US PGA CHAMPIONSHIP
WARNING: THE PGA CHAMPIONSHIP TOUR BLOG IS EXTREMELY INTERESTING AND MAY LEAD TO THINKING ABOUT GOLF ALL DAY.
It’s Major number two for the season and as a result of the reshuffle of the schedule, we head into the US PGA Championship. Usually, this is the afterthought of all the Majors, but with the tournament heading back to Bethpage Black we are of course for a hugely entertaining week.
The last time the US PGA Championship was played in May was back in 1949, where Sam Snead was victorious. Incidentally, he had already won the Masters a month before to claim the first two Majors of the year. Is this an omen for Tiger Woods?
After Tiger secured his 15th Major Championship at Augusta is early April, the golf world has been abuzz with excitement and anticipation. With the G.O.A.T finally back to somewhere near his best, he has laid down a marker to the young guns on tour who must have thought they would never get to test themselves against the most dominant player from the last 30 years.
Woods has not played competitively since his victory at Augusta National, but this should not deter any from thinking he is a serious contender this week. He has reverted to his tried and tested routine, of taking significant time off before Major Championships to prepare himself for the hardest conditions on the hardest golf courses in the world. At this stage of his career and after all the injury issues he has had, he also needs to prepare his body for competition
Tiger has previously won a Major championship at Bethpage Black, the 2002 US Open. Unlike then though, he will have to rely on a slightly modified game plan. In 2002 he used his unrivalled firepower to dismantle, arguably the most difficult Municipal course in the USA, this time around, he will have to use his supreme iron play to make up for his less powerful driver. But with the highest GIR percentage on the PGA Tour for the season, this shouldn’t be a problem.
With Bethpage Black being a par 70 and measuring around 7,500 yards and having some of the longest and gnarliest rough on the planet, this week is surely going to be won by a player somewhere near the top of the following stat categories: Strokes Gained Tee to Green, Strokes Gained Driving and Greens in Regulation.
So with that in mind keep a lookout for the following players: Rory Mcilroy, who leads Strokes Gained Tee to Green and Strokes Gained off the Tee, Tiger Woods, who has the highest Greens in Regulation percentage.
One more player to mention is Brooks Koepka. In the past two seasons, he has won three Majors and he has stated publicly that he wants to hit double digits in wins for these tournaments by the end of his career. Clearly he has a big-time mentality and even claimed that there is no reason to fear Tiger Woods, going as far to say that he even enjoys playing alongside Tiger, embracing the media drive for a rivalry
With the switch back to having the PGA Championship in May it has brought some much needed excitement back to this prodigious tournament and has taken away the ugly duckling tag that had long been associated with this tournament. Hopefully, the top players are able to deliver what is sure to be a great Major championship.
TIPS FOR THE WEEK
FROM TEAM TG
Matt: Brooks Koepka. "Back to back US Opens and a US PGA in the last two seasons makes him a favourite at all Major Championships."
Ian: Dustin Johnson. “Number one in the world, hits its miles and straight down the middle.”
Stu: Jason Day. “Tied 5th at the Masters, we are seeing J-Day back to somewhere near his best.”
Ben: Rory Mcilroy. “Due a Major win because of his early form through 2019, very little pressure on him at this Major and with wet conditions his long game will set him apart.”
Wes: Francesco Molinari. “With the extra length that he has gained over the last 2 years and the consistency of ball striking, he’ll bounce back from his Master's disappointment."