MT. PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - Defending PGA Champion Keegan Bradley became the first person in history to hit a golf ball off the flight deck of the USS Yorktown on Thursday all leading up to the 2012 PGA Championship in August.
Audience members received a free grounds pass for the August 6 event since Bradley hit a target in the Charleston Harbor from the Yorktown.
Four months away from the PGA tournament at the Ocean Course, Kiawah Island's Mayor G. Steven Orbin says the event will be as memorable as a hole in one.
"I think this tournament here is probably the biggest sports event in South Carolina has ever had," Orbin said.
If Orbin's right, the island will be flooded with visitors.
"We're expecting 25,000 people a day who will be coming in to the island. And over the week there will be 200,000 people," Orbin said.
The mayor says that's nowhere near the estimated exposure of the tournament around the world. According to the PGA, up to 580 million people in 200 countries will have their eyes on Kiawah Island starting Aug. 9.
Course creator Pete Dye says South Carolina is well on its way to becoming a golfing hot bed.
"The PGA of America is proud to bring the first major golf championship to South Carolina, and the history of support our member professionals have for our men and women in uniform," PGA of America President Allen Wronowski said in a statement. "It is an honor to celebrate our major championship along the shores of this great state in a few months, and to also visit the USS Yorktown, a legendary symbol of those who have sacrificed so much to defend our nation."
"The PGA Championship is one of the nation's most anticipated sporting events and Patriots Point is honored to be a part of it," said Patriots Point Executive Director Mac Burdette. "It will be our pleasure to welcome 2011 Champion Keegan Bradley and PGA of America President Allen Wronowski for this pre-tournament event on the flight deck of 'The Fighting Lady.'"