PGA begins on longest course in major history

09 Aug 2012 14:16

The quest for the Wanamaker Trophy got off to a flying start Thursday with American Kelly Mitchum being the first to tee off from the No. 1 hole at the 94th PGA Championship.

Mitchum, a club pro from Southern Pines, North Carolina, is playing in a group with two PGA Tour players DA Points of the US and Marcel Sim of Germany.

The strongest field ever put together for a tournament will tackle The Ocean Course which at 7,676 yards is the longest course in major championship history.

All 100 of the top ranked players in the world will tee it up at Kiawah Island for the final major championship of the season.

It is the first time that the top 100 have played in the same event since the world ranking system came into effect in 1986.

Both Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy can overtake Luke Donald as the world number one, depending on how they do this week. Donald has held the No. 1 spot for 54 weeks.

Keegan Bradley, Phil Mickelson, Louis Oosthuizen, and 2012 major winners Webb Simpson (US Open), Bubba Watson (Masters), Ernie Els (British Open) will all be trying to make a move up the leaderboard on Thursday.

Woods is playing in the marquee group with Bradley and Germany's Martin Kaymer. They are starting from the 10th tee and have an early tee off time Thursday.

McIlroy tees off two groups ahead of them on Thursday from No. 10. He is paired with Dustin Johnson and Jim Furyk.

Major winners Watson, Simpson and Els are paired together and they have an afternoon tee off time. They will be immediately followed on the first tee by the group of Donald, Brandt Snedeker and Zach Johnson.

Right behind them is Mickelson, Padraig Harrington and Davis Love.

Aussie Adam Scott has an afternoon start time and will be looking to rebound from his British Open disaster three weeks ago where he closed with four consecutive bogeys to lose a four-shot lead to South Africa's Els.

Furyk is also hoping for a quick turnaround from the anguish of blowing a late lead. Furyk led Sunday's final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational for 71 holes before suffering a meltdown on the par-four No. 18.

Furyk's double bogey on the last hole, combined with a 15-foot putt to save par by Bradley, allowed Bradley to claim the final tune-up tournament heading into the PGA Championship.