‘Hole of the people’ tough challenge for players
By T.J. Auclair, PGA.com Interactive Producer
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The downhill, 181-yard, par-3 15th hole at Oak Hill Country Club served as the hole of the people during the final round of the 95th PGA Championship.
The recently redesigned hole requires a mid-iron to a narrow green. A picturesque pond along the right side of the putting surface is the big concern for players, especially when the prevailing wind is blowing toward the hazard. A steep drop-off also lurks on the backside of the green and three bunkers accentuate the left side.
For the first time in major championship golf history, The PGA of America allowed fans to cast votes on PGA.com, Facebook and Twitter over a 19-day period in the “PGA Championship Pick the Hole Location Challenge Hosted by Jack Nicklaus” to decide which of four locations would be used in Sunday’s final round.
Receiving more than 92,000 votes, “Location C” – closest to the water – was the winner.
The hole location was placed 25 yards from the front of the green and just 4 yards from both the right side of the green and the pond that borders the right edge of the green. The selection by the fans meant that the water hazard would come into play, setting up a dramatic, risk-reward decision for the world’s best players on the final par 3 of the 95th PGA Championship.
So how did it stack up?
On Sunday, it played to a scoring average of 3.2192, which was second-easiest all week.
Here’s a look at the round-by-round scoring average on No. 15:
First Round: 3.2949
Second Round: 3.2143
Third Round: 3.2800
Final Round: 3.2192
All in all, the players weren’t surprised that the fans voted for the location closest to trouble.
"It was pretty close to where we thought it would be," said Tiger Woods. "We thought it might be maybe another step or two deeper in the green. But it's a really tough pin because if you hit it at the flag high left, it's going to roll off at the green, right where we all walk off. It's a nasty little chip, because you've got to get it up over that hill and then it runs away from you. You can easily chip in the water or flub it. If you play short, you know, short of the flag and 20 feet, it's not so bad. But if you try and get it back there, it's a really tough pin."