By Anthony J. Schaaf
The PGA Championship is coming back to Georgia.
In less than a month, the PGA Championship will arrive in Johns Creek. The five year old city located about 30 miles north east of Atlanta will becomes the center of the golf world from August 8th thru the 14th when the Atlanta Athletic Club hosts the 93rd PGA Championship.
For golf enthusiasts it just doesn't get any better, 156 of the top professional players will be teeing it up in Johns Creek to compete for the famed “Wannamaker Trophy.” This is golf’s fourth and final major of the year and is known as “Glory’s last shot.”
About the tourney
The first PGA Championship was held in 1916 at Siwanoy Country Club in Eastchester, New York. Initially a match play event, the tournament was changed to stroke play in 1958.
Until the 1960s, the tournament was often played in late July, the week following The British Open Championship, making it virtually impossible for players to compete in both majors. In 1965, the PGA was contested in August, and that move was made permanent in 1969, save for the one-year move to February in 1971.
The tournament was last held in Georgia in 2001 and was won by David Toms.
About the Course
The tournament will take place on the famed Highlands Course at the Atlanta Athletic Club. The par-72 Highlands course will be converted to a par 70 for the championship with holes including No. 18 a par 5 converted to 507-yard par 4 that features water along the left side and in front of the green.
This will be the third time the Atlanta Athletic Club has hosted the tournament, making it just the fifth venue in the United States to have hosted at least three PGA Championships. The Club also hosted the Championship in 1981 and 2001.
The last time the tournament was here the host City of Johns Creek did not exist. Today however The City of Johns Creek, Georgia, is home to an estimated population of 77,000. The city is part of the area known as Metro Atlanta, which boosts a population of nearly 5 million.
The city is close enough to Atlanta to take advantage of its vibrant culture and economic growth – yet far enough away to experience a quieter lifestyle – Johns Creek residents enjoy the best of both worlds in a mild, seasonal climate.
As Mayor Mike Bodker said at the tournaments media day, “"The world is watching Johns Creek, Georgia."
As part of its hosting duties the city will be presenting the PGA Championship History Exhibit from June 7 – Aug. 14. This free exhibit explores the history of the Championship through items collected from each tournament dating back to the first in 1916.
“People travel from around the world – 35,000-40,000 of them per day – to see this tournament,” Bodker said. “It will be broadcast to over 560 million viewers in 185 countries and we expect close to 1,000 media outlets from 13 countries to be right here in our hometown.”
Johns Creek officials say the tournament is sure to bring a lot of dollars to the five year old city, as well as to the surrounding area. Current estimates say it will be around $40 Million, and others estimate even more.
According to Mike Paul, Executive Director of the Georgia Section of the PGA. “The projected economic impact on the area could be well over 70 million over the course of the week.”