Valhalla: Nine differences since 2000 PGA Championship
By Joseph Demling, PGA.com
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- It’s been 14 years since the PGA Championship was last played at Valhalla Golf Club, when Tiger Woods beat Bob May in a playoff. A lot has changed with the course and in the game of golf since Woods took the Wanamaker Trophy home from the Bluegrass State.
Here are nine changes or differences since 2000:
1. TIGER’S DOMINANCE: Tiger Woods was the No. 1-ranked player in the world in 2000, and distanced himself more from the field with the win at Valhalla. He won six times that year, including the final three majors of the year.
2. TIGER’S MAJOR TOTAL: It was the fifth major championship in the career of Woods and the third in a row, sparking talk of perhaps a run at Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors. Now, Woods has 14 but hasn’t won one since the 2008 U.S. Open.
3. RORY’S IN A DIFFERENT SPOT: While Woods is no longer the No. 1 player in the world, Rory McIlroy took over that spot with his second consecutive win last weekend at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. In 2000, McIlroy was in middle school watching the PGA Championship on television.
4. YOUNGER FIELD OVERALL: There will be 99 of the top 100 golfers in the world tee it up on Thursday, but it’s an overall younger feel to the field. Only 23 guys who played in the ’00 event are back in the field for this year’s tournament.
5. FEWER DRIVERS USED: Because of so many changes to the course, golfers are expected to hit fewer drivers off the tee this week than in ’00. The course has been lengthened a bit but the fairways have been narrowed, making for tougher landing spots on many of the holes.
6. THE SCORE WILL BE SKEWED: In ’00, the second hole was played as a par 5 but this time around will be played as a par 4. It went from one of the easiest holes on the course to a tough par. Played this time as a par 71 (and not par 72), the scores are likely to be a tad bit lower because of the change.
7. PLAYERS USING SOCIAL MEDIA: There was no mention of Twitter in 2000 but this time around some of the players, including Rich Beem, are using social media to connect with their fans. Beem, a former PGA Champion, gave his fans a close-up look at the course by tweeting a photo of every hole on his first practice round.
8. JACK’S LAST MAJOR: There will be no Jack Nicklaus this time around. In 2000, Nicklaus played the course that he designed. He missed the cut by a stroke, playing the first two rounds of the championship alongside Woods
9. VALHALLA HISTORY: Perhaps the biggest difference of all is the mystique of Valhalla Golf Club. Just 14 years old then, the course had Woods win in an epic playoff battle and then had Hale Irwin and Tom Watson win Senior PGA Championship titles before the U.S. won the 2008 Ryder Cup here. Now, the course has history.