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Baltusrol tougher for 2005 PGA Championship

A longer and narrower Baltusrol course, featuring possibly the longest hole in major championship play, is being prepared for the 2005 PGA Championship.

The historic Lower Course will play at 7,400 yards, 248 more than it did for the 1993 U.S. Open, won by Lee Janzen. Both layouts are par 70.

The changes include adding 25 yards to the par-5 17th, making it 647 yards, which is believed to be longest hole for one of golf's majors, PGA spokesman Julius Mason said Tuesday.

Improved equipment "absolutely" contributed to the reasons for stretching the course, said tournament chairman John Huneke, a Baltusrol member.

"We'll have a great championship test on a great golf course," said PGA vice president Roger Warren, who promised a "fair layout" consistent with past PGA championships.

Practice rounds will be Aug. 8-10, 2005, while the championship will be contested Aug. 11-14.

Other changes to the course include adding 33 yards to the par-4 No. 3, which will now play at 503 yards; placing new bunkers on the fairway of the par-4 No. 13, and making the par-4 No. 14 more of a dogleg, Huneke said. In addition, No. 18 got more bunkers.

The landing areas for drives -- 270 to 330 yards -- have been tightened, leaving the course playable for members and guests, Huneke noted.

"The basic design of the course has not been changed at all," he said.

Rough is expected to be about 5 inches, tournament officials said.

Sam Snead won the last time the PGA Championship was played in New Jersey, in 1942 at Seaview Country Club near Atlantic City.

Baltusrol Golf Club has hosted 15 national championships on its Upper and Lower courses, including seven U.S. Opens.

This year's PGA Championship is being played Aug. 12-15 at Whistling Sraits in Kohler, Wis.

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