The stage is set for the 2023 PGA Championship and it promises to be a war of attrition as much as anything else, with players comparing Oak Hill‘s East Course to two notoriously difficult American venues.
Located in the north-east of New York, Andrew Green led a restoration project to modernise this Donald Ross design and ensure Oak Hill remains relevant in today’s landscape of professional golf. More than 600 trees have been removed since Jason Dufner lifted the Wanamaker Trophy in 2013, meaning it’s going to look very different this year.
The end result is a 7,400-yard brute, equipped with long rough, penal bunkers, and tricky green complexes that have some of the best players in the world drawing parallels with Winged Foot and Bethpage Black, while Robert MacIntyre described it as “the hardest golf course I’ve ever played.”
Ahead of the second men’s Major of the year, the game’s biggest names were asked about the challenge facing them this week. Here are some of the best responses…
Rory McIlroy: ‘Discipline a huge factor’
The Northern Irishman cut an unusually subdued figure in his pre-tournament press conference as he swerved any and all questions pertaining to LIV Golf. When talking about Oak Hill, though, he had plenty to say.
“It’s certainly a lot different than the course we played for the 2013 championship. I think Andrew Green has done a phenomenal job. I guess sort of restoring it back to probably the way Donald Ross wanted the golf course to play and to set up. I think he’s done a great job there.
“I look at a golf course like this and I think it’s quite similar to what we faced at Winged Foot in 2020 in terms of long golf course: long rough, pretty narrow fairways, but there’s a lot of openings into the greens. You can run the ball up. The fairways are pretty firm and those aprons are certainly running.
“There’s two different trains of thought of how to play that. It’s playing from the fairway and being able to get a little closer to those tight corners, or you can just get it up there as far as possible and try and run it up the front of the green, which basically most greens allow you to do.
“You’ve got to keep it out of those fairway bunkers. They’re very, very penal. What Andrew Green has done with the green complexes and sort of spread them out and you see all these extra sections, back rights and back lefts, if someone can keep their discipline and not start firing at those pins and know that middles of the…
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