ST. LOUIS, Mo. (August 1, 2018) – The 100th PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, Missouri will again host the PGA Championship Long Drive Competition, which began in 1952, and was re-launched in 2014.
During the Championship practice round on Tuesday, August 7, all players will be offered the opportunity to hit one tee shot on Bellerive’s 508-yard par-4 10th hole. All tee shots that come to rest in the fairway are eligible to win the Long Drive Competition.
The Long Drive Competition’s defending champion is Jason Kokrak, who launched a 321-yard drive last year in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, to edge Tyrrell Hatton (316 yards) and Dustin Johnson (315 yards) in wet conditions at Quail Hollow Club.
Before Kokrak’s win last year, Korea’s Byeong Hun An (347 yards/2016 at Baltusrol), Anirban Lahiri (327 yards/2015 at Whistling Straits) and Louis Oosthuizen (340 yards/2014 at Valhalla) claimed the three previous PGA Championship Long Drive Competitions.
The top three finishers will be granted charitable donations of $25,000, $15,000, and $10,000, respectively, to their designated USA based 501(c)(3) charities of choice.
The top three will also receive a money clip inspired by the one that Jack Nicklaus took home for winning the first of his two consecutive PGA Championship Long Driving Contest titles in 1963. That year, Nicklaus, using a persimmon driver and wound golf ball, hit a winning drive of 341 yards, 17 inches. Chick Harbert won the original PGA Championship Driving Contest in 1949 with a 305-yard drive.
The longest drive in a PGA of America-sanctioned Long Drive competition – 366 yards –was recorded at Tanglewood Golf Club in Clemmons, North Carolina by Evan “Big Cat” Williams as part of the 1974 PGA Championship.
Before its return four years ago, the last National Open Long Drive Championship conducted at a PGA Championship site was in 1984 at Shoal Creek Country Club in Birmingham, Alabama.