2021 PGA Championship Preview
Kiawah Island (The Ocean Course) par 72 7,876 Yards
It’s a beautiful Pete Dye golf course with an oceanfront and Sand Dumes but it’s hard and will test you. Golf Digest has declared this golf course the hardest in the country and any wind 10 mph or up will only make it harder. It’s a PGA Championship but it will play like a US Open this week and will test every golfer in the field including the closing stretch.
Previous Events Hosted
2012 PGA Championship
1991 Ryder Cup
Kiawah Island It’s long?
Compared to 7,676 yards in 2012 this week will be the longest major venue in history at 7,876 on the scorecard. It remains to be seen whether the PGA of America will move up tees or not but this will fit the longer hitters on tour this week especially that closing stretch.
Yes for some reason the PGA of America is allowing the golfers to use range finders this week. That will be interesting strategy-wise and pace of play wise.
Welcome Back Rory
Rory Mcllroy returns to the site of his 2012 PGA Championship win after breaking his winless drought at Quail Hollow. Mcllroy will certainly be one of the favorites this week.
Speith Grand Slam?
Jordan Spieth comes into the week with the chance to complete the grand slam and arguably this week will be Spieth’s best chance to complete the slam. A golf course like Kiawah Island fits Spieth’s short game when you need to survive to contend on Sunday.
Koepka, not 100%?
Brooks Koepka has said he’s playing hurt and not 100%. it remains to be seen how it affects him this week.
Collin Morikawa defending champion
Morikawa comes into the week the defending champion looking to replicate his performance at TPC Harding Park.
Zalatoris took the golf world by storm at the Masters almost winning the event. He’s got the swagger and the game to win big events like these.
Burns caught my eye when he played with Tiger Woods during his comeback and broke out won at the Valspar and is coming off solo second at the Bryon Nelson. Burns is one of the hottest golfers coming into the week and could be a factor by Sunday.
Scheffler has yet to pick up win No. 1 on the PGA Tour but that win will eventually come and his game can make quite a statement this week if he gets hot with his putter.
Conners is a name no one pays attention to. But a golfer with length and great iron play? I’ll take my chances on Conners once again being in contention on a Sunday at a major championship.
Has never statistically done well at the PGA Championship but his game has improved within the past two years. A firm and fiery golf course like Kiawah Island suits his game and his short game is one of the best in the field. Oh and don’t forget the improve iron play as well. This is a guy who could break out and win his first-ever major championship.
Golfers I don’t like this week
Fowler got into this week by a special exemption and if that doesn’t tell you how much he is struggling I don’t know what will. At a tough golf course like this, I do not expect him to turn it around this week.
An event and course like this fits a healthy Koepka to be a contender. But that is the issue he is not 100% and has struggled since he reinjured himself.
Cantlay has struggled recently having missed four straight cuts in a row. That stat alone even in a sport like golf where it’s week to week does not give me too much confidence in him this week.
Matsuyama has always enjoyed success at setups like these. However, that’s not why I don’t like him this week but a major hangover after his big win at the Masters is the reason I’m not fading him this week.
His putting is too inconsistent it’s either really great or really bad since he switched to saw putting grip. The inconsistency alone is a reason not to fade him this week. But it does not help that Kiawah Island fits the long hitters on the PGA Tour and Morikawa isn’t one of them.
Just missed the top 10: Patrick Reed Webb Simpson
10 Abraham Ancer
Ancer is coming off a T5 at Valspar and a solo second at the Wells Fargo. He is also a fairway machine being second in driving accuracy. Being a long golf course hitting the fairway is important and his putting is good enough to put him on the first two pages of the leaderboard come Sunday.
9 Tony Finau
He may struggle to finish off tournaments but you cannot ignore his length off the tee and Kiawah Island setup fits his game and style. He may not win but it could be another week of contention for Finau.
8 Dustin Johnson
How does he go from my pick to win the Masters to 8th in my power rankings? Well, its easy he has struggled since his last win and even complained about some knee discomfort. Putting is always the question mark with Johnson at majors and he has a new one in the bag this week as well. Oh, and he finished T48 at Kiawah but he’s still good enough to make the top 10 power rankings.
7 Victor Hovland
For the first time ever Hovland is not on my sleepers list but a contender instead. Hovland comes in hot with back-to-back T3s at the Valspar and Wells Fargo. His past major successes as well, his improved short game and only missing one cut on the season could see Hovland be a factor come Sunday.
6 Jon Rahm
Rahm has the talent to finally win his first major championship. But it seems there’s always something missing with him especially with his hot temper and inconsistent putting. But the iron games does talk especially after switching to Callaway clubs. Could this be the week where Rahm breaks through?
5 Xander Schauffele
Schauffele and always being in the top 10 of major championships. There was that big what if at the 16 hole of round four of the Masters when he hit it into the water ending his chance of a green jacket. He’s given himself chance after chance but hasn’t broken through like Rahm. But his play in major championships makes him a name you have to throw into the contention hat. Also I think his short game can succeed with the greens of Kiawah Island.
4 Justin Thomas
Thomas did win at a Pete Dye golf course at TPC Sawgrass back in March. But his play has not been good lately with no top 10s and a bad weekend at the Masters. He does rank second on the PGA Tour in SG/approach. The only thing stopping Thomas for getting hot is his putter so be on the lookout for that this week.
3 Rory Mcllroy
Just when it looked bad for Mcllroy in the middle of a swing change with coach Pete Cowen. He pulled off a great win at Quail Hollow oh and did I already mention he won at this course before? One thing I’ll add he’s got the length off the tee. But it’s the matter of hitting the fairway and his wedge game that’s always the question for Mcllroy. Will see which Rory shows up this week.
2 Bryson DeChambeau
The biggest bomber on the PGA Tour takes on his toughest challenge yet in Kiawah Island. Boy it will be a treat to watch him take on this golf course this week. But he has proven he can overpower long golf courses, with his length off the tee with his driver and especially with his U.S. Open win at Winged Foot. DeChambeau should be a popular pick and could be the winner come Sunday.
1 Jordan Spieth
Ah, the hottest golfer in the world results wise in the middle of his resurgence. Not even COVID-19 could slow him down with another solid finish at the Byron Nelson. Just expect to go on a rollercoaster with Spieth this week with wayward tee shots, spectacular short games recovery shots and making 30 footers but missing 5 footers. It all leads to Spieth being a factor come Sunday and potentially competing the grand slam.
Winner: Bryson DeChambeau
I’m going with the length and power this week.
Score Prediction -8
Because it’s a par 72 and the PGA of America may go easy on the golfers I’ll go with a -8 score prediction. But I could easily see it being lower it just all depends on the wind and the setup.
Hardest Hole? 16-18
Let me lay out this closing stretch for you. a three-shot 608-yard par-five 16th hole. A brutal 223-yard par 3 oh and a 505-yard par 4. If there’s wind it makes this stretch even harder if you get into trouble on this stretch your tournament could quickly be over.