COURSE SET UP:
Fairways – ½ inch
Intermediate rough – 1 ½ inches
Primary rough –Step cut approach where possible (dictated by mounds and bunkers) as follows - 4 inches (first cut primary); 6 inches (second cut primary); length of both cuts of primary rough subject to change with on-site review.
Putting greens – USGA stimpmeter reading at 12
Green approaches and closely mown areas – 3/8 to 7/16 inches
Collars around putting greens – 3/8 to 7/16 inches
Native areas – Left in natural condition
The Championship set-up will result in a USGA Course Rating® of 76.6 and a Slope Rating® of 155.
ARCHITECT AND THE COURSE – The Straits Course at Whistling Straits (www.whistlingstraits.com) was designed by Pete Dye and opened in 1998. It is a links-style course located along two-and-half miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, north of Milwaukee. Using land that was previously an Army base, the course has a design that employs wide fescue fairways and sand dune bunkers to complement the windy conditions that are prevalent. All four par-3 holes and four more holes are adjacent to Lake Michigan and play from just above beach level to 80-foot bluffs. To build the course, 13,216 truckloads of sand (approximately 800,000 cubic yards) were brought to the site. A flock of Scottish Blackface sheep roams the courses during the golf season. The number of sheep has increased from six in 1998 to nearly 40 in 2006.
USGA AND WHISTLING STRAITS/DESTINATION KOHLER – This is the first USGA championship to be conducted at Whistling Straits. The U.S. Women’s Open was held at its sister site, Blackwolf Run G.C., in 1998. It was won by Se Ri Pak.
CLUB HISTORY – Whistling Straits and its two golf courses (Straits and Irish) are located on land that was bought from Wisconsin Electric Power Company (WEPCO), which had originally intended to use the site for a nuclear power plant. In the 1950s, for approximately a decade, the site was used by the U.S. Army as an anti-aircraft training facility called Camp Haven. Previously, it had been farmland.
OTHER CHAMPIONSHIP EVENTS: The 2004 PGA, won by Vijay Singh, was the club’s first major championship. The first national event was the 1999 PGA Club Professional Championship, which was won by Jeff Freeman of Tamarisk C.C. in Rancho Mirage, Calif. In the future, Whistling Straits will serve as the site for the 2010 and 2015 PGA Championships and the 2020 Ryder Cup Matches.
PLAYERS AT 2004 PGA – Five exempt players competed at the 2004 PGA at Whistling Straits. Loren Roberts was T17th after rounds of 68-72-70-75. Also making the cut were Jay Haas (T37, 68-72-71-77) and Eduardo Romero (T55, 72-73-70-77). Hale Irwin and Mark O’Meara played but did not make the 36-hole cut. However, Irwin aced the 185-yard 7th hole with a 3-iron in the first round.
WISCONSIN AND THE USGA: The USGA has held eight previous championships in the state of Wisconsin, the most recent being the 1998 U.S. Women’s Open at Blackwolf Run G.C. This is the first Senior Open in Wisconsin. In 2008, the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links will be played at Erin Hills G.C. in Delafield on June 17-22, and the U.S. Mid-Amateur will be played at Milwaukee C.C. in River Hills on September 6-11.
2006 CHAMPIONSHIP RE-CAP – Allen Doyle became just the third player to win back-to-back championships with a steely two-stroke victory over Tom Watson at Prairie Dunes C.C. Doyle withstood home-state hero Watson by making three birdies over the final seven holes in the final round, including a 14-footer for birdie on the par-5 17th hole. Doyle was the only player to record four rounds in the 60s, shooting scores of 69-68-67-68. He had only one three-putt green all week, for bogey on the fifth hole on Sunday.
PURSE – The 2007 purse is $2.6 million and the winner receives $470,000.
FORMAT – The championship is played at stroke play over 72 holes. There are 156 players in the championship field, comprised of those advancing from sectional qualifying, and those exempt from sectional qualifying. After 36 holes, the field is cut to the 60 lowest scorers and ties or anyone within 10 strokes of the leader.
PLAYOFF FORMAT – If there is a tie at the end of 72 holes, a three-hole aggregate score playoff, on holes 10, 17 and 18, will follow immediately. If the playoff results in a tie, play will continue hole-by-hole until a champion is determined.
CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY – The U.S. Senior Open was first played in 1980. The 2007 championship is the 28th. A total of 21 players have won the first 26 championships. There have been five playoffs. Twenty-four clubs have hosted the championship with Oakland Hills Country Club in Birmingham Hills, Mich., and Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, Pa., having served twice as a Senior Open site.
PLAY-OFF - A three-hole playoff for the 2007 U.S. Senior Open would be played Sunday, July 8, starting immediately after the completion of 72 holes. NBC would broadcast the playoff in its entirety.
REPEAT AND MULTIPLE WINNERS – Allen Doyle (2005 and 2006), Miller Barber (1982 and 1984, 1985) and Gary Player (1987 and 1988) are the only players with back–to–back Senior Open victories. Hale Irwin (1998 and 2000) and Jack Nicklaus (1991 and 1993), are the only other multiple winners.
TWO TEES – Players start on both the first and 10th tees during competition on Thursday and Friday, beginning at 7:15 a.m.
WINNERS OF U.S. OPEN & U.S. SENIOR OPEN – With his victory at Riviera Country Club in 1998, Hale Irwin became the seventh man to win both the U.S. Open and U.S. Senior Open. Here’s a table detailing these multiple winners:
U.S. Open U.S. Senior Open winners
Billy Casper 1959, 1966 1983
Hale Irwin 1974, 1979, 1990 1998, 2000
Orville Moody 1969 1989
Jack Nicklaus 1962, 1967, 1972, 1980 1991, 1993
Arnold Palmer 1960 1981
Gary Player 1965 1987, 1988
Lee Trevino 1968, 1971 1990
PAST CHAMPIONS – All past champions are exempt for future Senior Opens.
2006 Allen Doyle Prairie Dunes C.C. Hutchinson, Kan.
2005 Allen Doyle NCR C.C. Kettering, Ohio
2004 Peter Jacobsen Bellerive C.C. St. Louis, Mo.
2003 Bruce Lietzke Inverness Club Toledo, Ohio
2002 Don Pooley Caves Valley G.C. Baltimore, Md.
2001 Bruce Fleisher Salem C.C. Peabody, Mass.
2000 Hale Irwin Saucon Valley C.C. Bethlehem, Pa.
1999 Dave Eichelberger Des Moines G &C.C. W. Des Moines, Iowa
1998 Hale Irwin Riviera C.C. Los Angeles, Calif.
1997 Graham Marsh Olympia Fields C.C. Olympia Fields, Ill.
1996 Dave Stockton Canterbury G.C. Beachwood, Ohio
1995 Tom Weiskopf Congressional C.C. Bethesda, Md.
1994 Simon Hobday Pinehurst R. & C.C. Pinehurst, N.C.
1993 Jack Nicklaus Cherry Hills C.C. Englewood, Colo.
1992 Larry Laoretti Saucon Valley C.C. Bethlehem, Pa.
1991 Jack Nicklaus Oakland Hills C.C. Birmingham, Mich.
1990 Lee Trevino Ridgewood C.C. Paramus, N.J.
1989 Orville Moody Laurel Valley C.C. Ligonier, Pa.
1988 Gary Player Medinah C.C. Medinah, Ill.
1987 Gary Player Brooklawn C.C. Fairfield, Conn.
1986 Dale Douglass Scioto C.C. Columbus, Ohio
1985 Miller Barber Edgewood Tahoe G.C. Stateline, Nev.
1984 Miller Barber Oak Hill C.C. Rochester, N.Y.
1983 Billy Casper Hazeltine National G.C. Chaska, Minn.
1982 Miller Barber Portland G.C. Portland, Ore.
1981 Arnold Palmer Oakland Hills C.C. Birmingham, Mich.
1980 R. De Vicenzo Winged Foot G.C. Mamaroneck, N.Y.
Note: The champions in italics are not entered in the 2007 field at close of entries on May 23.
IRON MAN – Dale Douglass, 71, who won the Senior Open in 1986 on his first try, has entered the championship for the 22nd consecutive year. That is the second-longest string in Senior Open history, surpassed only by the 25 consecutive starts by Arnold Palmer (1981-2005).
2007 ENTRIES – The USGA received 2,615 entries in 2007. The record is 3,101 in 2002. Sectional qualifying was held at 42 sites nationwide from June 5-18, including June 8 at Pine Hills C.C. in Sheboygan.
WHO CAN ENTER – The Senior Open is open to any professional or amateur with a USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 3.4 who turns 50 on or before July 8, 2007. Entries closed on May 23.
MEDIA CONFERENCE WITH ALLEN DOYLE – Defending champion Allen Doyle will meet with all interested credentialed media at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, July 4, in the Media Center at Whistling Straits.
PLAYER INTERVIEWS – A complete schedule of pre-Championship interviews and times at the Media Center on July 3-4 will be published and distributed prior to Championship week.
MOST SENIOR OPEN APPEARANCES: Counting the 2007 Senior Open, following is a chart of the most appearances at the championship.
25 – Arnold Palmer
#22 – Dale Douglass (longest active streak)
19 – Miller Barber
#19 – Gary Player
16 – Chi Chi Rodriguez, Bob Charles, #Larry Laoretti
15 -- Jim Dent
# = counting 2007