The 95th PGA Championship is being hosted by Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York for the 3rd time in PGA Championship history. The tournament will begin tomorrow, and this tournament is one of the most anticipated majors in the last few years. It features all of the games top stars including Tiger, Phil, and Rory. The course, a par 70, 7,145 yard course, is sure to be challenging for the games’ finest. Here is what you can expect from the 95th PGA Championship.
The field at this year’s PGA Championship is as good as it gets. Almost all of the top 100 in the Official World Golf Rankings will be participating. Tiger Woods is the favorite coming in, after winning the WGC Bridgestone last week, blowing away the field. Phil Mickelson is not far behind, after two impressive wins in July, including the Open at Muirfield. Don’t forget about Justin Rose and Adam Scott, the winners of the year’s first two majors, who will look to add to their excellent years. Additionally, the list of top players still looking for major number 1 is long. Lee Westwood, Hunter Mahan, who was in the final group on Sunday at Merion and Muirfield, Sergio Garcia, Matt Kuchar, and Brandt Snedeker. Who could forget defending champion Rory McIlroy, who despite struggles this year, has proven his ability to dominate at majors. This field is so wide open, and any one of the 156 participants could take home the Wanamaker Trophy.
The East Course at Oak Hill Country Club, which hosted the PGA Championship last in 2003, is long and strong. It is tough with very thick rough (Enough with the rhymes). This course features long, tight fairways, with tough iron shots onto undulating greens with hazards and bunkers surrounding most greens. The most crucial aspect will be the tee shot, as putting the ball on the fairway will be placed at a premium. There are opportunities to make birdie on 4, 12, 14, and 15. However, the final three holes will play very challenging, and will shoot well over par. Furthermore, a long par 3-3rd, and a tough shot at 5, will make par on most holes at Oak Hill a success. Most greens are very challenging to read, which will lead to less birdies, and more 3 putts. As I mentioned before, water comes into play on a lot of holes. The winner of this tournament will have to hit big drives and woods onto fairways, or they won’t stand a chance from the rough.
My pick for the PGA Championship is Tiger Woods. He dominated at Firestone last week. He is in great shape, and feels confident coming into a major for the first time in a while. I believe he will hit fairways and greens much like he did last week. The rest of the field will struggle hitting greens, and they will face the penalty with the bunkers and hazards. He is the best iron player, and overall player in the field, and who is going to beat him when he is playing well? Nobody. That is why he has won 5 tour events this year, and 14 majors. I expect a -5 275 for the tournament. Here is the rest of my top 5:
5. Jason Dufner- he played well at Merion, and has shown ability to put low rounds on weekends at big tournaments.
4. Keegan Bradley- Won a few years ago in Atlanta, played really well last week tying for second. I think he will make late run on Sunday.
3. Nicolas Colsaerts- He is my dark horse. Huge driver with a lot of power, he will dominate the two par 5s, and I expect him to play the longer par 4s really well because he will be far down the fairways in position for birdie chances.
2. Matt Kuchar- Big time player who has come up small in majors. Won earlier this year at Memorial. Everybody says watch out for Kuchar before every major, but he has done nothing. I expect a solid 4 rounds, and coming up just short on Sunday.
No matter who wins at Oak Hill, we can expect a fun and drama filled weekend, with big storylines surrounding the game’s top stars.
– Anthony Dabbundo