here? In playing long par three holes, search for the best place to miss the green and make sure that you play a shot that will favor that miss. Most players just hit at the target with no thought as to where the safe miss is, often resulting in a second shot that is played from “jail.”
The most interesting observation was the two or three players who will remain nameless who have a bag emblazoned with one brand of equipment and play a totally different set of clubs. So for you keen observers of the game, a bag with manufacturer’s name "X" might not be filled with clubs of the same name, so you may not be playing the clubs used by your favorite player after all.
To finish up today’s blog, the leaderboard is poised for a terrific final day with at least eight players (none of whom are named Tiger or Phil) who could win the PGA Championship. Weather is supposed to be fantastic again Sunday, so expect fast fairways and greens, errors and saves and possibly the best last day of the majors this year.
My take on how the winner pulled it off tomorrow.
Ian Grant is a PGA teaching professional and a member of the teaching faculty of the PGA of America. He can be contacted at Oak Brook Golf Club 630-990-3032 in the summer and White Pines Golf Dome in Bensenville 630-422-1060 in the winter. You can contact Ian directly at 708-917-8951, or at Iansgolf@aol.com.