Commentary

PGA disaster preparedness test

Updated: August 8, 2012, 12:26 AM ET
By Rick Reilly | ESPN.com

Because this week's PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, S.C., is setting up to be a disaster on the order of "Mars Needs Moms," you need to know all you can about it. Let's test your knowledge.

1) "Ernesto" is …
a) … the name of the hurricane that was threatening to hit Kiawah Island during the tournament but seems to have decided against it.
b) … the name of the architect who built the brutal Ocean Course, site of the event.
c) … the only person in Kiawah who actually likes temperatures of 95 with 90 percent humidity.

2) The Ocean Course …
a) … is the hardest course in America, according to Golf Digest.
b) … is more photogenic, is curvier and has made more men suffer than Kim Kardashian.
c) … has rough high enough to lose Ryan Seacrest in.

3) To get from Charleston, S.C., the only nearby city, to Kiawah, you will need …
a) … to take the only two-lane road that goes there, which means the usual 30-minute drive might take as long as 90.
b) … Xanax.
c) … a helicopter.

[+] EnlargeOcean Course
AP Photo/Chuck BurtonThe 17th hole on the Ocean Course features a bit of water.

4) Last week …
a) … a man landed a single-engine airplane on the perfect beach that runs along the Ocean Course because he "thought it would be cool to take some pictures."
b) … the crew of Tiger Woods' 155-foot yacht, Privacy, anchored the boat at Bohicket Marina, a few miles over on nearby Johns Island. This is where Woods will stay during the week.
c) … a tornado funnel cloud nearly touched down on Kiawah Island.

5) This week …
a) … lightning and thunderstorms are predicted each day, which is trouble because the Ocean Course gives people almost nowhere to hide.
b) … paramedics will be on motorcycles because there are almost no access roads to get to the outlying holes -- and they're almost all outlying.
c) … ticket holders should double-check their insurance policies.

6) The person who decided to bring the PGA Championship to South Carolina in sweltering August during hurricane season and play it on a diabolical Pete Dye course should be …
a) … congratulated.
b) … tested for narcotics.
c) … anchored under Bohicket Marina.

7) At Kiawah, the ever-present alligators that lounge around on the tee boxes sometimes won't move …
a) … even if you hit them with a golf ball. (I've done it.)
b) … for lawn mowers. (I've seen it.)
c) … unless they're hungry. (Don't pose with them.)

8) Woods finished playing a practice round last Tuesday on this balata-gobbling course -- filled with sand dunes, wetlands, marshes, ponds, ocean and waist-high sea grasses -- and said …
a) … "I don't know how the spectators are going to get around this place. First of all, I don't know how they're going to get to it."
b) … "If I ever get Pete Dye alone in a room, I'm going to puncture his kidneys with a ball-mark repair tool."
c) … "Could we just end this after Friday's round? I'm usually ahead then. That would be great for me."

9) The last time an event this huge was held at Kiawah was the 1991 Ryder Cup "War at the Shore," when …
a) … Bernhard Langer missed a six-foot putt that would've won Europe the Cup and had to be treated for exhaustion afterward at a Charleston hospital.
b) … the Ocean Course ate Mark Calcavecchia up so bad, he cried.
c) … Pete Dye watched from his townhouse near the Fifth Circle of Hell.

10) Celebrities George Will, Tara Lipinski and Bill Murray live either on the course or nearby. Ben Roethlisberger owns a nearby bar, the King Street Grille. Darius Rucker is around so often he could vote in local elections. And the best-playing local celebrity is Dan Marino. All of which makes you wonder …
a) … what would a conversation between Tara Lipinski and George Will sound like?
b) … when Marino plays, does he wear an Isotoner glove?
c) … Darius Rucker is still a celebrity?

11) It can get so windy at the Ocean Course …
a) … morning crews often have to shovel huge piles of beach sand off the greens from the night before.
b) … flagsticks have been blown out of holes.
c) … sea gulls take cabs.

[+] Enlarge1991 Ryder Cup
AP Photo/George GardnerSeve Ballesteros asked the crowd to move so Jose Maria Olazabal could take a shot from a less than ideal spot during the 1991 Ryder Cup.

12) Most experts think 288 will be …
a) … good enough to win.
b) … the average price of a room at the Charleston Motel 6.
c) … how many people will collapse of heat exhaustion on a course with almost no shade.

13) The sinister 497-yard par-4 13th …
a) … features a tee box that is so far back into the woods you can barely see it, a fairway that will be harder to hit than Manny Pacquiao, a long canal all the way up the right side, dunes and ocean up the left, a green guarded by water on one side, two bunkers deep enough to hide a Buick on the right, and jungle behind, and wind that's usually straight into your eyebrows the whole way.
b) … will cause Woods to lose the rest of his hair.
c) … would be a good place to land a single-engine airplane.

14) The 223-yard par-3 17th has a green the size of a beer coaster and is all carry over a lake. This will be a good hole for …
a) … a great long-iron player such as Hunter Mahan.
b) … the few spectators who can fit on it.
c) … the scuba diver with the contract to retrieve the balls.

15) Because the greens are grainless and easy to read, the big winner at Kiawah might just be …
a) … big hitters who usually can't putt a lick, like Tiger Woods or Bubba Watson.
b) … wind players who can shape their shots, like Ernie Els or Bo Van Pelt.
c) … Ernesto.

ANSWERS: 1) a. 2) a, b and c. 3) a, b and c. 4) a, b and c. 5) a and b. 6) b. 7) a, b and c. 8) a. 9) b. 10) Seriously? You're looking for an answer on this one? 11) a, b and c. 12) a. 13) a. 14) a, b and c. 15) a and b.

Rick Reilly | email

Columnist, ESPN.com