The 2016 PGA Championship long drive contest brought the heat on Tuesday at steamy Baltusrol Golf Club, with players taking their shot at being a monster masher off the first tee -- a converted par 5 into a par 4 -- on the Lower Course at the historic New Jersey club.
Byeong Hun-An was the winner of the third contest in the modern era of the PGA Championship, hitting a mammoth 347-yard drive that stayed in the fairway, giving him the longest drive in the short, revived history of the event.
Rory McIlroy appeared to have the win sewn up, blasting a 345-yard drive with his first swing of the day at Baltusrol.
— PGA Championship (@PGAChampionship) July 26, 2016
It was a title McIlroy wanted to win, admitting he would be disappointed if he lost.
"I would be (disappointed to lose)," he said. "I think it's a great concept." He added, "I know Jack Nicklaus still carries his money clip from 1963 when he won it. It's a nice little accolade to have."
McIlroy pegged Gary Woodland as his potential biggest challenger, though he proved not to factor in the end.
"Not going to lie to you, I've been checking the board since to see if anyone's got up close to me," the four-time major winner said.
Only drives that found the fairway and stayed there at the end counted.
2016 PGA Championship long drive contest results
- Byeong Hun-An -- 347 yards
- Rory McIlroy -- 345 yards
- Nicolas Colsaerts -- 341 yards
- Brandon Stone -- 334 yards
- William McGirt -- 325 yards
- Robert Streb -- 328 yards
- Sergio Garcia -- 319 yards
- Jordan Spieth -- 314 yards
The PGA Championship long drive contest started in 1952 and disappeared from 1965-73. It was brought back a few times in the 1980s, the last time being 1984, but it was restored for good three years ago. The PGA of America brought back the long drive contest in 2014 at Valhalla, when Louis Oosthuizen won. A year later at Whistling Straits, Anirban Lahiri won the title. The winner is given a gold money clip that's a replica of the one Nicklaus earned in 1964 and the top three finishers have money donated to the charity of their choice in their names.
PGA Championship long drive contest champions
- 2014, Vahalla,No. 10, par 5 -- Louis Oosthuizen, 340 yards (2nd: Jason Day, 338 yards)
- 2015, Whistling Straits, No. 2, par 5 -- Anirban Lahiri, 327 yards (2nd: Matt Dobyns, 323 yards)
- 2016, Baltusrol, No. 1, par 4 -- Byeong-hun An, 347 yards (2nd: Rory McIlroy, 341 yards)
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