|PGA Championship - August 10, 2009
Hazeltine National Golf Club
Par: 36-36—72Yards: 7,685
Winner's FedExCup Points Share: 600
Purse: $7,216,900*Winner: $1,350,000*
2008 Champion: Padraig Harrington (277, -3)
Harrington Ready to Defend Title
in Minnesota at PGA Championship
The PGA Championship is at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, MN this week. Padraig Harrington, the 2008 PGA TOUR Player of the Year on the strength of his wins at the British Open and the PGA Championship, is the defending champion.
Harrington started slowly a year ago at Oakland Hills Country Club’s South Course, tied for 16th after an opening-round 71. He dropped into a tie for 26th at the halfway mark after a 74. Then he got things rolling. Back-to-back 66s on the weekend gave Harrington his third major championship in two seasons. He also won the 2007 PGA Championship. He finished the tournament at Oakland Hills two strokes ahead of Ben Curtis and Sergio Garcia.
Harrington enters this week’s tournament after a close call at last week’s World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. Leading the tournament through 69 holes, Harrington made triple bogey at the 16th hole and eventually tied for second with Robert Allenby, four strokes behind winner Tiger Woods. The finish was Harrington’s best in 15 2009 TOUR starts.
Hazeltine Golf Club last hosted the PGA Championship in 2002, when Rich Beem won the tournament.
PGA Championship Notes
Padraig Harrington is attempting to become just the second player since 1938 to repeat at the PGA Championship. Tiger Woods is the only player to repeat since that time, winning back to back in 1999 and 2000 and again in 2006 and 2007. Prior to 1938, there were five players to repeat, including Walter Hagen’s tournament record four straight (1924-1927). James M. Barnes won two straight over the course of four years. Barnes won in 1916 and repeated in 1919, because the tournament was canceled in 1917 and 1918 due to World War I. Gene Sarazen (1922-23), Leo Diegel (1928-1929) and Denny Shute (1936-1937) are the only other players to repeat at the PGA Championship.
Tiger Woods, who did not have a chance to defend his title last year, will be looking to join Jack Nicklaus and Walter Hagen as the only players in PGA Championship history to win five times.
The last of Rich Beem’s three PGA TOUR wins came at the 2002 PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club. Since Beem’s win in 2002, he has missed five of six cuts at the PGA Championship. In eight starts and 22 rounds at the PGA Championship, Beem has three rounds in the 60s, two coming during his win in 2002.
American-born players have won 10 of the last 13 PGA Championships. Fiji's Vijay Singh (1998 and 2004) and Ireland's Padraig Harrington (2008) are the only international players to win the PGA Championship during that time. Last year, there were only three American-born players finishing in the top 12 (Ben Curtis, who tied for second; Steve Flesch, sixth; and Phil Mickelson, who tied for seventh).
Padraig Harrington’s win in 2008 marked the first time since 1994 that at least two of the four major championships have not been won by American players. That 1994 distinction belonged to Jose Maria Olazabal (Masters), Ernie Els (U.S. Open) and Nick Price (British Open and PGA Championship).
Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa received a special invitation to play in this week’s PGA Championship. Ishikawa, believed to be the youngest entrant in a PGA Championship, will be 17 years, 10 months, 27 days when he begins play.
If Tiger Woods fails to win the PGA Championship it will be the first time since 2004 that he has not won at least one major in a season. He didn’t win major championships in 1998, 2003 and 2004.
Stewart Cink will be going for two major championships in a row when he plays this week. Cink, who won the British Open last month, enjoyed his best PGA Championship finish in 1999 at Medinah Country Club, when he tied for third. His other PGA top 10 came in 2002 at Hazeltine. Cink finished T6 at last week's World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.