Golf’s 2014 PGA Championship to Include Long Drive CompetitionMichael Buteau
Next month’s PGA Championship will include the return of the long drive competition, a practice-round event that was last held 30 years ago.
On Aug. 5, two days before golf’s final major tournament of the year begins in Louisville, Kentucky, players will have the chance to compete in the PGA Championship Long Drive Competition, which originated in 1952 when the PGA was held at Louisville’s Big Spring Country Club.
Players can hit one tee shot from the Valhalla Golf Club’s 10th tee. The longest shot to stop in the fairway wins.
The top three finishers will receive a money clip inspired by the one that 18-time major winner Jack Nicklaus, who designed Valhalla, received for the first of his two consecutive driving contest titles in 1963. Nicklaus, using a persimmon driver and wound golf ball, hit a winning drive of 341 yards, 17 inches, that year. Bubba Watson leads the U.S. PGA Tour with a 313.6-yard driving average this season.
The top three long drive finishers will split charitable prize money of $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000. Players can donate their half of the prize money to a charity of their choice, with the other half going to the Nicklaus-designed American Lake Veterans Golf Course in Tacoma, Washington, the only U.S. golf course designed for the rehabilitation of wounded veterans.
Harold Williams won the first PGA long drive contest in 1952, with a 329-yard drive. The competition wasn’t held from 1965-73, before returning in 1974 as an open event. The last long drive event held at a PGA Championship site was in 1984.