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Sunday, August 3, 2014

PGA Championship - Preview

The PGA Championship returns to Valhalla Golf Club for the first time since 2000, and here is a preview to get the week off and running. In addition to the 2000 PGA, this venue also hosted the 1996 edition as well as the 2008 Ryder Cup. It just so happens, that was the last time the U.S. squad won the Ryder Cup.

Let's start with the course:

Valhalla is a 7,458 yard par-71 layout, featuring three par 5s, four par 3s and 11 par 4s. Of those 11 par 4s, three are 495 yards are longer, so length is a factor. The par 5s measure between 542 and 597  yards, so there are birdies to be found.

History Lesson:

Tiger Woods defeated Bob May in a playoff at the 2000 edition, but then again that was Tiger 2000. The rest of the leaderboard was not exactly a who's who of Hall of Fame golfers, but it is worth noting that both Phil Mickelson and Tom Watson tied for ninth.

In 1996, Mark Brooks topped Kenny Perry in a playoff. Mickelson's name pops up here as well, tying for eighth after holding a three stroke 36-hole lead.

Recent PGA Championships, especially the last four, have identified elite ball-strikers. It began with Martin Kaymer in 2010 and continued with Keegan Bradley in '11, Rory McIlroy in '12 and Jason Dufner a year ago.

What to expect:

Ball-striking, with a tilt towards length, should be a factor this week. with six of the holes playing longer the 495 yards, confidence with the driver is likely paramount.

Birdies will be necessary, which brings both proximity and putting prowess in play. It's more than fair to consider Par Breakers and Birdie or Better statistical categories.

Probably the biggest thing to consider is current form. The WGC-Bridgestone at Firestone CC seems to offer a pretty good indicator as to who will play well on PGA Championship course layouts, so that's an excellent starting point.

If all of this seems to point to Rory McIlroy, it's not an accident. If Rory drives the ball with the confidence he displayed at Hoylake and Firestone CC in his last two starts, this could look a lot like Kiawah Island in 2012 or Congressional in 2011.

We will return tomorrow with our Power Ranking. Until then, happy research!

3 comments:

  1. Hi Ryan I hope you put the wood to glass this week. Obviously rory is on fire and is just as likely to win the barclays or bmw or coca cola as he is to win the pga this coming week. I am in the lead in my leagues but not by much and I only have 1 remaining start left with both rory and furyk while some opponents have 2 or 3 left. That being said would you use him this week at the pga or save him for a no cut event like the bmw or coca cola tourney instead? Same for for furyk... I guess what I'm trying to say is do you think either furyk or rory would have a better chance of winning at one of the remaining 6 golf venues because of certain factors like past history or length of the golf course, etc rather than at this weeks pga instead? Obviously if I'm just using current form I would be foolish not to use rory this week but on the other hand I think it would be of greater value to use Rory's scoring ability for all 4 days in a no cut event like the bmw. If you were in my shoes what would you do?

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    Replies
    1. Congrats on your current standing. I'd strike while the iron is hot with Rory. Play him. The only person that can beat McIlroy this week is McIlroy. I'd save Furyk, as his length could prove problematic.

      Best of luck!

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    Match Info-
    Aug 7 - Aug 10 , 2014, PGA Championship Live
    Purse: $10,000,000
    Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville, KY
    Defending Champion : mythical being Dufner

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