PGA Championship Preview - @fordysgolftips
Major Golf returns
We are back, and it just has about the right excitement for us to go again. I’m so pro the decision they made years ago to have this major here in May, it makes so much sense and I feel everyone is ready for the best field in the world to go get it again at the PGA Championship.
As I did with Augusta and The Masters, I’m going to try and keep this light and fun to read and not one of those typical write ups for a Major. Golf is actually in a place right now many didn’t think it would be and I feel the performance of the LIV guys at Augusta, has been one of the factors that this week excites so many people. There are some real realistic chances this week for Brooks, DJ and Cam Smith to really put a show and give this field some serious zous into this major championship. That’s not without forgetting how brutal this New York crowd are going to get stuck into Mickelson and Reed, sets up for one hell of a week.
I also have this feel with some new up and coming Europeans now gaining some special temporary memberships on the PGA Tour, and the elevated events bringing us more top level golf more often, we are in a place nobody really could of predicted.
What Oak Hill is giving us….
Instead of giving you the numbers, I’m just going to speak from the hip.
I’ve had a real good look at this course for over a month now and I’ve come up with about 10 different conclusions every time. Either way, wherever my conclusion lands today as we enter major week, what we’ve got, and I can guarantee you this, Oak Hill is a course that is going to look incredible on TV and even better if you are lucky enough to be there in person.
Oak Hill is a Donald Ross design, which lost its authenticity since it last held a major here in 2013. There have been some redesigns recently and they’ve got rid of a lot of trees and really emphasised the greens, which all seem to slope from back to front. It’s long but its not Bethpage Black long, but what this east course does well, is it makes the hardest holes really hard, and the easiest holes very gettable and that sets up really well for us as punters.
There are mixes of lots of different Major courses from the past, so I don’t want to try and compare but my take on the profile, fits with, fairways being narrow, creeks are placed perfectly at 300 yards and the bunkers are big, deep and can be found all over. There is absolutely no doubt the leader board this week will be spilt between those who have avoided the rough and the bunkers and those who continually finding fairways and greens in all the right places. It’s Par 70, and for 7,400 yards that’s long, it leaves us with only 10 par 4’s, and with two really long par 3’s and not that reachable par 5’s; we definitely will see a lot of long irons and the golfers that have the length, still having to be careful when they are taking driver or not off the tee.
Greens are bentgrass, but there is not much more to add on the agronomy, you have to putt well here, of course you do, it’s a major championship, but putting I feel will level out across the week and unless you are leaving yourself downhill putts every hole, then you are going to get stuck. Trying to explain that in dummy terms, what I’m seeing is your issues are speeds rather than when your turning up at like an Augusta and the slopes left and right, are just as severe as up and down.
In summary, Oak Hill looks lovely, but will be brutal for those who don’t play it right. Yes you need to be long, but you don’t wanna be long, stuck in the rough and then having to face a putt that may fall off the front of the green. Avoid the bunkers, avoid the creeks, and take the 3 metal as well as the 5 metal, you’ll need it.
Before I wrap this part up, just quickly mentioning the weather, rain has come as you would expect leading up to an event in the north west of the US in May, but I don’t see it having a huge impact on the week. It’s going to get wet on Saturday but the course is softer that what you would find on the west coast anyway. I expect the fairways won’t run out and the sub air systems on the greens will continue with the firm and fast theme we see nearly every week now on tour. Wind gusts could be anything between 5 and 25, again not something you wouldn’t expect in New York, just simply, it will suit some guys more than others and that’s important to factor in rather than looking at a looming rainstorm.
PGA Championship Winners: 2022: Justin Thomas (-6); 2021: Phil Mickelson (-6); 2020: Collin Morikawa (-13); 2019: Brooks Koepka (-8); 2018: Brooks Koepka (-16); 2017: Justin Thomas (-8); 2016: Jimmy Walker (-14); 2015: Jason Day (-20); 2014: Rory McIlroy (-16); 2013: Jason Dufner (-10); 2012: Rory McIlroy (-13); 2011: Keegan Bradley (-8); 2010: Martin Kaymer (-11); 2009: Y.E. Yang (-8).
What we can take from Oak Hill…
What I’ve really taken from all my research in the last month or so, the test the USPGA have set up has put a real emphasis on all assets of your game. This is going to test every single part of you, and if you are not there for one of those parts of your game, you are just not going to win. You cannot get round Oak Hill losing strokes around the green but gaining everything else, you cannot get round bombing it off the tee but then not hitting it straight. Basically the guy that wins this week, has probably played one of the most boring consistent four rounds, something we are not always used to with major championships.
With all that being said, there are still some main aspects of how I’ve focussed my model for the week and there are quite a few aspects of how I’ve weighted stats more than others. Long Irons, undoubtedly take a real focus on the week. Par 3 third will be 230 into wind nearly every day and likewise Par 3 11th (245 yards) is going to set apart the boys from the men. Also out of the 10 par 4’s we have here, 7 of them are above 450 yards, so second shots into greens for the majority of the week, we are looking at 175+. Players in that ballpark that are bound to come up in most models are; Finau, Xander, Rahm, Hoge, Woodland, Im, Kim, Morikawa.
I also want to separate the golfers that are good out of the rough and have got their distances correct. There is no way, you are not going to find yourself in trouble throughout the tournament, so experience playing well getting up and down from around the green, getting your yardages right and saving par are all ties that need to be across your models. Birdie or better %, Scrambling, Bogey avoidance, distance to apex, greens in regulation, all aspects that will be hugely critical on the week.
My biggest factor and the way I’m going to start my card, tailor my draftkings line ups, sort out which props are going to keep me in the red; is those golfers who are most comfortable with going for the green and those of which recently are landing it close and in the right spots. Players you can rely on 9 times out of 10 and those types of players I can see doing this the best are; Scott, Fleetwood, Finau, Rahm, Im, Todd, Cantlay, Hatton. That of course is without having the mental game. You will see plenty of these players performing in lesser fields and put up numbers that can really excite you, but do not underestimate what it takes to become a major champion, because this week not even a Rory McIlroy has the mental game to win this.
How I’ve made up the model this week;
Major championship form
SG : Off the Tee
SG : Approach
Par 3 performance
Distance to Apex
Green in Reg
Prox. to Hole
Top 25 players in the model and my thoughts on each:
1 Jon Rahm 15/2
Brings his A game and B game with a hot putter and he wins, simple
2 Scottie Scheffler 15/2
Few concerns with long irons, but best in the world with a wedge, price to low to back, but turns up in these events now without fail
3 Tony Finau 25/1
Best approach on tour past 200 yards, course suits, some punters still doubt his getting it done in a major form, for me its him or Xander based on their approach play
4 Dustin Johnson 25/1
Funnily enough, when I saw him price at 60/1 before he won last week I was very close, much like how we all felt with Brooks before Masters, but I just don’t know enough how his game compares to the rest
5 Patrick Cantlay 22/1
If he was likeable he’d be the first guy on my card, but I wouldn’t even enjoy him winning if it gave me financial security for 20 years, annoying because he has the game, concerns on getting it done
6 Sungjae Im 33/1
Let me know too many times already this year, has the approach game, is he prepared well enough?
7 Brooks Koepka 20/1
If there is a LIV guy that’s going to prove a point its brooks, turns up in majors, hits is long and showed at Augusta that he still can compete
8 Tom Kim 80/1
Putter is cold, great long irons hence why he’s high on the model, but may struggle with length anyway
9 Collin Morikawa 30/1
Under the radar, good price if you like him, doesn’t stack up length wise and hasn’t showed enough again with the putter
10 Jordan L Smith 400/1
Here because of his length, not sure he can compete with the best
11 Xander Schauffele 22/1
Surprised how low he is on this model, suits this course, will be many people’s picks, due a major, has the all round game for this, hard to ignore
12 Jason Day 25/1
Back to back after nothing for 6 years for will be phenomenal, will he have the gas to last the whole week after last week, im not sure
13 Justin Rose 100/1
Will be part of my card in some way, one of the only older generation that still manages to prop up on these major leaderboards, worries about the length but carries weight in everything else
14 SiWoo Kim 90/1
15 Bryson DeChambeau 90/1
16 Joaquin Niemann 90/1
17 Rory McIlroy 12/1
Needs no introduction, came here 6 months ago he probably wins, price still to low to even risk it, seems shot to bits mentally
18 Adam Hadwin 200/1
19 J.J Spaun 250/1
20 Abraham Ancer 150/1
21 Matthew Fitzpatrick 28/1
Surprisingly under the radar after his masterclass at RBC Heritage, hits it long enough, won’t be surprised if he’s thereabouts on sunday
22 Wyndham Clark 80/1
Been the bridesmaid too many times, but the price in his form is eye opening
23 Thorbjorn Olesen 300/1
Of the DP World tour collection, suits this as much as a Fox or Meronk, playing last week is a negative
24 Brendan Steele 250/1
25 Viktor Hovland 28/1
Another weirdly under the radar pick and price, if you think you can avoid the short game and the bogey percentages he has a good a chance than anyone above
So, lots of information to go on, more than I thought I would have to be honest, I’m expecting the winning score to get to double digits, I think it will play a little easier than some people may think. The greens are firm and they will have some really tough pin positions I’m sure, but I’m laying out my picks based on a few low scoring rounds those who bring their A game, and hopefully all of those are my picks below! I hope I have at the very least helped with some of your plays and given you some hinters that you may not have found anywhere else.
As always if you want to be part of my weekly fantasy competition, look out for my updates on my twitter and my site www.drawshankgolf.com.
Please visit @GolfTipsChecker for Andy’s weekly charts and look out for my full card across my twitter @fordysgolfpicks. Good luck to you all.
Tony Finau – 25/1 2pt Win
It’s simple, this guy from anything around 200 yards is the best in the field. Hits it long and straight, great numbers around the green, no issues saving pars and one of the best Tee to Green, nearly went Xander but this just feels like Tony’s time.
Brooks Koepka - 28/1 2pt Win
Brooks turns up the heat when he wants to turn it up. Everything I’ve seen and heard from him in the last 6 months suggests he’s reaching the form of when he won this major two years on the bounce at a canter, at these odds, stupid if he’s not on your card.
Max Homa - 40/1 1pt E/W (8 Places)
If there is going to be a time when Max is going to prove doubters wrong it’s a place like Oak Hill. We seen earlier in the season he can compete with the likes of Rahm and I think Oak Hill suits Homa more than where everyone is suggesting at LACC later in the season. Best in the field at Par 3’s, and when his putter is hot, he can shoot low ones.
Rickie Fowler - 66/1 1pt E/W (8 Places)
Very late addition to the card, I nearly went with his mate Wyndy Clark after his performance at Wells Fargo. However Rickie, AKA big dick Rick, has numbers that are mind blowing. There are only 10 better Tee to green, 5 better on approach and his total driving efficiency is only bettered by Bradley, ZJ, Harman, Walker, a bunch of guys who don’t hit it anywhere near as far. The return of the orange king is near.
Adam Scott – 80/1 1pt E/W (8 Places)
Adam Scott, as many know, has the most beautiful swing in golf, and that brings consistent golf. Some of his form in the last few weeks has been eye catching and he’s now made 18 cuts in a row, for 80/1 that is mesmirising. Birdie or better % is as good as Rahm and only Lucas Herbert has made more putts than him from 10 feet. Play the Aussie at all costs.
Gary Woodland – 85/1 1pt E/W (8 Places)
Will be popular this week, mainly because of his long irons and big hitting. His scrambling stats are very good, his total driving is very good and if he has a gain with the putter this week on a surface he’s better on, we could be looking at a big payout.
Justin Rose – 100/1 .5 E/W (8 Places)
I’ve picked the former world no1 based on the fact he’s already won this year for the first time in 4 years and that’s a trend worth keeping an eye on. Comfortable top 20 at The Masters and is the type of golfer who can turn up with his all round game and grind out a victory. If Rose was 60/1 I still think I would have him on my card, says it all really.