Golfers prepare for 86th PGA Championship

Preparations are underway for the 86th PGA Championship, which begins on Thursday.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:08 IST
  • Total Shares

Kohler, Wisconsin:

Preparations are underway for the 86th PGA Championship, which begins on Thursday and will be played this year on a beautiful course on the shores of Lake Michigan. No matter where they are in the world ranking and what they've done in the majors, everyone faces the same dilemma this week at the longest course at 7,514 yards in major championship history. Every player is trying to figure out how to navigate Whistling Straits in wind that can blow so hard that even long-hitters Tiger Woods and Ernie Els both ripped drivers Tuesday on No. 18 - a 500-yard par 4 - and still needed a 3-wood to reach the green. Players say it's a fair course, a good test. But they also say, it's a course that puts a premium on accuracy. Not only will golfers have to battle the course, they will also have to contend with the weather, which was very windy during Tuesday's practice rounds. Also, on and off rain is in the forecast for the next few days. Because of the possibility of inclement weather, golfers won't really say what they think the winning score might be. Top spot Tiger Woods' hold on the world number one ranking is more tenuous now. Vijay Singh has been on Tiger's heels for some time now, and if either Singh, or Ernie Els were to win the PGA Championship, Woods would relinquish his spot atop the rankings. Woods has been ranked number one for five years now. Just this week, he equalised the mark of 331 consecutive weeks in that lofty position, set by Greg Norman. Todd Hamilton also got in some time on the course, working on his game. Since winning the British Open, his life has certainly changed. Other contenders Another contender hoping to win this tournament, Sergio Garcia, who, since Phil Mickelson won the Masters, could now be considered the best golfer to have never won a major. Garcia has concentrated on improving his patience on the golf course, and he ranked how patient he is now, compared to the early stage of his career. While Garcia still seeks his first major, Ernie Els already has accomplished that feat. But the steady South African surely would love to add this major to his trophy case. Like several other golfers, Els said this course is somewhat comparable to a links golf course. The PGA Championship - the final major of the 2004 season - gets underway on Thursday morning. (AP)