Wednesday, August 10, 2022

The Ocean course, long absent from the golf spotlight, is back

KIAWAH ISLAND, SC – The PGA Championship returns to the Ocean Course this week, a formidable venue rich in golf. Despite the track’s almost spiritual status in the sport – “The Legend of Bagger VanceHas been filmed there – this will only be the second major championship on the website.

Pete Dye, who began working on the course on Kiawah Island with his wife, Alice, in 1989, never asked if his creation would be one of a kind. As he walked the track in the quiet evening a month before the PGA Championship in 2012, in 2012, he stopped to wave his hand over the windswept landscape, where the waves of the ocean are a soundtrack.

“It’s the only track we’ve built that runs and swims,” ​​Dye said. “It is of the land and of the water.”

Dye walks upside down, about 10 feet, and then turns to add, “You can go from Miami to New York and you will not find a golf course like that in the Atlantic Ocean.”

The return of the PGA Championship to the Ocean Course was made more poignant by the death of Pete last year at the age of 94 and of Alice in 2019 at 91. The dyes, who were married for nearly 70 years, were golf architecture royals: Pete as the most influential designer in the latter half of the 20th century, and Alice as his constant partner who became the first female member and first female president of the American Society of Golf Architects.

Their work on Kiawah Island symbolized their bond. During one of the couple’s investigations into the property when the last nine holes were laid in 1991, Alice said: ‘Pete, I can not see the sea on these nine. I not only want to hear it, I want to see it. ”

The clearings have been raised a few meters, which offers more than a better view. Elevated clearings exposed the closure holes to winds at sea that were so fickle that they deceived the loading or fading tournament leaders. The gusts have become a feature of the endless memorable track.

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The dyes will be missed this week at the masterpiece they created, but their presence will be felt even by the toddlers when the course made its debut.

Webb Simpson, who is ranked tenth in the world, did not make the cut at the 2012 PGA Championship, but he impressed Kiawah Island forever.

“I did not play well, but I did not blame the golf course,” Simpson, 35, said in an interview this month. “I loved Kiawah. I remember leaving in ’12 and thinking it was like a British Open track where you had to trust your lines over corners, over forests, over swamps. Every day there is a 66 or an 80 for any golfer, which is exciting for a major. ‘

Keegan Bradley draw for third during the 2012 PGA Championship, which was won by Rory McIlroy. Bradley, 34, believes the Ocean Course’s relatively rare appearance on the calendar of elite golf events is part of its appeal.

“It’s not a major championship that we go to every five years,” said Bradley, who won the 2011 PGA Championship. “It has become a special place for us to go.”

The Ocean course was not always held in such a connection.

During an interview in 2011, the Dyes sat in matching white cane chairs in their home in South Florida and remember the course’s earliest days.

“I saw his future when I got there, even though there was nothing but myrtle and ugly bushes,” Pete said. He laughed. “Of course, the PGA people saw the country for the first time that they almost threw up.”

Then, in September 1989, Hurricane Hugo blew through the southeastern United States. Kiawah Island has been declared a national disaster area. At a news conference in 1990 for the Ryder Cup in 1991, Pete was asked where he planned to attend the large galleries of fans expected.

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“Gallery? How do I know? “Pete replied.” We don’t even have holes yet. “

Alice’s memory of the day was slightly different.

“You had a plan, Pete,” she said in 2011. “You just did not want to tell them yet.”

Alice and Pete later agreed that Hugo had helped their project strangely. This ruined the work already done on several holes, but the destruction gave the dyes the opportunity to rebuild sand dunes and other natural elements as desired. Floodlights were set up so that work staff could deploy 16 hours a day to get the course ready on time.

The course, which was introduced to the golf world before the 1991 Ryder Cup, was incredibly beautiful. It was less enjoyable to play it. David Feherty, a television commentator who was on the European Ryder Cup team that year, calls the orbit ‘something of Mars’.

The competition, which was won by the American team after three exciting days, became the most famous Ryder Cup, partly due to the betrayal of the final round on the Ocean Course. The television ratings for the event obscured those of that weekend’s NFL games, a first for any golf competition.

The tearing of the dyes on Kiawah Island immediately climbed to the top of the rankings of America’s best courses.

But it has always been impossible for the Dyes to pick a favorite among the more than 100 golf courses they have designed.

“We think of them as our children,” Alice said, “not pieces of history.”

This week, after nine years on the sidelines of the biggest championship golf course, the Ocean Course will once again take a turn in the spotlight. And with that, Pete and Alice Dye, a golf team like no other, will appreciate the glamor.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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