Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Kiawah can be kind, or cruel

Depends on which way the wind blows

  • Print

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- Pete Dye won't forget the gushing praise he heard from just about everyone about his new creation, The Ocean Course, as the world's best players got ready for the 1991 Ryder Cup at Kiawah Island in weather that was perfect for golf.

Then the wind blew in from the Atlantic Ocean, and that changed everything.

"They had a heck of time," Dye said with a chuckle. "The trouble they had on those par 3s was unbelievable."

It has taken more than two decades of tweaks -- all overseen by Dye -- and the PGA of America's resolve to again make the feared course a showcase for the strongest field in golf for the PGA Championship, the final major of the year.

"It will be hard, but it will be fair," said Roger Warren, the president of Kiawah Island Golf Resort.

Dye was commissioned more than two decades ago to fashion a course on piles and piles of sand alongside the Atlantic. He laughs now about those early, positive reviews, recalling how four-time major champion Ray Floyd told him during Ryder Cup practice the course was "the greatest thing ever," after playing in a mild, southeasterly wind.

Few were smiling once gusts reached 20 knots.

"People ask if I designed the course like that on purpose," Dye said.

All you have to do is look at the Ryder Cup that year to know why.

Floyd and Fred Couples hit 9-irons and wedges into the par-3 17th during practice rounds. They were hitting 3-iron and 3-wood on the weekend. Wind carried balls into marshy hazards that would have never been in play in mild conditions. Mark Calcavecchia went 8-over par over the final four holes and lost a 4-up lead to Colin Montgomerie. Seve Ballesteros won a hole against Wayne Levi with a triple-bogey 7. Hale Irwin shot a 41 on his final nine -- and still earned a halve that gave the Americans the cup in what became known as the "War on the Shore."

Calcavecchia sat a sand dune staring at the ocean when he was done, believing he cost the United States the trophy. The lasting image of the match, though, was Bernhard Langer's dazed expression after his missed 6-footer on the 18th hole would have allowed Europe to retain the Ryder Cup.

Floyd called it a course you should never play with a scorecard -- and it took some time before anyone dared to try.

There was a Shell Wonderful World of Golf match between Annika Sorenstam and Dottie Pepper in 1996 and the World Cup in 1997 and 2003. The winning team in 1997 was Ireland, with a 26-year-old named Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley. The individual medal went to Colin Montgomerie, one of only two times he left America with a trophy. Trevor Immelman and Rory Sabbatini won the World Cup six years later at Kiawah Island.

Perhaps the most attention the Ocean Course received came in 2000, when Robert Redford used the layout's foggy, windswept holes as the backdrop for the mystical golf fantasy, The Legend of Bagger Vance.

Warren was president of the PGA of America when the Ocean Course was awarded its major in 2005. He was thrilled in 1991 to watch the game's top players scramble for success at The Ocean Course.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 5, 2012 B12

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Humans of the Holidays

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Local-(Standup photo)- A wood duck swims through the water with fall refections in Kildonan Park Thursday afternoon.
  • BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS  070527 The 21st Annual Teddy Bears' Picnic at Assiniboine Park. The Orlan Ukrainian Dancers perform on stage.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who should get more playing time in Jets net?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google