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home : sports : regional September 30, 2014

Golf: Fans To Pick Hole Location for Final Round at PGA
AP Golf Writer

GULLANE, Scotland -- If Phil Mickelson and Ian Poulter don't like the hole location for the par-3 15th at Oak Hill in the final round of the PGA Championship, they might want to take it up with the fans.

After all, the fans are going to decide where to put the pin.

The PGA of America announced a contest called "PGA Championship Pick the Hole Location Challenge Hosted by Jack Nicklaus."

Fans can go to the PGA's website -- -- starting Tuesday through Aug. 10 to vote for one of four options for the hole location. The idea is to educate fans on how a course setup affects strategy, show them the kind of information on hole locations the players are given each day and let them take part in their own way in the PGA Championship.

The final major is Aug. 8-11.

Nicklaus won his record-tying fifth PGA Championship at Oak Hill in 1980 by seven shots over Andy Bean. That had been the largest margin of victory in the PGA Championship until Rory McIlroy won by eight last year at Kiawah Island.

"The idea came up, we spoke to Jack and he was very excited about it," said Kerry Haigh, the chief championships officer for the PGA of America.


The 15th hole is 181 yards with bunkers to the left and water along the right side.

The fans won't be able to put the flag wherever they want. Haigh said the 15th green has a number of options for pins, and he has selected four from which the fans can choose. They will not affect where he sets the hole location for the other three rounds.

"They will be four not used during the week," he said. "It's a green that does have plentiful locations because there's water all the way down the length of the hole, and three bunkers. There isn't an easy one. It's difficult. And it's sheltered by a tree on the left, so the wind will influence the shot. It will be fun."

This won't be like throwing darts.

When fans go to the website, they can click one of the four hole locations to get a visual presentation, along with the audio of Nicklaus explaining the differences in how it could affect the shot.

"The chance for golf fans to interact with the PGA Championship and play a role in shaping the outcome of the final round fascinates me," Nicklaus said. "It's like being able to call the shots during the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. ... I believe this new concept will serve as an exciting hands-on learning experience for golf fans, and I'm happy to be involved."

Haigh has been in charge of setting up the course for the PGA Championship, Senior PGA and Ryder Cup since 1989.

A sweepstakes will be held in conjunction with the contest, with one prize a chance to get behind-the-scenes experience at the PGA Championship next year at Valhalla.

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