Follow the PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club
ELMSFORD, N.Y. (July 27, 2016) - It's finally here! The Met Area has been anticipating the return of the PGA Championship to Baltusrol Golf Club for years (maybe even since the last putt dropped for Phil Mickelson's win in 2005), and the stage is now set. Check out some of the top headlines and information heading into the year's final major.
The PGA of America is celebrating its centennial this year, and has been using the #ThxPGAPro hashtag all year so golfers can share their appreciation for PGA Professionals. Through the PGA Professional Championship, 20 club pros are competing this week at Baltusrol, including five from the Met Area: Mark Brown of Tam O'Shanter, Matt Dobyns of Fresh Meadow, Brian Gaffney of Quaker Ridge, Rob Labritz of GlenArbor, and Ben Polland of Deepdale.
|Rob Labritz in Tuesday's Long Drive Competition|
Experience Adding Up
Teeing it up in major championships is becoming the norm for Met Area professionals, especially in the PGA Championship. Brown, Gaffney and Labritz are all making their fifth PGA Championship appearance, with Gaffney (2015) and Labritz (2010) each claiming low club pro honors in prior championships. Dobyns is making his third PGA start, and Polland his second. Gaffney, Dobyns and Labritz are all making their second straight starts in the year's final major. Brown will strike the first tee shot on Thursday at 7:00 a.m.
Matt Dobyns has played in six PGA TOUR events since winning the 2015 PGA Professional Championship, showing how his length stacks up against some of the world's best. On Tuesday, Dobyns ripped a drive 337 yards on Baltusrol's first hole, good enough for fifth in the Long Drive Competition. Dobyns finished second in the contest last year, behind a 323-yard effort.
Quaker Ridge professional Brian Gaffney hails from Westfield, N.J., not too far from Baltusrol. Gaffney spent time as a professional at Rumson Country Club in Rumson, N.J., and Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit, N.J. Even though he's played the course before, he's calling it a whole new experience as he faces the PGA experience. You can read much more on Gaffney with the following stories: Getting to know..., Pros make strategic mistakes in practice rounds, Gaffney prepping for Baltusrol, PGA at Baltusrol is a homecoming, Stick to a routine.
Starting Times to Watch
Be sure to follow the Met Area professionals as they shoot to play the weekend at Baltusrol:
|Bradley Dredge, Patton Kissire, Mark Brown||7:00 a.m. (#1)||12:15 p.m. (#10)|
|Jason Bohn, Jeunghun Wang, Brian Gaffney||7:10 a.m. (#10)||12:25 p.m. (#1)|
|Tyrrell Hatton, Harris English, Matt Dobyns||7:30 a.m. (#10)||12:45 p.m. (#1)|
|Ryan Palmer, Rob Labritz, Gary Woodland||12:25 p.m. (#1)||7:10 a.m. (#10)|
|Ryan Moore, Kyle Reifers, Ben Polland||2:05 p.m. (#1)||8:50 a.m. (#10)|
Baltusrol Golf Club is one of the 26 founding member clubs of the Metropolitan Golf Association, which was officially chartered on April 14, 1897, at Delmonico's in New York City. To read more about the MGA's history here. Baltusrol has hosted the Met Open on two occasions (1908 & 1988) and hosts the MGA's Carter Cup, a junior stroke play championship.
Prepping the Course
Baltusrol can play up to 7,450 yards as a par-70. It will feature three cuts of rough and a smaller-than-average green size. All are major factors in setting up a championship course. You can hear more from Baltusrol's Director of Grounds Mark Kuhn with this video.
Truly a Landmark
Two top-ranked courses, a historic clubhouse, and remarkable major championship history are three of the most iconic pieces of Baltusrol Golf Club, which is one of just four golf clubs that are designated as a National Historic Landmark. Merion, Oakmont, and Pinehurst No. 2 are the other three. You can see more inside the Club's iconic clubhouse by watching this video.
The Old Island 10th
The dual courses designed by A.W. Tillinghast have stood the test of time, but there are also aspects of the original "Old Course," at Baltusrol that are present in modern architecture. Read more in this New York Times article by Bill Fields.
Mickelson Makes Friends
Following his win at the PGA Championship in 2005, Mickelson gave credit to longtime Baltusrol head professional Doug Steffen (who will be
|Jordan Spieth addressing the media on Tuesday|
retiring at the end of the year) for his insight on the course. The two are very good friends and Mickelson continues to speak very highly of Steffen. This week, Mickelson and Callaway presented Steffen with commemorative wedges, which you can read more about here.
Though former world No. 1 Jordan Spieth has not yet played a championship round at Baltusrol, he highly regards the Lower Course, saying, "I consider it one of the top American courses," during his pre-championship press conference on Tuesday. Phil Mickelson also spoke highly of the course, saying, "A lot of history has taken place here, and for me to be a part of it means a lot."
The Grim History
Baltusrol's history is filled with highlights, and while the notorious murder of it's namesake Baltus Roll is pretty grim, it's still an important and interesting piece of the club's lore that continues to live on. You can read more about it from PGATOUR.com or The New York Times.