Welcome back to The Dormie! Congrats to Henrik Stenson for his aw-inspiring performance at Royal Troon to capture his first major. After an interesting weekend at the Canadian Open, we move on directly to the PGA which has been pushed up into July because of the Olympic Golf Tournament next week in Rio.
Baltusrol Golf Club: The Lower Course, Par 70, Yardage: 7,462 yards
The PGA returns to Baltrusol for second time since 2005 when Phil won the Wannamaker Trophy. The tournament is the 9th overall major at Baltusrol as the club has hosted seven US Opens as well (two were won by Jack Nicklaus in ’67 and ’80). The first two were played on the original course which was plowed over in 1918 to build the Upper Course–where the third Open was played in 1936–and the Lower Course–where every Men’s Major has been played since 1954. The Lower Course is a monster. The Front Nine is a par-34, including the long and tough 478-yard first hole and two 500+ yard par fours (3 and 7) and the shorter sub-400 yard 2nd and 8th holes. The Back Nine runs longer: every par 3 is playing over 220 yards, every par 4 is playing over 430 yards and the final two holes: the 650-yard, par 5 17th hole and the 553-yard, par 5 18th hole. That’s right, the final two holes are each a par five, we could drama down the stretch on Sunday.
TV Coverage (Eastern Time):
Thursday and Friday: 1:00pm to 7:00pm (TNT)
Saturday and Sunday: 11:00am to 2:00pm (TNT) and 2:00pm to 7:00pm (CBS)
There are two interesting aspects of the field in the PGA: like the Masters, any living past Champion can choose to play and instead of amateurs, the PGA features PGA Club Professionals in the field. Unlike the Masters, most past champions do not partake, so no Jack Nicklaus or Lee Travino, but John Daly is playing!
With the British fresh in everyone’s rearview mirrors, the immediate thought is can Henrik Stenson turn around and win another major right away? Or Dustin Johnson? Oakmont wasn’t too long ago and he is riding a lot of momentum. DJ has a better shot than Henrik thanks to Johnson’s ability to bomb the ball off the tee although his second shots will need to stay precise, especially with the distances on some of the holes. Jason Day has a chance to be the first back-to-back winner at the PGA since Tiger in ’06/’07. The only thing that could hold back the current number one player in the world is that he has been playing a lot of golf recently–this being his third-straight week–so with the heat in the area, Day could get exhausted quick. Rory McIlroy is like the San Francisco Giants: he wins in even years. McIlroy can also bomb the golf ball off of the tee and played well in the British. McIlroy is a man on a mission and he’ll look to pull out his third PGA and fifth major. Phil Mickelson has the experience of winning at Baltusrol and played exceptionally well at Royal Troon, don’t count the 46-year-old just yet. Adam Scott has had an interesting season having not missed a cut in the events he’s played in but no top-10s in majors. Danny Willett played well in the British once again; he’ll be in the exciting “Reigning Major Champions” group with Stenson and Johnson. Jordan Spieth has had an interesting 2016 since the Masters meltdown. He’s still looking to fully regain his mojo and this could be the course to do it. Rickie Fowler is still looking to break through and win his first major. After being a serious contender in all four majors in 2014, he has been shaky in major play although he did win the Players last year.
The Cut: +2
The Winner and Score:
I want to be biased and pick my boy Rory but something feels off. McIlroy will be around the top but he’ll fall juuuust short to Jordan Spieth at -5. Spieth has that itch to return to the top and Dustin Johnson jumping to #2 in the world gives him the motivation to pull this one out. Phil and Henrik had an epic showdown on Sunday at the Open. Rory and Jordan seemed like they could have had one at Augusta when we went into the weekend but Rory fell down the leaderboard on Saturday, this weekend we’ll get that showdown.
Disagree with my pick? Who do think will be in the final groups on Sunday? Let me know in the commentsFollow @geordo9