The 97th edition of PGA Championship returns to the golf course of Whistling Straits, a site made famous by a mistake from Dustin Johnson.

By Patrick Comia

Starting on Thursday, golf will hold it’s fourth and final major of the year: the PGA Championship.

This year’s venue will take place on the greens of Whistling Straits, located on the shores of Lake Michigan. The exact location is in Kohler, WS.

The course itself was a concoction of mad golf architect Pete Dye. His previous golf designs you may have heard of: the Stadium Course at Ponte Vedra, FL and Harbour Town Golf Links at Hilton Head, SC are among the courses he has lent a helping hand to.

And, both of these courses are regular stops on the PGA tour every year.

Dye was tasked with designing a course that resembled the links-style of courses in Europe. According to PGA.com:

The genius of the course design is that it doesn’t favor a particular style of play, which brings more golfers in the field of 156 into the equation and tightens the scoring. As a result, there is a smaller chance of a runaway victory and a greater chance of a bunched leader board

The 97th edition of this championship is unique, in that the tournament is run by the PGA of America. they will have the say as to how the course is setup (in regards tee placements, hole locations, and the height of the rough). Basically, they will have a heavy influence on the outcome of the tournament’s winner on Sunday.

Another uniqueness about the event is that it will showcase 20 PGA Professionals that qualified in a separate tournament. Players, or members of the PGA Professional Association, from around the country, compete in an annual event called the PGA Professional National Championship. That means that you could see your head club pro at your local course has an equal chance to play with the likes of Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson, if they score low enough in the National Championship.

The PGA Championship returns to Whistling Straits after five years. The last time it was played here, Germany’s Martin Kaymer won in a playoff over Bubba Watson in a three-hole match. But perhaps the headline that dominated that year’s edition was the unfortunate mishap of Dustin Johnson.

On Sunday, Johnson had a chance to win on the 18th hole, by just making par. However, it turned out not to be as simple as many thought.

His tee shot found the right of the fairway and settled in a dirt area, where spectators had been mulling around throughout the week of the tournament.

After finding his ball, his hit his second shot, not knowing he had entered a sand bunker. Here’s what was recounted on PGA.com:

Johnson went on to make what he believed to be a bogey on the hole, which would have meant a three-way playoff with Watson in Kaymer at 11 under…Instead, after meeting with the PGA of America Rules Officials, Johnson was issued a two-shot penalty for grounding his club in a bunker, turning his bogey into a triple bogey and ending his chance at winning his first major championship; he dropped into a tie for fifth

Here’s a clip of a discussion of the controversial ruling on ESPN:

It was a mistake that would have given Johnson his first Major and perhaps would have started more.

The good news for Johnson and golfing fans is that the “bunker” will not be a factor this week. The PGA has decided to take that patch of the golf course out of play by erecting viewing stands in its place.

So, it looks like that championship will come down to the players and the property between the ropes. And that’s how it should be.

No one wants to win or lose by a confusing and questionable technicality.

Television coverage of the PGA Championship will begin on TNT. The first round will be broadcasted on Thursday from 2 pm EST to 8 pm EST, as well as the second round on Friday. For the third and fourth rounds, coverage will begin with TNT on Saturday and Sunday, beginning at 11 am EST to 2 pm EST. Afterwards, the Championship broadcast will switch over to the CBS network at 2 pm EST on both days.

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