The Final Major: The 2014 PGA Championship

The Dormie – The 2014 PGA Championship

Valhalla

2013 Champioin (At Oak Hill Country Club): Jason Dufner (-10) – (golf.com)

Course:

Valhalla Golf Club (Louisville, KY) plays host to the 2014 PGA Championship. This is the third PGA held at Valhalla, the first was in 1996 won by Mark Brooks (-11, playoff), and the most recent was in 2000 which was won by Tiger Woods (-18, playoff); Valhalla’s most recent major event was the 2008 Ryder Cup, the last won by the United States. This year, Valhalla will be playing to be 7,458 yards (291 more than in 2000) with a 71 par (1 lower than in 2000–the now par 4 second hole was previously a par 5).

TV Coverage:

Thursday: 1pm to 7pm on TNT
Friday: 1pm to 7pm on TNT
Saturday: 11am to 2pm on TNT
2pm to 7pm on CBS
Sunday: 11am to 2pm on TNT
2pm to 7pm on CBS

Field:

Just like the Masters, ANY past champion can compete if he so chooses. The past five winners of the other three majors and the current Senior PGA Champion automatically qualify as well. No amateurs play in this event making the only major without any amateur competitors.

Storylines: 

Coming into the week, the two top storylines involved the two biggest names in golf right now: Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. Tiger left last week’s Bridgestone Invitational after re-injuring his lower back making his status for this week unknown. Earlier today (Thursday), it was announced that Woods would compete in this championship saying he feels pain-free, “excerpt for the headache of talking to [the media],” he jokingly added. His tee time this morning was at 8:35 and currently (at 10:30am), Woods is +2 through six holes. The real story is how will Tiger fare and if his days winning majors are over. The latter can be addressed later but this week, don’t expect Tiger to be close to winning. I’d love to be wrong here but Tiger has not looked like Tiger recently. It’s been a worn-down analysis of golf but no one is scared of Tiger now, meaning you won’t expect Tiger vs. the field at any more of these tournaments.

You will however, be seeing Rory vs. the field more and more often. After solving his issues with Fridays, Rory McIlroy won the Open Championship and carried that momentum into Firestone. Statistically, Serigo Garcia once again couldn’t hold a three-stroke lead but not because he blew it, but because Rory couldn’t be stopped. McIlroy is on fire and could easily continue this momentum into this weekend and further into the FedEx Cup and Ryder Cup in the fall. The question is can he stay consistent? We saw for so long how (comparatively) bad he was on Fridays and you have to wonder if that inconsistency will return in 2014. Rory tees of at 1:45 this afternoon.

Other storylines include how will the other 2014 major champs, Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer, play–they’ll play with Rory during the first two days. Bubba missed the cut at both the US and British Opens while Kaymer hasn’t been horrible really, his momentum just peaked at the US Open. Many people are wondering if Adam Scott can take home his second major. Stevie Williams, Scott’s caddie, helped Tiger win here 14 years ago and while it’s a very different course, the former world number one has finished the top-10 in nine of his last fifteen majors.

How about the other Americans? Many like Ricky Fowler or Keegan Bradley to emerge victorious while everyone is waiting for Jordan Spieth to finally win a major. Fowler has played great in his last couple majors so keep an eye on him but I’d take Spieth to be the lowest of these three. The one American not yet mentioned is Phil Mickelson. Phil posted a 62 this past Sunday and if he can keep that going, it’ll be Rory vs. Phil vs. no one this Sunday. The different last Sunday and what Phil needs to do this weekend is putt well. He’s the master of wedge-play but the putter will need to be hot for Mr. Mickelson that is for sure.

Prediction:

RORY! He’s way too dialed in right now to be stopped. I want to the Rory Slam happen (win here, then the 2015 Masters, and finally the 2015 US Open). Even Jack Nicklaus thinks so, in fact, Jack thinks Rory can win “15 [to] 20 majors.” Rory’s winning this week with a total score of 269 (-15). Adam Scott will finish 2nd with Jordan Spieth finishing third.

Disagree? Let me know in the comments below.

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One thought on “The Final Major: The 2014 PGA Championship

  1. Pingback: The 2016 United States Open | The THUNDERBLOG

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