There is a reason why the PGA Tour is considered the ultimate tour in the world of golf. Not only does it bring together the globe’s greatest golfers, but it also pits them against the most demanding golf courses anywhere on the planet. For the millions of fans in the US and around the world, it is the struggle of the most talented players in the game on these famed tracks that gives them hope and makes them feel like they’re not alone when it comes to battling on the golf course.
After all, there are few sights more inspiring for the club golfer who tends to hack it around his local course than that of a multimillionaire PGA Tour professional tapping in for a triple bogey. It bridges the gap between us and them and for a few precious seconds, reminds us that we’re in the same boat together, sort of.
With this in mind, what courses on the PGA Tour give the best in the world the most sleepless nights? Indeed, what are the layouts that get fans rubbing their hands together with a vindictive glee during a PGA Tour preview of the upcoming season? This PGA Tour compiled a list of the toughest courses on tour after the 2020 season and the results make for very satisfying reading, provided you are a fan that thrives on schadenfreude.
From Augusta National and the Masters week to the arid desert of Arizona for the playing of the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale, the statisticians at the PGA rank them all. Here are the three that make a professional’s stomach churn just by hearing their names.
Winged Foot Golf Club
Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, northeast of New York City, was statistically the hardest course on tour during the 2020 season. Thanks to its exceptionally tight fairways and undulating greens, the 2020 US Open venue produced a staggering 2008 bogeys and 253 double bogeys over the four days.
Eventual 2020 US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau managed to overpower the 7469-yard-long course as he finished on -6. But the American would be the only player in the field to register a score below par for the week. In essence, golfers at Winged Foot don’t get a moment’s respite as the course is made up of difficult hole after difficult hole, any momentary lapse in concentration could cost them dearly.
That would be something Shugo Imahira would find out first-hand as he finished the week on a truly extraordinary score of +25. Although the 28-year-old Japanese golfer managed to enjoy a better week than Tiger Woods who missed the cut altogether after finishing on +10 after 36 holes. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before we see Woods back in action as the Big Cat continues down the road to recovery.
Tiger Woods (+10) misses the cut at the US Open after shooting 7-over 77 at Winged Foot pic.twitter.com/c2Jdz8ToFv
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 18, 2020
Torrey Pines (South)
The venue for the upcoming 2021 US Open and annual home of the Farmers Insurance Open, Torrey Pines south course, proved to be the second hardest track on tour last season. With a scoring average of just 73.340 for the week and with 1148 bogeys and 116 double bogeys recorded, this idyllic golf course on the dramatic cliffs of San Diego proved to be a nightmare. It’s hard to imagine that a place as serene as Torry Pines, with the docile Pacific Ocean lapping at its feet, can end up causing as much frustration as it does.
Simply put, due to the extreme difficulty at Torrey Pines, the competition gains one of the biggest audiences of the year. Naturally, this is why their iconic title sponsor, Farmers Insurance, has sponsored the event since 1970.
Patrick Reed was the 2021 winner and the Texan will hope that he can replicate that form when the US Open gets underway in mid-June. Indeed, as of the 4th of May, Reed is at 25/1 to make it two victories in a row at Torrey Pines and also win his second major.
It should be pointed out that Reed’s win at the Farmers Insurance Open wasn’t without controversy. It goes without saying but the eyes of the golfing world will be even more firmly fixed on everything that the San Antonio-born golfer does over the week of the US Open.
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) January 31, 2021
PGA National (Champion)
The PGA National’s Champion golf course is famed for one thing and one thing only, the stomach-turning stretch of holes referred to as the Bear Trap.
Warning: the Bear Trap ⚠
The field’s combined score on holes 15-17 at PGA National since 2007: +3,906.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 17, 2021
Any golfer walking off the 14th tee at the Honda Classic is greeted by an eight-foot-tall bear with a giant plaque beside it that reads “It should be won or lost right here.” By here, Jack Nicklaus, designer of PGA National, means holes 15, 16, and 17 which are three of the most treacherous in all of golf. All three holes are flanked by water which is part of the reason that 1328 bogeys and 220 double bogeys were recorded at the 2020 event, leading to a scoring average of just 71.102.
During any other time in life, taking pleasure from another person’s misfortune is a practice that should be wholly condemned. But when it comes to the best golfers on the planet racking up a basketball score, well, that is the one exception.