2016 PGA Championship Director
How would you say the PGA Championship compares to other major sports championships?
It’s similar in that we have the best athletes in the world at their chosen profession who will be competing at the highest level of the sport. At the same time, it’s different in that the host venue is a tremendously important part of the story. Championships in all other sports take place on a ﬁeld of play that is regulated. The Lower Course at Baltusrol Golf Club is unique among the world’s golf courses in its design, layout, and history.
The Lower Course at Baltusrol is a spectator course. While the scale is epic, the classic design makes it easy to traverse from the back 9 to the front 9. There are excellent vantage points throughout, and the golf course will present the players with numerous strategic options and opportunities to thrill us with their incredible talents. The beauty of the grounds is a joy to experience as the majestic trees will afford ample shade and opportunities to relax and soak in the unique atmosphere. And ﬁnally, Baltusrol is one of only four golf clubs in America to be designated as a National Historic Landmark
Do most fans buy tickets for one day or do they go for a package?
Attending on multiple days is by far the best way to experience the Championship. There is just too much to see and experience to ﬁt into one day.
What are some of the interesting things that happen in the days prior to the ﬁrst round?
The players are more relaxed and will try to execute multiple shots on every hole. This provides a unique opportunity to take pictures, ask for autographs, and get a feel for the best places to watch once the competition begins on Thursday.
What’s the optimal strategy, to follow a speciﬁc golfer or to stake out territory at a particular hole so you can see all the players come through?
I prefer to do a little of both over multiple days. There is nothing like following a player for an entire round and getting a feel for how they are playing that particular day. If they are at the top of their game, you can actually feel it—you can see it in their demeanor and in their eyes, and the player starts to feed off of the crowd’s energy. On another day, it is great to ﬁnd a grandstand with a concession stand and restroom close by, so that you can watch all of the players come through.
How many volunteers will be working the tournament and where do they come from?
We have almost 3,500 volunteers, including residents from 37 U.S. states and six countries outside of the U.S. Almost 2,000 are from New Jersey, but we also have volunteers coming from Finland and even as far as Australia.
What differences will fans who attended the Championship here in 2005 notice in 2016?
There are new parking and transportation options. The merchandise tent on site will be larger and, frankly, worth coming to see all on its own. We have better grandstand options than before and there will be more concession stands with a wide variety of options to choose from. Children 17 and younger now have complimentary grounds access all seven days as long as they are accompanied by a ticketed adult, and we have complimentary Wi-Fi zones on the property.
Log onto pga.com/pgachampionship for more info.