I’m here! All checked in the media center. We got pedometers at the registration — I think they’re dropping a hint — but more on that later. I’m heading out to walk the course and do some reporting (you know, my job). I haven’t seen Whistling Straits before, so I’d like to see what all the fuss is about. But I thought I’d pass along these stats, facts and notes on the tournament.
THE MORE YOU KNOW.
Courtesy of the PGA Communications Department:
1 — Number of Asian-born players to win the PGA Championship (Y.E. Yang of South Korea in 2009)
2 — Number of consecutive years a foreign-born player has won the PGA Championship (Padraig Harrington of Ireland in 2008 and Yang last year)
3 — Most number of consecutive times that the PGA Championship has been won by a foreign-born player (England’s Jim Barnes won the first two PGA Championships in 1916 and 1919, followed by Jock Hutchison of Scotland winning in 1920)
4 — Number of times Tiger Woods has won the PGA Championship; Walter Hagen and Jack Nicklaus share the all-time mark with five
6 — Number of spots still available among the first eight players to qualify for the 2010 U.S. Ryder Cup Team after the conclusion of the 92nd PGA Championship
7 — Number of wire-to-wire PGA Champions (held or shared lead after each round) since the PGA Championship was converted to stroke play in 1958
11 — Number of PGA Champions in the field this week (Mark Brooks, John Daly, Steve Elkington, Harrington, Davis Love III, Shaun Micheel, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, David Toms, Woods and Yang)
12 — Number of internationally born players who have won the PGA Championship
15 — Number of courses that have hosted multiple PGA Championships (including Whistling Straits)
20 — Number of PGA Club Professionals competing at Whistling Straits, based on their finish at the 2010 PGA Professional National Championship in late June
22 — Number of countries represented by players in the field this week
63 — Number of individuals who have won the PGA Championship
97 — Number of the Top 100 Ranked Players in the World currently in the 92nd PGA Championship field
1,200 — Estimated number of bunkers on the Straits course
2015 — Year when the PGA Championship returns to Whistling Straits
7,507 — Official yardage for the Straits course for the 92nd PGA Championship
How The Current Top 20 Fared in 2004: Among today’s Top 20 ranked players, Ernie Els of South Africa recorded the best finish when the PGA Championship was first played at Whistling Straits, in 2004. Els, currently the sixth-ranked player in the world, tied for fourth at the ’04 PGA Championship. Phil Mickelson, the No. 2 ranked player today, shared sixth place in the inaugural PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.
Tiger Woods, the world’s No. 1 ranked golfer today, tied for 24th at Whistling Straits in 2004. Luke Donald — seventh in the world today — also tied for 24th in ’04.
How 2010 Major Champions Fared in 2004: In addition to 2010 Masters Champion Phil Mickelson, who tied for sixth in the 2004 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, reigning U.S. Open Champion Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, failed to make the 36-hole cut in 2004 after rounds of 77-75.
Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa, the 2010 Open Champion, did not compete in the 2004 PGA Championship.
He is a Young American: If you’re looking for a young American to watch at Whistling Straits, Jeff Overton of Indiana is the likely candidate. Overton, 27 and in his fifth year on the PGA Tour, has skyrocketed up the Ryder Cup points list and the Tour’s Official Money list since late April.
That’s when Overton finished second at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. He has since posted four finishes of T3 or better, and tied for 11th in the Open Championship at St. Andrews, his only appearance this year in a major championship.
Overton is fifth on the Ryder Cup points list — he would be a Ryder Cup rookie — and, with more than $3.2 million in official earnings this year, is second on the PGA Tour money list.
Home Boys: Wisconsin natives Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly add plenty of local flavor this week at Whistling Straits, and Stricker must be considered a strong favorite to win the Wanamaker Trophy. Ranked fourth in the world, Stricker makes his 13th PGA Championship appearance this week, with his best finish coming in 1998 when he was second at Sahalee Country Club in Redmond, Wash.
Kelly’s best showing in 13 previous PGA Championship appearances was a tie for 26th in 1999 at Medinah (Ill.) Country Club.
Keep an Eye on Stenson: If you’re looking for a player whose recent track record in the PGA Championship may be a good omen, look no farther than Henrik Stenson of Sweden. Ranked 26th in the world today, Stenson has played impressively in the PGA Championship each of the last two years, tying for fourth at Oakland Hills Country Club in 2008 and sharing sixth place last year at Hazeltine National Golf Club.
Stenson did not play in the 2004 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.
[Ed note: Stenson also finished DFL at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. He was the only player who played worse than Tiger. Is there a prize for that?]
Finishing on a “High” Note: The 76 shot by Vijay Singh in 2004 at Whistling Straits remains the highest final-round score by the winner in PGA Championship history. It was also the highest finishing score by a major champion since Reg Whitcombe shot 78 at Royal St. George’s in the 1938 Open Championship.
Last Playoff Was in ’04: Singh’s victory in 2004 is also the most recent PGA Championship to be decided in a three-hole aggregate playoff. Singh held off Chris DiMarco and Justin Leonard that year.
Captains in the Field: Both of the Captains for the 2010 Ryder Cup are competing this week at Whistling Straits. U.S. Team Captain Corey Pavin plays the first two rounds with England’s Ian Poulter and Camilo Villegas of Colombia, while European Team Captain Colin Montgomerie is paired with American Matt Kuchar and Koumei Oda of Japan