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The hazards are plenty _ 27 of the 86 acres that make up the Ocean Course are sandy areas, not to mention the water, the oppressive heat and humidity and mosquitos that do most of their damage in the morning. Darren Clarke was among those who got in a quick nine Wednesday morning, before a burst of showers. Walking off the 18th green, he wiped a small streak of blood from his wrist where he had killed a mosquito.

The last time the PGA Championship was held on a course hardly anyone knew was 2004 at Whistling Straits. It was big and intimidating, another Dye design, and several players said they would be happy to take even par for the week and wait in the clubhouse. Then, Clarke opened with a 65.

What to expect from Kiawah?

“Without meaning to state the blind obvious,” Clarke said, “it all depends how strong the wind blows.”

The gusts reached 20 mph Tuesday morning before the storms arrived, and when the course was open for a play again, what little wind there was came from the opposition direction. It was stifling Wednesday afternoon, with not much of a breeze.

“There are still shots to be hit,” Clarke said. “Guys will shoot some scores. The wind only needs to pick up to 10 mph and it changes completely. We shall see. It looks like a course that says, `Come on and play golf. Come feel it. Hit it high, high it low.’ It looks like fun to me. And if the wind blows, it’s more fun. You’ve got to have a challenge. You’ve got to ask questions of yourself, and have fun doing it.”

As the season’s last major, it’s not all fun.

Woods is trying to avoid going a fourth consecutive year without a major. He has been close in the last two, at least for a while. He was co-leader through 36 holes at Olympic Club, then tumbled out of the top 20 on the weekend. He was in the penultimate group at the British Open, only for his hopes to die while squatting on the precipice of a pot bunker on his way to a triple bogey on the sixth hole.

He says he is a fan of Pete Dye courses, though Whistling Straits was never terribly kind to him.

Pete will give you a couple easy holes, and then he’ll just hammer you with a few hard ones,” Woods said. “Then he’ll give you a break, and it’s kind of the ebb and flow of most of Pete’s designs. … This is a golf course where it’s going to test our short games a lot. The guy who can chip and putt really well this week is going to have a great chance.”

The way the majors have gone, that could be anybody.

Els won the British Open last month to become the 16th player to win the last 16 majors, the longest streak in 25 years. Such is the parity in golf that the streak could be extended if the PGA Championship is won by the No. 1 player in the world (Luke Donald) or the betting favorite (Woods).

The sentimental favorite figures to be Scott, who had a four-shot lead with four holes to play at Royal Lytham and closed with four straight bogeys. At least he gets another chance for redemption without having to wait another year.

“I’m lucky that just three weeks later, I’m going to have another go at it,” he said.