Par 4 17th hole made reachable in round two at Southern Hills, but presented a challenge to the field
Kerry Haigh, the PGA’s Chief Competitions Officer, often is lauded for his setup at the PGA, KitchenAid Senior PGA and KPMG Women's PGA championships. Friday he moved the tee to 269 yards at the par-4 17th hole (it played 342 yards in Round 1), and players enjoyed the challenge.
“it makes you think,” said Steve Stricker, who made a bogey after hitting 3-wood into a front creek. (“I just didn’t commit to it,” he said.) They made you make a decision there and everybody pretty much can get there, so I thought that was a nice twist to the setup on 17.”
Rich Beem, the 2002 PGA champion, thought the front tee might be in use on Saturday, after the cut, but was pleased to see it in play when a full field had a crack at it. “Everybody got a shot at it,” Beem said, “which was great.” Darren Clarke made birdie there hitting 3-wood onto the green. Ernie Els (70) hit his tee shot over the green, and then chipped in for eagle-2 from a challenging lie.
“I think it's brilliant,” Clarke said. It’s great to see it today … I don't know what their plans are to do it again over the weekend or not, but certainly for next year, when the main PGA is here, I think that will be a fabulous hole.”
The 2022 PGA Championship will be played at Southern Hills next May, the fifth time the PGA has visited Southern Hills.