It's official! PGA Championship to return to Kiawah Island in 2021

Published: May. 1, 2015 at 1:37 PM EDT|Updated: May. 1, 2015 at 9:48 PM EDT
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KIAWAH ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - The year the PGA Championship will return to Kiawah Island, 2021, will be a special year for the Ocean Course.

That will be the 30th anniversary of the 1991 Ryder Cup Tournament, also known as the "War by the Shore," the event that helped put the course on the map.

But there was a second reason that was the year the leadership at Kiawah fought for as the return for the championship. Beginning next year, golf is being added to the Olympics, which means that every four years, the dates of the championship will be affected. Since 2021 is not an Olympics year, there will be no impact on that year's PGA Championship.

There's a different kind of excitement this year at the Kiawah Island Resort following Friday morning's announcement the PGA Championship's return.

This time, the excitement is more like confidence and pride from resort and public officials in being able to bring golf's final major back.

"We are excited to come back to one of the game's great seaside courses," PGA America President Derek Sprague said after a brief highlight reel of winning moments from past championships played.

"What makes this announcement so special is we're still floating from 2012," Gov. Nikki Haley said of the championship's last visit to the course that netted the state $75 million in advertising via media exposure from the tournament. "Kiawah Island is an exceptional place."

Kiawah Island officials said the media exposure the state received included more than 150 hours of television coverage seen in 580 million households worldwide.

But before 2012, the state had never hosted a major.

The resort's president, Roger Warren, acknowledged traffic problems at the 2012 Championship, which included delays in getting people to the course and delays getting people out when heavy rains rolled in.

"Our goal is to fix that and make sure in '21 that isn't the issue people talk about," Warren said. He thanked law enforcement who helped move traffic and said there was no one at whom fingers should be pointed. "We need a better plan and we're going to have a better plan."

This would be the second time that this major championship will be played at the Ocean Course, making Kiawah just the twentieth course to host the PGA Championship multiple times. It has the most holes on the Atlantic Ocean of any course on the East Coast.

In 2012, Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy shot a final round 66 to win the championship by a record eight strokes.

The PGA Championship is usually awarded years in advance and 2021, which would be the 103rd anniversary of the tournament, is the next open year. The 2012 event was announced to be coming to Kiawah back in 2005.

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