PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Valhalla Golf Club of Louisville, Ky., the home of many of the most memorable moments in U.S. golf history over the past 12 years, has been named the site of the 72nd Senior PGA Championship in 2011 and the host of the 96th PGA Championship in August 2014.
Valhalla is one of only four sites in the nation -- joined by PGA National Golf Club of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Oak Hill Country Club of Rochester, N.Y., and Laurel Valley Golf Club of Ligonier, Pa. -- to host a Senior PGA Championship, PGA Championship and Ryder Cup.
Designed by golf legend Jack Nicklaus and opened for play in 1986, Valhalla Golf Club has established its reputation as one of the country's most dramatic golf stages:
• In 1996, while hosting its first PGA Championship, Mark Brooks edged Kentuckian Kenny Perry in a one-hole playoff.
• In a return PGA Championship visit in 2000, Tiger Woods and Bob May locked in for one of the most remarkable Sundays in a major championship. When the day was over, Woods had defeated May by a stroke in a three-hole cumulative score playoff, which was necessary after each player had birdied the 72nd hole.
• In 2004, legendary Hale Irwin overcame weather delays to cement his legacy in senior golf by making a birdie putt on the 18th hole to capture his fourth Senior PGA Championship.
• Last year, the United States ended a nine-year Ryder Cup victory drought against Europe, rallying behind six rookie players at Valhalla for a resounding 16½ to 11½ triumph.
"There is no debate that something special happens whenever Valhalla Golf Club hosts a major championship," said PGA of America President Jim Remy. "And, there is no question that the golf fans of Kentucky have responded, making Valhalla one of the greatest homes of championship golf. We are very pleased that we can bring back a Senior PGA Championship in two years time, and add a third PGA Championship to the great history of this club. We anticipate another tremendous show of support from fans in Louisville, Kentucky and the surrounding cities and states in welcoming the world's premier players."
The PGA of America's returning majors to Valhalla Golf Club was heralded by Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear.
"The passion and the loyalty of the sports fans of the Commonwealth of Kentucky are legendary," said Gov. Beshear. "Over the past 12 years, the world has witnessed how Kentuckians have embraced the game of golf. We are very pleased to have two major championships return to Valhalla Golf Club, which once again enables us to showcase our state worldwide. We anticipate Kentuckians will help make the 20 11 Senior PGA Championship and the 2014 PGA Championship among the most memorable in golf history."
Louisville Major Jerry Abramson said his city will once again deliver its support.
"Louisville has proven, time and again, that we can host successful major sporting events, as evidenced most recently by the 2008 Ryder Cup," said Mayor Abramson. "The PGA of America and Louisville are great partners, and we look forward to hosting these two Championships in 2011 and 2014."
Named one of the top three new private golf courses in the U.S. in 1987, the first year it was eligible, Valhalla Golf Club remains the No. 1-ranked course in Kentucky and has its perch among Golf Digest's "America's 100 Greatest Courses."
Begun in 1937 and conducted at Augusta National Golf Club, the Senior PGA Championship is the most prestigious championship in senior golf. Today, the Senior PGA Championship brings together both the legends of the game and the newest members of senior professional golf to new audiences throughout the United States. When the Champions Tour was launched in 1980, the Senior PGA Championship was celebrating its 42nd anniversary
The PGA Championship, first conducted in 1916 at Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, N.Y., is the annual culmination of golf's four major championships. In 2014, the PGA Championship will mark its fourth visit to Louisville, following previous appearances in 1952 at Big Spring Country Club; and in 1996 and 2000 at Valhalla Golf Club.
Since its inception, the PGA Championship has evolved into one of the world's premier sporting events. Each summer, one of the nation's most outstanding golf facilities hosts golf's best professionals, as they compete for the Wanamaker Trophy. Overall, 71 courses in 25 states (through this year), have served as a host site for at least one of the 91 PGA Championships.
About Valhalla Golf Club
Valhalla Golf Club's front nine traverses a low-lying parkland setting where 650,000 cubic yards of earth were moved to build up tees, greens and fairways to a level that would protect the course from major storm damage. Valhalla's greens, tees and fairways are a combination of A1-A4 and Pennway bent grass strains. Overall, there are 65 sand bunkers strategically positioned throughout the course. Valhalla Golf Club's slick greens feature distinct tiers and sections that provide a variety of challenging hole locations. The primary rough is Kentucky bluegrass with fescue making up the secondary rough. The incoming nine holes were carved out of higher, tree-covered terrain with a shallow creek that would come into play on four holes.
The PGA of America partnered with Nicklaus prior to the 2008 Ryder Cup on an extensive modification program at Valhalla, that included replacing grass on all 18 greens, plus the practice green, with an A1-A4 blend; modifying some of the severe green contours to allow for additional and possibly more exciting hole placements; reconstructing the greens on Holes No. 6, 8, 11 and 16; adding additional sand bunkers on Holes No. 1, 2, 5, 12, 15, 16, 17 and 18; creating additional spectator pads to the left of Hole No. 10; and increasing the spectator viewing on Holes No. 14, 15, 16 and 17, to provide an improved spectator experience.
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