| KIAWAH ISLAND, South Carolina
KIAWAH ISLAND, South Carolina Aug 7 Luke Donald
got a sneak preview of the wildly unpredictable ocean weather
likely to affect this week's PGA Championship during his first
two hours of practice at Kiawah Island Golf Resort on Tuesday.
The British world number one had to cope with strong winds
after teeing off, then had to come off the course due to the
threat of lightning before returning just half an hour later in
surprisingly light breezes.
"I teed off this morning at 7:00 a.m. and it was a
25-mile-an-hour (40.23 kph) wind that lasted about 45 minutes,"
Donald told reporters as steady rain swept across the 7,676-yard
"Got called in for half an hour, came back out and the wind
was completely different and just five miles an hour.
"Obviously the conditions are changing from hour to hour,
and that's making it difficult on this course. With barely any
wind, the course offers you some opportunities but under some
tougher conditions, this is a very tough test."
A mixture of rain, thunderstorms, lightning and gusts up to
30 mph (48.28 kph) have been forecast for the year's final major
which starts on Thursday with conditions expected to ease for
Sunday's final round.
Suspensions in play are almost certain to be part of the
package over the four days, though four-times champion Tiger
Woods said this was nothing new for the players.
"We're so accustomed to them," the 14-times major winner
added. "Rain delays are part of summer months. As long as we get
enough time to loosen up and warm up and get back into rhythm,
"Sometimes it gets a little difficult when they keep you in
the vans and you cool off and then they don't bring you in, you
go back out. It's part of playing in the summer in the South."
The Pete Dye-designed oceanfront layout is no stranger to
major events, having hosted the 1991 Ryder Cup and the World Cup
in 1997 and 2003.
Stretched to 7,676 yards for this week's PGA Championship,
the Ocean Course is the longest layout to stage a major and its
closing stretch is particularly formidable.
"The front nine is a really nice, playable golf course, and
then the back nine is not," said Australian Adam Scott. "The
back nine is very severe.
"There are good scores out there in good weather, but if the
wind blows, it's just going to be very difficult, even if they
move tees forward and stuff like that.
"The green complexes are very severe on some holes, and
there is extreme penalty for a miss. There's water one side and
big waste bunkers the other. It's certainly going to need some
(good) ball striking."
World nunber two Woods, seeking his first major title since
the 2008 U.S. Open, said he enjoyed the challenge of Pete
"He makes you think, which I like, instead of just going out
there and hitting a golf ball," the American added. "He makes
you make a decision off the tees, makes you make a decision into
the greens and makes you leave the ball in the correct spot.
"The thing about Pete is if you miss your spots, you're
going to get penalised severely, and I think that's more so than
any other course designer. But he gives you a lot of room."
One unusual aspect of this week's championship is that the
Ocean Course will feature no bunkers, the PGA of America having
declared all sandy areas as "through the green".
Consequently players will be permitted to ground their clubs
in the sand, take practice swings and remove loose impediments.
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Frank Pingue)