ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The countdown to the 100th PGA Championship, hosted by Bellerive Country Club in Ladue, began with the final putt of the 99th Championship at Quail Hollow on Sunday. The tournament’s centennial comes to St. Louis on August 6-12, and the director of the PGA Championship Barry Deach joined our Tom Ackerman to tell us what St. Louis should be looking forward to.
Hear the full conversation, which begins at the 12:50 mark:
“The best way to say it is St Louisans should be proud,” Deach says.
Here are eight reasons why:
Jordan Spieth could pull a Gary Player
In 1965 a 30-year-old Gary Player won the U.S. Open at Bellerive, to complete his career Grand Slam. Jordan Spieth is just a PGA Championship away from completing his first career Grand Slam. He’ll be 25-years-old next August. And with a tie-for-28th finish at Quail Hollow he’ll be looking to get that career slam off his back as soon as possible.
More than just another Championship
“The 100th requires some speciality,” Deach says.
A centennial only happens once, so you can surely bet on some never-before seen aspects of the tournament to be featured at Bellerive.
Bellerive is a “cathedral”
“I have to say, it was just from the back tees, ascetically, it’s a shame that I haven’t been out there this long but it was so cathedral, and beautiful,” Deach says.
He went on to say that they “are probably at a 75 percent completion of a general site plan.” Meaning the plans for parking, merchandise shops, hospitality tents grand stands and more are nearly set. He also says they have plans to use Bellerive’s more than six miles of cart path in new ways too.
“It’s going to be differnet. There is someting that we want to propose that I think fits extraordinarily well with Bellerive and the network of beautiful cart paths that Bellerive has,” Deach says. “They’re not your typical (paths) they are wide and they’re pretty.”
That information won’t be complete until the end of the year he says.
Ozzie Smith’s involvement
The most popular man on the course may not be a golfer, but the former St. Louis Cardinals short stop, Ozzie Smith. He is the president of Gateway PGA Reach, a program that works to make the lives of young people better through education, financial opportunities and activities like golf.
Deach says the PGA Reach program, which extends to most of eastern Missouri, and central and southern Illinois, was a main factor in awarding St. Louis the 100th PGA Championship.
“I can’t say enough about Ozzie Smith, I can’t say enough about his commitment to PGA Reach,” Deach says. “We’ve got some important announcements that will launch next spring in partnership with what we’re going to hopefully see and expand upon when it comes to PGA Reach.”
This keeps St. Louis on golf’s radar
“Every living champion will be in St. Louis next year,” Deach says.
The tournament has been at Bellerive twice. First in 1965, then nearly 30 years later in 1992. Acquiring it again just 15 years later is a huge improvement that keeps St. Louis relevant. The fact that Bellerive also hosted the Senior PGA Championship in 2013 was a small boost to the city’s national reach.
Now hosting one of the most attended golf tournaments in the world, on it’s 100th anniversary will no doubt put a huge spotlight on St. Louis. The best golfers in the world will be in town the entire week leading up to the event , including the field of 150 current players and “every living” former champion. Be aware while driving anywhere between Ladue, downtown and St. Louis Lambert International Airport, you might be driving next to golf royalty.