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Has the PGA Championship Surpassed the US Open...


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....not in prestige, but in the way that they have set up their championship courses to be a tough but fair test of golf? Very impressed with the way that the PGA of America over the last 5 or 6 years have allowed their championship courses to shine without feeling any need for tricks. BTW, even if the answer is no, could anyone ever have imagined even asking this question 30 years ago, 20, 10?

 

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Hopefully more folks realize that the venues the PGA has been choosing for some time have been pretty good. USGA gets a hard time because folks just don't like the USGA, whether legit or not. USGA p

seriously? ... the bluebloods at those courses don't want a tournament, and most can't be lengthened to any appreciable degree ... NGL has had two walker cups, and one of those was 100 years ago ...

I agree with you. Seems the PGA sets a target score of high single digits to low double digits and sets the course up accordingly. Harding Park was hardly a birdie fest and even though the winning score was -12 it somehow felt lower than that. US Open setups over the last 15 years or so have felt contrived and even if the goal of the USGA is to take a course right to the edge they have too often failed and even quality shots end up with an outcome they don't deserve.

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I agree with you. It makes things even more difficult for the usga to differentiate their courses/tournament for the PGA. And the usga already has enough challenges trying to set up a course.

It was good to see the pros complaining and struggling with the same things I struggle with at my local muni. Not enough sand in the bunkers and greens with very subtle, almost impossible to read, breaks.

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It is a good set-up for sure. But I got to thinking about this last night after the fact, that course and set-up did not require outstanding golf shots, it just required you to be in the fairway, capitalize on the birdie holes and don't take a big number. CW's shot at 16 was outstanding no doubt though.

I think the PGA did a good job setting up a sort of boring course.

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Yes they have, I said the same thing in another post

Just solid fair set ups, no bs or trickery that the USGA falls into all the time

Their events produce great finishes

 

As someone pointed out the only blemish of late is DJ in that fairway bunker at Whistling Straights

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There is definitely an argument that they have but by the same token, I can’t help but feel that the USGA are placed under a great microscope than the PGA when it comes to course set up. If the USGA make a mistake, then it is pored over and talked about endlessly. If the USGA make a mistake, it’s no big deal. That that is the case I think comes down to the prestige. People care more about the US Open so it is more of a big deal if they don’t get it right.

 

Trying to look at it as independently as possible over the past few years I would say the courses in caps were the better set up of the two:-

2019 - PEBBLE vs Bethpage - Bethpage’s set up meant that it was only bombers that could contend unless you were Jordan Spieth and able to hold a million putts.

2018 - Shinnecock vs BELLERIVE - The USGA just can’t set up Shinnecock (or courses similar in looks to Shinnecock) properly.

2017 - Erin Hills vs QUAIL HOLLOW - Erin Hills was unlucky that they didn’t get the expected wind but it played and looked somewhat linksy and the USGA don’t know how to set up that type of course. Quail was and is a proper test.

2016 - OAKMONT vs Baltasroul - Oakmont doing Oakmont things when it comes to the US Open.

2015 - Chambers Bay vs WHISTLING STRAITS - Even though the scoring went crazy low at WS, it was set up well. The USGA cannot set up courses which are almost links like in their feel.

2014 - PINEHURST vs Valhalla - Pinehurst is a proper golf course and the scores reflected that.

2013 - Merion vs OAK HILL - Merion needed to be set up tight and crazy long just to let them play on it but my recollection was the rough was ridiculous.

2012 - OLYMPIC vs Kiawah - The USGA set up Olympic like a proper US Open test. Kiawah was fine but nothing special.

2011 - Congressional vs ATLANTA AC - Congressional was way too soft, Rory blitzed the field but it seemed more like a regular tour event than a major.

 

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Well, anybody can play it for $300. Even though it's not private, when courses are that expensive, I really don't consider them public. For me public course, and especially a muni, is a course that you could play 3-4 times per week, and still be cheaper than belonging to a country club. Mabye I just don't know how much golf costs in a major metro area, but it's way more than I would spend.

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Hopefully more folks realize that the venues the PGA has been choosing for some time have been pretty good. USGA gets a hard time because folks just don't like the USGA, whether legit or not. USGA philosophy for setup has always been a lighting rod, but it's been that way a long, long time.

I wouldn't say surpassed, but with the strongest field in the majors (that people keep ignoring or overlooking) and better venues, I think the PGA has really done what it needed to do to maybe "resolidify" its position as a major. But, IMO, weakened that by agreeing to cowtow to the "playoffs" and rescheduling to May.

 

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and to the future

2020 Winged Foot vs. Harding Park: Winged Foot is a vastly superior course, but will they go with the ultra hard set up?

2021 Torrey Pines vs Kiawah Island: A firmer faster Kiawah in May?

2022 The Country Club vs. Trump National: a terse "no comment" was issued

2023 LACC North vs. Oak Hill: I'm looking forward to seeing the pros against LACC

2024 Pinehurst #2 vs. Valhalla: no contest

2025 Oakmont vs. Quail Hallow: if the R&A can host their event at Muirfield this year that would be spiffy

2026 Shinnecock vs, Aronimink: set it up like you did for Pebble Beach then see if the wind shows up

2027: Pebble Beach vs. unbuilt course in Frisco Texas: this turned into a US Open rout rather quickly

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I can't imagine there are too many nice courses that you can pay/play a daily greens fee 3-4 times a week and still be cheaper than a private club of similar caliber. But if you are a SF resident, HP might be one of the few given how hard and expensive it is to become a full golf member at some of the neighboring private clubs.

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The PGA has done a great job the last few years at setting up the courses to provide a tough but fair test in good conditions. Certainly better than the USGA did at Shinnecock or Erin Hills or Chambers Bay. (To be fair, the USGA did a very good job with Pebble, Bodenhamer's first year heading up this task.) But the PGA has too many courses in its rotation that aren't really "major" level. Quail Hollow, Trump Bedminster, Bellerive. I was surprisingly impressed with Harding Park, and love Bethpage, Whistling Straits, Kiawah. I think Valhalla is underrated as a major venue. Baltusrol is ok, nothing exciting there. Oak Hill in May could be difficult to set up well. I wish the PGA would focus on the best modern courses and muni courses to give itself a better identity. There is barely any good rationale for it to still be a major so it could use something more compelling.

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But does the PGA really want to be the US-Open Lite? Picture a rotation of Bethpage, Harding Park, Whistling Straits, Kiawah, Valhalla, add Shadow Creek, Spyglass, Ferry Point, maybe Erin Hills and Chambers Bay if the USGA abandons them, maybe Cog Hill, plus the Frisco course. All public courses that would give the PGA a great identity of playing majors where anyone could go play.

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Are you saying that Valhalla is public? It is not.

 

But I get what you are saying and agree. The PGA Championship should brand itself as the public golf championship and it should be hard but not hard to the point the course has to be brought to the point of dying.

I also think it needs to be in August and it is nice when it is hot.

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I’ve said this in old posts .... why does the PGA go to US Open tracks ? I know logistics but it does become “US Open Lite” as said above

they need their own rotation of awesome tracks

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