MEDINAH, Ill. -- Members of Medinah CC spent an estimated $3 million renovating its No. 3 Course in preparation for the 2012 Ryder Cup. But perhaps the most noteworthy change at the revered layout where Tiger Woods won the last two PGA Championships contested there was out of their hands.
Disease forced the club to remove about 400 oak trees in the last few years. Among them was a giant oak standing right of the 16th fairway under which Sergio Garcia pulled off one of the more remarkable shots in recent major championships.
"Yeah, it lived its full life, but it was dead, unfortunately. It was a safety hazard, so we had to take it down," said Curtis Tyrrell, Medinah's director of golf course operations, said Monday during festivities marking the one-year countdown to the 39th Ryder Cup.
Pursuing Woods in the 1999 PGA, Garcia sliced his tee shot on the par-4 16th into the right rough. His ball came to rest inches from the base of the oak, partially blocking his view of the green. Rather than taking relief and the accompanying penalty stroke, the 19-year old took a huge swing, spinning out of the shot and closing his eyes as he made contact. The ball found the left side of the putting surface. No sooner had he hit it, Garcia raced up the fairway and leaped to see where it ended up.