Hazeltine National will host the 2016 Ryder Cup, just 54 years after it was founded in 1962.

But the jury is still out on a par-72 Robert Trent Jones track that will measure a frightening 7,674 yards off the back tees when the 98 of the top 100 golfers on the planet battle to snatch the Wanamaker Trophy from Padraig Harrington’s grasp. Naturally, it’s the longest course in major championship history.

It’s 319 yards longer than it was for the 2002 US PGA, when Rich Beem saw off a final round charge from Tiger Woods to hula dance in the 18th green.

Championship director Kerry Haigh will almost certainly move tees up over the four days, varying the yardage of a challenge that will have all but the longest hitters removing head covers on a regular basis in the middle of the fairway.

Three of the four par fives measure over 600 yards - the 633 yard third, 606-yard 11th and 642 yard 15th. Then there are the long par fours, such as the 490 yard first or the the 518-yard 12th or the 248 yard par three 13th.

Set by Lake Hazeltine, water comes into play on nine holes on a picturesque, parkland lay out that has hosted two US Opens (1970 - Tony Jacklin and 1991 - Payne Stewart), two US Women's Opens (1966 - Sandra Spuzich and 1977 - Hollis Stacy), a Senior US Open (1983 - Bill Casper) as well as that 2002 US PGA and the 006 US Amateur won by Scotland's Richard Ramsay.

Often exposed to high winds, Jacklin’s seven shot win over Dave Hill in 1970 generated some great anecdotes. But Hill was not all that complimentary about the course. When asked what did Hazeltine needed, he snapped: “Eighty acres of corn and a few cows.”

Padraig Harrington does not believe that its length will pose a problem for the game’s elite, explaining: “I don't think the length is such a big deal from what it's been made out to be. I think the golf course will play quite well, as regards its length. And it's a good, strong course.”

Much has been made of the 606 yard 11th, 518 yard par four 12th and the 248 yard 13th.

But the 2009 US PGA will be decided coming down the stretch and the final three holes are sure to bring their share of agony and ecstasy.

16th - Par 4, 202 yards (Same as 1991 and 2004)

Once a par three, this slight dogleg right features a 224 yard carry over Hazeltine Lake to a fairway that’s guarded by a creek on the left and the lake on the right. The green is a peninsula that juts out into the lake, making it one of the most nerve-wracking holes on the course.

Just ask Scott Simpson, who stood on the 16th tee with a two-shot lead on the 70th and 88th holes of the 1991 U.S. Open. He bogeyed the hole twice and three other times while losing to Payne Stewart in an 18-hole playoff. Stewart played the hole in one-under, six shots better.

"Sixteen definitely was the turning point in 1991," Simpson said.

John Daly took an 11 there with three lost balls in the first round of the 2002 US PGA and shot 77.

Stroke average (rank)

1991 US Open 4.399 (1)

2002 US PGA 4.496 (1)

What they’ve said:

“Sixteen is one of the best holes in America,” Colin Montgomerie.

“Probably the hardest par four I have ever played,” Johnny Miller.

“I might puke,” Rich Beem, 2002 PGA champion, when asked after the third round what he’d do if he had the lead when he reached the 16th hole.

17th - Par 3, 182 yards (same as 1991 and 2002)

A short but dangerous hole, especially under pressure, it’s surround by water and bunkers. A bowl in the front left part of the green collects tee shots and screams three-putt, making it one of the toughest greens on the course. A pulled tee shot can kick down a steep slope just three yards off the green into a pond.

Stroke average (rank)

1991 US Open 3.182 (10)

2002 US PGA 3.225 (8)

What they said:

“I don’t know what went wrong there at 17.” Scott Simpson, who pulled a four iron into the lake lost an 18-hole play-off to Payne Stewart in the 1991 US Open.

“Middle of the green and move on.” Kerry Haigh, PGA Managing Director of Championships.

18th - Par 4, 475 yards (25 yards longer than 2002)

A brute of a par four that climbs with a slight dogleg left back up to the clubhouse. The added length and some new bunkering make the tee shot more difficult and the green is well bunkered, making the typical approach from 190 to 200 yards more challenging.

Stroke average (rank)

1991 US Open 4.328 (2)

2002 US PGA 4.304 (4)

What they’ve said:

“Probably in the 2002 US PGA Championship in Hazeltine at the 18th hole.” Tiger Woods when asked to describe the most remarkable shot of his career: a 200 yard bunker shot with a three iron that soared over trees and finished 18 feet from the pin in the second round. He holed the putt.

“Eighteen is just a long way up that hill.” Rocco Mediate, who finished sixth in 2002.

“You have a mental game that comes into play at Hazeltine down the stretch. Eighteen is a scary hole for the players. It’s similar to Augusta with the uphill tee shot and the bunkering.” Rees Jones, course architect.

Hazeltine factfile

Greens: Bent/poa .09 inches

Collars: Bent/poa 375”

Tees: Bent/poa .375”

Fairways: Bent/poa .40”

Step-cut: Bluegrass 1.25”

Primary rough: Bluegrass and fescue 4.00”

Bunkers: There are 109 bunkers on the golf course.

Water hazards: Water may come into play on nine holes (2nd, 6th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 13th, 16th and 17th).

Trees: The predominant type of trees at Hazeltine National Golf Club are Maple (35 percent), Oak (15 %), Evergreen (14%) and Ash (13%).
Design: The golf course was designed by Robert Trent Jones and opened for play in 1962. It was renovated by Rees Jones in 1989, 2004 and again in 2007. It is a gently rolling parkland course that is built on approximately 180 acres.