Founded in 1898 by a local lawyer and a group of eight business friends and associates, the 2011 PGA Championship will be the fourth time Atlanta Athletic Club has staged the tournament. Throughout its history the club has also been host of a Ryder Cup, the US Junior, Women's Amateur and US Women's Open.
The accomplishments and titles collected by its members, particularly during the first half of the 20th century, is impressive and is spearheaded by amateur legend, Bobby Jones.
Jones, who as an amateur who won four US Opens and five US Amateurs, bronze statute stands tall in the entrance pathway to the grand clubhouse. Jones was also member of five Walker Cup Teams and in this area he's rightly considered a true legend.
The golf course of the new Atlanta Athletic Club was designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr in 1966. In the summer of 1970, a fourth nine designed by Joe Finger was completed and resulted in the configuration of today's Highlands and Riverside courses. The PGA Championship is to be contested over the 6828 metre par 70, Highlands course.
The Highlands course layout is simply challenging and can be labelled a "˜brut'.
In a somewhat rare configuration for a modern championships course this par-70 layout has four par 3's and just two par 5's.
Big, squiggly, yet well defined bunkers dominate the scene as you wander the grand fairways. The greens are split into platforms that are sure to make Sunday pin positions interesting, with any errant shot swallowed by the maundering water hazards that surround the greens. This is no more so than the 237 metre par 3 15th and the 189 metre par 3 17th.
David Toms in the 2001 PGA Championship here nailed a 5-wood 222 metres into the hole to record the longest hole-in-one in a PGA Championship and grabbed the third round lead. That ace gave Toms the cushion he needed to hold off Phil Mickelson with a memorable 12 foot par-saving putt on the 72nd hole to capture his first Major title.
As the players made final preparations around the course today, Tiger Woods was in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
If it's not the longest drought of his career, or a bum leg that kept him out of the last two majors, the latest soap opera involves his ex-caddie, Steve Williams.
"I was happy to see Stevie and Adam win," Woods said, adding that he sent Williams a "nice text" after the round.
Then there was the photo taken Tuesday of Williams and Mark Steinberg, Woods' agent, having a chat under a tree. Woods confirmed they spoke, offering no other details at today's packed media conference.
He later said any text messages between him and Williams were private, and asked what caused Williams to sound so motivated, Woods said he wasn't going to speculate.
Williams, meanwhile, posted a statement on his website that he was surprised to be interviewed after the round at Firestone and his emotions got the best of him.
The fact is the international media attention should have been on what lies ahead for Woods here at the PGA Championship, not his past relationship with his former caddie.
Woods is at number 129 in the FedEx Cup standings, and this is his last tournament before the top 125 qualify for the playoffs.
He would need to finish about 25th at the PGA Championship or else he will not be eligible to play anywhere in America for at least five weeks. You tend the think his focus is more on what is in front of him in Atlanta, not about any comments Williams has made.
The American and the foreign press don't realise how close Australians and New Zealanders are. Sure we occasionally bag each other out, more so when Rugby is brought into the conversation, yet Australians will standby the Kiwi colleagues in a spirit that dates back to the ANZAC tradition when our boys landed together in Gallipoli.
Adam Scott, as he should, was not getting involved in any of the caddie talk speculation.
"You know, I think it's being blown out of proportion," were Scott's remarks at Monday's press conference.
"Steve was obviously delighted to win, as was I. He fills me with plenty of confidence and that's a good thing for a caddie to do to a player. So far it's been fantastic."
It's often remarked that time conquers all. Time has not conquered Atlantic Athletic Club and there perhaps is no equal.
History itself will see this fascination about what Williams said in Akron dissipate and then we can all get back to the main issue; the golf and in the process we may even this week create some more PGA Championship history!
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