Woods standout in PGA title battle

THE final golf major for 2005 tees off tomorrow morning (Australian Time) at Baltusrol Golf Club, New Jersey where the U.S P.G.A winner will be decided. Bonville International Golf Club General Manager, Brad Daymond gives us an insight into one of the big four tournaments of the year.

BALTUSROL Golf Club is synonymous with major championships, hosting seven US Opens in the 20th Century, no club has hosted more.

The course is named after a farmer Baltus Roll, who owned a portion of the land back in 1831, until he was murdered in the fields on a dark snowy night.

The stunning Tudor Clubhouse was built in 1910 after the original 'farmhouse' was burnt to the ground.

In 1915 the original course was ploughed up and two courses were created, the upper course and the lower course.

The designer of the new layouts was the now infamous golf course architect A.W Tillinghast.

It was his first full golf course design.

In 1948, the course was redesigned by Robert Trent Jones.

Jones was roundly criticised for making the layout far too difficult, especially the par 3 4th hole.

Jones visited the course, walked to the fourth hole, played one stroke with a four iron and had a hole in one.

He turned to his critics and said 'I think the hole is eminently fair.'

Jack Nicklaus helped the Baltusrol legend, develop by winning the 1967 U.S Open there, defeating the legendary Arnold Palmer in his prime, securing victory a 238 yard 1 iron on the final hole which found the green, and sealed Palmer's future.

Thirteen years later, Jack would again win the U.S Open at Baltusrol, adding to the prestige of the property.

So, on Friday morning (Australian Time) who is going to be a challenger for the U.S PGA Title on this famous golf course, steeped in tradition.

Tiger Woods is no doubt the favourite and I could not bet against him as he is in rare form.

No doubt defending champion ViJay Singh will have a say in it, Greg Norman certainly won't, he has had to withdraw with muscle soreness, due to his recent back surgery.

There are many others who will tee it up believing they can win as 97 of the world's Top 100 are playing, as are the past 14 US PGA winners.

A field of 156 players will start the event, with 64 of them foreigners, representing 21 different countries.

Australia lends the list of visitors with 15 entrants.

My favourite out of the Aussies is the gritty country boy, Mark Hensby, who has had an enormous impact on this year's majors and wouldn't it be great to cheer on one of Tamworth's finest on Monday morning, holding up the coveted Wananaher Trophy.

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