Seaside Course Suits Streb
Thirty-three-year-old Robert Streb has won two PGA Tour tournaments and both victories came at the Sea Island Golf Club’s Seaside Course in St. Simons Island, Georgia. The first of which came in 2014 at the McGladrey Classic when Streb shot a 14 under par over the four-day event to best Brendon de Jonge and Will MacKenzie.
Fast forward to November of 2020 and Streb did it again, only this time the tournament name had changed to the RSM Classic and Streb edged the 2015 winner, Kevin Kisner, in a playoff round to pocket a cool $1.2 million after shooting a blistering 19 under par for the event.
Streb was near or at the top of the pack from early on in the tournament but was able to maintain his poise throughout, “Trying to run in front all day to me is sometimes a little hard because you’re not necessarily pedal to the metal,” said Streb. “Maybe I should have been, but just trying to kill the butterflies there the first couple of holes and get into it.”
Mayakoba Golf Classic
Speaking of Robert Streb, the RSM Classic champion has committed to the Mayakoba Golf Classic held at the El Camaleon Golf Club located in Quintana Roo, Mexico. The tournament is scheduled to run from December 3rd through the 6th where Streb will try to improve upon his dismal showing in 2019 when he failed to make the cut after shooting six over par after the first two rounds.
An impressive list of competitors will join Streb as 15 of the world’s top 50 golfers will be competing for the $7.2 million in prize money. The No. 1 golfer in the world, Dustin Johnson is the favorite according to betting site aggregator SBR but he will have plenty of competition in the forms of Justin Thomas, Tony Finau, Brooks Koepka, and last year’s winner, Brendon Todd.
Koepka had been on the fence but after committing, Tournament Director, Joe Mazzeo, stated, “The addition of Brooks to the field is tremendous for this tournament and certainly ensures that this will be the best field assembled in our 14-year history. A worldwide television audience will be focused on Mayakoba in just a few weeks as the final official PGA Tour event of the calendar year is staged here at El Camaleón.”
PGA Championship Braces for Big Hitters
The second of the four majors won’t take place until May but organizers are already assessing the conditions at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. The last time the course hosted one of golf’s most cherished events, the year was 2012 and Rory McIlroy laid waste to the competition by beating second-place finisher, David Lynn, by a whopping eight strokes.
One of the biggest challenges will be tailoring the course to handle the long drives that dwarf those of eight years ago when the average PGA Tour pro averaged 270.4 yards off the tee. But times have indeed changed, and so too has the driving distance which now averages 297.4 yards, led by the new and improved Bryson DeChambeau blasting his drives a stunning 337.8 yards on average.
Kerry Haigh, chief championships officer for the PGA of America and affectionately known as the “course whisperer”, has to make sure the course can handle this new breed of master blasters.
“We are not watching any particular players, but we certainly do look at the averages and where the landing areas are for the average player,” said Haigh, who has been helping to set up courses for PGA of America tournaments for 30 years. “We don’t want to set it up so that it’s challenging or difficult for one player or for the shorter player. Our goal is to be fair and reasonable and challenging for every player.
“It’s finding that balance of what is appropriate. But the landing areas are now more than 300 yards out, and in 1991 for the Ryder Cup, it was more like 270 yards. So, things change, but the great news is that here at the Ocean Course, they’ve been able to see how things are changing, and they have the space to add some tees to have the potential to play at 7,800 yards or more.”