Temple Hill's Johan Kok Places Third in Long Drive Competition at 96th PGA Championship
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- (Aug. 6, 2014) Johan Kok of Brentwood, Tennessee, is already a winner, and hasn't even started his opening round at the 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky.
The PGA general manager at Temple Hills Country Club in Franklin, Tennessee, Kok placed third in the Long Drive Competition on Tuesday evening, hitting his drive on the par-5 10th hole 337 yards in the fairway.
Kok is one 20 PGA Club Professionals who earned to compete at Valhalla.
"Once we stepped on the 10th tee, Louis [Oosthuizen] and I looked at each other and said 'let's hit it hard.' It was fun and people cheered," said Kok. "It's a hard week for these guys. For me, I'm kind of a guest for the week, but this is just a fun thing for everybody, for the fans and for the kids, as well."
This year's PGA Championship marked the return of the Long Drive Competition, which originated in 1952 when the Championship was conducted at Big Spring Country Club in Louisville. During a practice round on Tuesday, all players were offered the opportunity to hit one tee shot at No. 10. The ball had to come to rest in the fairway to be eligible to win.
Awards were given to the top three finishers with winners receiving a money clip inspired by the one that Jack Nicklaus received in the first of his two consecutive PGA Championship Driving Contest titles in 1963.
Additionally, through PGA REACH, the charitable foundation of the PGA of America, the top three finishers were provided charitable donations of $25,000, $15,000, and $10,000 respectively, with the funds split equally between the players' designated charity and the American Lake Veterans Golf Course, in Tacoma, Washington. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, the facility is the nation's only golf course designed specifically for the rehabilitation of wounded and disabled veterans.
Kok's charity of choice is Exceptional Opportunities in Fayetteville, Georgia.
He begins his opening round on the 10th tee at 2:30 p.m. ET on Thursday.