The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island: hole-by-hole guide and Rory McIlroy's winning numbers

A detailed look at this week’s venue for the PGA Championship and how Rory played the course when taking victory there in 2012.

At a mighty 7,876 yards, this week's PGA Championship will be played on the longest course in Majors history.

That was also the case when it last staged the event in 2012 although on that occasion the par 72 was 7,676 yards.

Here, Planet Sport looks at 1-18 on the Ocean Course and how Rory tackled them on the way to his dominant eight-shot victory in 2012.

1st - 396 yards, par 4: Described by designer Pete Dye as an "easy starting hole", it's a good opportunity for an opening birdie. The narrow fairway is flanked by a natural sand area down the right and thick grass left. The green is down in a dune.

Rory in 2012: Par-Par-Birdie-Par (-1)

2nd - 557 yards, par 5: The shortest of the four par 5s and a long drive down the left is favoured, setting up the chance to go for the green in two. Ancient live oaks frame the hole and the elevated green is set between two sand ridges. Rory was 3-under on this hole.

Rory in 2012: Birdie-Par-Birdie-Birdie (-3)

3rd - 390 yards, par 4: Another short par 4 - the shortest on the course - gives a third early chance for birdie. The tee shot is hit over a marsh to a wide fairway, leaving a 9-iron or wedge in. But missing the green leads to a tough up and down.

Rory in 2012: Par-Par-Par-Birdie (-1)

Rory McIlroy chips during practice at Kiawah Island
Rory McIlroy chips during practice at Kiawah Island

4th - 484 yards, par 4: Now the Ocean Course starts to show its teeth with probably the toughest par 4 on the front nine. A big drive is needed, especially if played into the wind, while there's a bailout area in the front left of the green. Hole played shorter in 2012.

Rory in 2012: Par-Par-Par-Par (Even)

5th - 207 yards, par 3: The first of the short holes although, at over 200 yards, that's a little misleading. The most eastern hole on the course where club selection is key as it can vary heavily depending on the wind. A big hourglass green could witness plenty of three-putts. Played just 188 yards in 2012.

Rory in 2012: Par-Bogey-Birdie-Par (Even)

6th - 490 yards, par 4: Another tough and lengthy par 4 although Rory was a combined 1-under during his four rounds here nine years ago when it was 480 on the card. A slight dogleg left favours a drive down the middle and club selection is key with the green so deep.

Rory in 2012: Birdie-Par-Par-Par (-1)

7th - 579 yards, par 5: The front nine's second long hole and Rory came a cropper here in tough round two conditions in 2012, needing six blows. It's a good birdie chance in calmer weather as the fairway is vast. The green is elevated.

Rory in 2012: Par-Bogey-Birdie-Birdie (-1)

8th - 198 yards, par 3: Another decent hole for Rory in 2012, the sixth on the front nine he played under par. It's simple into the wind but downwind leads to a risk of going long and right and into the sand. The water behind the green shouldn't come into play.

Rory in 2012: Par-Par-Birdie-Par (-1)

9th - 514 yards, par 4: The longest par 4 on the front nine so not a surprise that it's the only hole on the outward half that Rory played in over par. A long drive is a big help and a right to left second is the ideal shape to an offset green with a false front.

Rory in 2012: Par-Par-Bogey-Par (+1)

10th - 447 yards, par 4: The start of the spectacular back nine opens with a tee shot hit from an elevated sand dune. The fairway is wide and the second is struck to a green set down in the dunes. There's plenty of surrounding sand for loose approaches.

Rory in 2012: Birdie-Bogey-Par-Par (Even)

11th - 593 yards, par 5: A three-shot hole for many but Bryson DeChambeau will have different ideas. An accurate lay-up is key for the up and down that should hopefully lead to birdie. The flat green is set atop a dune ridge. Rory had to settle for par each day.

Rory in 2012: Par-Par-Par-Par (Even)

12th - 484 yards, par 4: The first of two lengthy par 4s. This one has the widest fairway on the course so the big test is the narrow approach. Dye says it's a "disaster" to miss the tee shot right or left while a leaked second to the right would find water. Potential for big numbers here. Rory was under par in 2012 although the hole was just 412 yards back then.

Rory in 2012: Par-Par-Par-Birdie (-1)

13th - 497 yards, par 4: A strong contender for the hardest back-nine hole and it gave McIlroy problems in 2012. A canal runs down the entire right side and is definitely in play. The ideal approach is front or centre left and away from the water. A hole to make par on and walk off happy.

Rory in 2012: Par-Bogey-Bogey-Par (+2)

14th - 238 yards, par 3: There's no let-up here on the longest par 3 on the course. It's regarded as the most beautiful hole on the Ocean Course but can be treacherous if tee shots miss the exposed and elevated green. Rory made light of it, making birdie the first two days.

Rory in 2012: Birdie-Birdie-Par-Par (-2)

15th - 466 yards, par 4: Hitting the fairway is key and if that's achieved a mid-iron is played to a green running diagonally away to the right. Waste areas await to the left and back right of a small putting surface.

Rory in 2012: Par-Bogey-Birdie-Par (Even)

16th - 608 yards, par 5: The longest hole on the course has been stretched 29 yards from its 2012 distance. Rory made hay here, signing for birdie each day. Downwind even offers eagle chances although second shots need to avoid a deep sand area guarding the left of an exposed, uphill green.

Rory in 2012: Birdie-Birdie-Birdie-Birdie (-4)

17th - 223 yards, par 3: In true Pete Dye style (think Sawgrass), the penultimate hole is the course's most famous and involves hitting over water. Club selection is key and big numbers are possible. Colin Montgomerie made double bogey in his 1991 Ryder Cup singles here and still won the hole against Mark Calcavecchia. Rory held firm here in 2012.

17th hole Kiawah Island
17th hole Kiawah Island

Rory in 2012: Par-Par-Par-Par (Even)

18th - 505 yards, par 4: A superb closing hole with the Atlantic as a backdrop. Dye regards it as the best par 4 on the course and the wind is a huge factor here. There's a large waste area to the left of a well-protected green and anyone needing par to win the tournament faces a tough, tough test. Rory, of course, signed off with a brilliant birdie to complete his dominant victory.

Rory in 2012: Par-Par-Par-Birdie (-1)

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Breakdown of Rory McIlroy's numbers when winning in 2012

McIlroy front nine: (-7)

McIlroy back nine: (-6)

McIlroy on Par 3s: (-3)

McIlroy on Par 4s: (-2)

McIlroy on Par 5s (-8)

Rory shot rounds of 67-75-67-66 to finish at 13-under

Total birdies: 20

Total pars: 45

Total bogeys: 7

Doubles or worse: 0

READ MORE: The PGA Championship: an in-depth look at the leading seven contenders 

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