5 things you (probably) don’t know about this year’s PGA Championship venue

1. A golf course named after a murder

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In 1831, a man by the name of Boltus Roll was violently murdered on the site of this year’s PGA Championship. A Dutch immigrant, he was murdered in the middle of the night.  Two vagabonds broke into his house, beat, gagged and drowned this poor farmer as his terrified wife fled to get help. A sign still marks the spot just yards from the current clubhouse, providing an eerie tribute to the man whose killers were never brought to justice.

2. Just one man has reached the the par 17th in two

 

(Source/ESPN)
(Source/ESPN)

To this day, John Daly remains the only man to have reached this goliath in two shots. Tiger Woods came close in 2005, just missing the green with his approach. He had the length, but not the accuracy of John Daly’s 1-iron. “Wild Thing” slaughtered his second a staggering 305 yards, completing what he would later describe as the “best two strikes of my life”. The 649-yard beast could attract a few big hitters this year, especially when you consider Hideki Matsyama’s effort to reach Oakmont’s 667-yard monster back in June.

Nicolas Colsaerts can absolutely smoke his drives.
Nicolas Colsaerts can absolutely smoke his drives.

They’ve added 20 yards since John Daly’s mammoth strike 23 years ago, but that didn’t stop one Belgian from having a crack during practice. According to one marshal who had been at the hole Monday and Tuesday, just one man hit the 17th green in two: Nicolas Colsaerts. As Golf.com reports: “He threw balls in the bunkers and the greenside rough. He didn’t hit a single approach shot with a wedge. He was preparing to take on the mighty 17th in two and live with the consequences of spraying it or coming up short. 

Pssst…

Nicolas is a phenomenal player from 200+ yards. Remember that 3-iron he hit out of a hotel window

3. A Presidential and Royal visit

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After the original clubhouse burnt down in 1909, the current Tudor-style structure was erected in 1912. To honour the opening, the 27th President of the United States of America, William Howard Taft visited the course. He became the first president to officially visit a golf club and played a few holes for good measure.

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He was beaten to the punch by one other prestigious title. In 1907, King Edward VII paid a visit just three years before his death.

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4. The player who used 6 different caddies in one Championship

We all know that players are prone to falling out with their caddies, but this story takes the biscuit.

The European Tour found this phenomenal record of one unlucky professional at the 1967 PGA Championship:

“Rives McBee (phenomenal name!) employed six different caddies in the space of two rounds. His first retired after eight holes due to heat exhaustion before a man from the gallery stepped in for two holes. An alternate from the US Open pool of caddies finished out the round while a new caddie from the club began the second round before the two parted ways, again after the eighth hole, following a disagreement. A reporter from Washington, Pete Wentz, volunteered to caddie for a couple of holes before another alternate completed the round. Despite all this unrest, McBee made the cut on the number, finished in a tie for 60th and earned $615 for his troubles.”

5. Baltusrol is more prestigious than Augusta (sort of)

Baltusrol was recently designated a National Historic Landmark, thus becoming just the fourth golf club to be given this status. Pinehurst in North Carolina, Merion Golf Club near Philadelphia, and this year’s US Open site, Oakmont Country Club, just outside of Pittsburgh are the other holders of this prestigious title. That’s right, Augusta may have to wait a few years before it can make the list.

(Source/Augusta).
(Source/Augusta).

It was awarded the honour because the club showed “exceptional historical importance and significance on a national level for its two [Albert] Tillinghast-designed courses”.