The PGA is Underway: Golf’s Best Begin Play at Oak Hill
And so it begins. Early this morning some of golf's best began play at the 2023 PGA Championship. This event is one of the four major events held by the PGA every year and this year it is being held right here in New York.
Oak Hill in Rochester has the honor of hosting the event this year and by the end of the day on Sunday, a new champion will be crowned and one man will be able to claim the vastly coveted trophy.
History of Oak Hill
Oak Hill originally was constructed back in 1901 and it sat on 85-acres of land right next to the Genesee River. Over the next 20 years, the club would go to become an integral part of the Rochester community and a central location for anything to do with recreation or social activity.
In 1921, the University of Rochester came to Oak Hill and proposed a historic deal. The deal was a 'land swap' as the school was seeking to build a new campus on the same location as the golf course. In return Oak Hill and its members would be relocated to a new lot of land, specifically a 355-acre plot in the town of Pittsford.
While hesitant at first the deal was agreed upon and this new location would more than quadruple the size of the club. There was so much land that Oak Hill now had the ability to build two 18-hole golf courses on its new property.
Over the years the course would only grow more and more and we mean that figuratively as well as literally. Oak Hill would enlist the services of one Dr. John R. WIlliams. Dr Williams made great contributions to medicine for his work in using insulin to treat diabetes, however with his free time he took up both botany and horticulture. Dr. Williams would go to plant more than 75,000 trees at Oak Hill and before you ask, yes the majority of the planted trees were oaks.
Overtime the Oak Hill would play host to numerous tournaments. The first tournament was held in 1934. The tournament acted as twin celebration, celebrating Rochester's centennial as well as hometown hero Walter Hagen's 20th anniversary of his U.S Open Championship victory.
More of the then golf greats would continue to visit and play Oak Hill including the likes of Sam Snead, Ben Hogan and yes Walter Hagen.Oak Hill would also continue to play host to numerous golf tournaments and by the 21st century, it was the only course that hosted each and everyone of the 6 rotating men's major golf championships.
The PGA Championship 2023
Early this week, many of golfs current greatest players descended upon Rochester in anticipation of this weekends major tournament. Some of the names include the reigning PGA Champion Justin Thomas, as well as the winner of the 2023 Masters Tournament Jon Rahm and past major champions Jordan Speith, Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka.
This is the first time since 2013 that Oak Hill has hosted the PGA Championship event and the fourth time overall. Everyone in the field has their eyes set on being the last man standing. Picking winners in golf is obviously incredibly difficult but with that being said, the professional pickers do have their favorites.
Currently the man with the best odds to win is Jon Rahm who is hot off of his most recent Masters victory. Following Rahm respectively are both Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler.
Lastly it is worth noting that Tiger Woods will not be competing in the tournament this weekend. A recent surgery on his ankle is keeping him away from PGA Championship action this year. Woods in recent years has been much more selective with the events he has chosen to play in in recent years, largely due to a numerous injuries he has suffered particularly to his legs and back.
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Even with the absence of Tiger, this weekend's PGA Championship Tournament has enough plenty of star power to spare. The stage is set and as we speak play has already begun. Good luck to all of the competitors, now it's time to watch the action unfold.