KOHLER, Wisconsin Whistling Straits has unexpected extra bite for players competing at this week's U.S. PGA Championship, and not just because of the 1,200 pot bunkers which litter the ultra-long Straits Course.
An added challenge at the year's final major is provided by the abundance of mosquitoes buzzing across the 7,507-yard links-style layout that hugs the shores of Lake Michigan.
"They were out this morning in a big way," Hunter Mahan told reporters after playing a practice round with fellow Americans Tiger Woods and Sean O'Hair on Tuesday.
"It was quite shocking, especially when you went by the holes right on the lake there. It was incredible. They were swarming, in fact."
Asked how he had coped with the airborne invasion, Mahan replied: "We can't do anything about it, except put on a lot of (insect repellent).
"They seemed to kind of go away during the last nine holes or so. But it wasn't a whole lot of fun out there with them."
Club professional Mike Small, a three-times PGA national champion, prayed the notorious Whistling Straits winds picked up to keep the mosquitoes at bay.
"If the wind blows, the bugs won't be a problem," he said. "But it's a major. I would putt on gravel and play in a mosquito-infested jungle if it's a major. I'll do what it takes."
The PGA Championship starts on Thursday.
(Editing by Frank Pingue)