Nick Faldo came to the 1991 Ryder Cup at Kiawah Islands Ocean Course ranked No. 3 in the world and one of the shining lights on the European team. He managed one point in four matches.
David Feherty came to the same competition one of the unknown soldiers on the European squad. He won his singles match and earned another half-point in a best-ball duel.
But strange things unfold on the Ocean Course and Faldo and Feherty, members of the CBS television crew, say dont be surprised at anything that occurs at the PGA Championship that begins Thursday.
The course has a links look, but its not a true links, Feherty said Monday in previewing the tournament. Many of the greens are up and you have to fly the ball to the green and if the wind blows, watch out.
If the wind blows and the wind almost always blows at the layout hard by the Atlantic Ocean golfers will face a dilemma, he said. Playing low keeps the ball on line, but it will not roll onto most of the greens. Playing high shots risks the wind blowing the ball off line and into the myriad of problem areas that characterize the course.
When we played (in the Ryder Cup), our wind was left to right for the first four holes, then we turned around the other way from five through 13, Faldo said. Then we turned around again and had that left-to-right wind (14-18).
That left-to right wind is the toughest, the most difficult. Now, Graeme McDowell said over the weekend that when he was there last week, it was the opposite.
But every day or, for that matter, every hour can be a mystery at the Ocean Course. Remember, the Ryder Cup players prepared for the tournament in weather like McDowell experienced, and they were all smiles. Then the competition began, the wind turned and the golfers experienced a totally different golf course.
Typical of South Carolina in August, thundershowers are in the weather forecast each day and, Faldo noted, rain could affect playing conditions in some of the run-off areas.
The course is as much of a story as the players are, Sean McManus, chairman of CBS Sports, said. And there are a lot of amazing storylines, too.
The 2009 PGA featured the unknown Y.A. Yang outdueling Tiger Woods over the final round to claim the title. A year later, Martin Kaymer beat Bubba Watson in a playoff after Dustin Johnson incurred a two-stroke penalty that cost him a title shot. And in 2011, Keegan Bradley, playing in his first major, rallied for get into a playoff and captured the championship.
Those match the drama and intrigue of the 1991 Ryder Cup matches, which featured an incredible numbers of twists and turns in the United States 14½-13½ victory that came to be called The War by the Shore.
Faldo, who had won four of his six career majors, and Ian Woosnam, the reigning Masters champion and then No. 1 in the world rankings, played so poorly together in two first-day losses that captain Bernard Gallacher benched Woosnam on Saturday morning and Faldo on Saturday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal kept the European team afloat and the teams went into Sundays singles tied. Bernhard Langers missed putt and Mark Calcavecchias collapse have become the symbols of that day; forgotten is Faldo beating Raymond Floyd 2-up and Feherty defeating Payne Stewart 2 and 1 in the second singles.
Now, a generation later, the golf worlds focuses on Kiawah Island again. Players are stronger and technology has changed the game, and the Ocean Course has matured and features advanced grasses.
But the layout is much the same and the wind still blows. Feherty thought about the challenges that begin Thursday and said, I just glad Im not playing this week.