After a fun WGC at Firestone, it’s finally time for golf’s final major, the PGA Championship. The first three majors were all terrific starting with The Masters where Jordan Spieth tied Tiger Woods’ record score.
Then, we had a great U.S. Open at a course that was hardly known in Chambers Bay. Jordan would also win this also but Dustin Johnson had a good shot to pull it off or at least send it into a playoff but lost with a three putt.
Then, there was the Open Championship where guys like Spieth, Jason Day and Johnson were all in the mix. There were even a few amateurs who played some extroidinary golf at St. Andrews.
Zach Johnson ultimately defeated Marc Lieshman and 2010 Open winner Louis Oosthuizen in a playoff for his second major title and a potential ticket into the Hall of Fame.
Now, here we are. At the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, a course that hosted a very memorable one back in 2010.
Martin Kaymer defeated Bubba Watson, who was just two years away from his first major at The Masters in 2012. Watson would go on and win another Masters in 2014 while Kaymer would go on to win a Players Championship as well as a U.S. Open in dominating fashion.
Obviously though, that PGA Championship was infamous thanks to a penalty by Dustin Johnson where he grounded his club in a bunker that he though was simply dirt or a waste area.
So how will things go this time around? We have a healthy Rory McIlroy, Jordan’s in, Martin’s back, Bubba has familiarity with the course, DJ’s played terrific and so has someone like Jason Day. So who’s going to pull it off at the PGA Championship at Pete Dye’s Whistling Straits this year?
I’m going to go with a new style when it comes to predictions in the majors. I’m going to go with a “fantasy golf” style to kinda have some options and to create somewhat of a “team” to look out for rather than just one sepcific player.
Plus, fantasy golf is rapidly growing in popularity and is a ton of fun although I haven’t played in at least six years but it was fun when I did it.
So, I’ll choose four “starters” who I think will have the best chance at Whistling Straits. Then, I’ll have two golfers on the reserve who I think can hold their own, but won’t make the same impact as the four starters.
You can get involved as well and pick your four starters and two reserves. This is a prediction format I plan to stick with for all four majors next year (Sometimes I miss a prediction piece, like I did with the U.S. Open this year).
OK so here are my four starters for this year’s PGA (Note: You don’t have to write descriptions with your picks. You can just throw some names out there).
Jordan Spieth – Of course I had to start with the dude who’s having an unbelievable season for a 21/22 year-old. How can you not?
He won The Masters tying Tiger Woods’ 1997 record of -18 and pretty much blew away the rest of the field that featured a strong leaderboard in the top 10 that included Dustin Johnson, Zach Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy Justin Rose and Charley “Chuck” Hoffman among others. Then he goes on to win the U.S. Open for a second striaght major.
Finally, he nearly gets into the playoff at The Open Championship with Zach Johnson, Marc Lieshman and Louis Oothuizen and had a good chance to win that as well. This, just a week after he had won the John Deere Classic for the second time against Tom Gillis who was on the hot sauce that week hitting almost all his fairways and greens.
He’s the hottest player on the planet with arguably the hottest putter and will potentially do wonders for him at Whistling Straits. Pete “The Picasso of Golf Design” Dye’s tracks are intimidating but not for this dude who I call the “Texas Microwave”.
Bubba Watson – Ahhh, good ol’ Bubba. Love him or hate him, he’s one of the most exciting players in golf on and off the course. I think he’s a guy that you really wanna like because he’s such a fun player but his personality can definitely get in the way.
I see Bubba as a guy who is going to win at least two more Masters and that’s about it. Have kind of a Jimmy Demaret like career (Jimmy never won any other major other than The Masters where he won three times. That’s why he’s such a popular figure in Masters history not to mention his famous personality).
He’s almost invisible in the other three majors (U.S. Open, Open Championship and PGA Championship).
So why did I choose Bubba as a starter for the PGA this year you ask? Because Whistling Straits is one course that he can play some great golf on.
As mentioned, he went into the playoff with Martin Kaymer at the PGA five years ago and almost won it too. This, like I said was before he became known as the two-time Masters champ he is today.
Yes, I understand there were more bunkers added, but Bubba is one of great recovery players in the game and likely won’t phase the guy.
He’s also having a great season, winning twice and was runner-up in back to back weeks at the RBC Canadian Open and the WGC-Bridgestone. He also has seven top-10 finishes this year as well.
He possesses two great skills that could really help him on hazard infested course like Whislting Straits. Power and recovery.
He can overpower some of the par-4’s on the course and even if he hits the sandy dunes, he can hit recovery shots with brute force. If his putting could click, then that’s when he can really start to light up like a fire cracker.
If he can hang on and stay in the top five on Sunday, he can make a run. And if he gets into a playoff then forget about it because he’s extremely dangerous in playoffs (An impressive 5-1 record. Only loss? To Martin Kaymer at the PGA five years ago).
He tends to hit the right shots at the right time but only when he’s playing well early. He has start hot because he tends to fall off.
If he does win this PGA, then I have a feeling that he won’t win another major other than a couple more Masters as I said and that’s not too shabby at all!
But I’m sure the number three ranked golfer in the world would like nothing better then to seek a little revenge on the Straits Course in Sheboygan, WI (SheeeeBOYGAN! Yes, you have to scream that).
Jason Day – Jaydee is really one of the cool guys in the sport and fans love him and how can you not? But it seems that he’s kinda mirrored the career of Dustin Johnson, who has come so close to winning majors but just couldn’t quite do it.
Obviously, DJ’s losses in majors were far worse than Jaydee’s. However, he’s still one of the best players in the world and he’s had a terrific season in regards to making noise in the majors, specifically the U.S. Open and Open Championship.
Although we’ve seen him in contention in majors before such as the famous 2011 Masters where Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy shared the lead and Rory infamously fell apart on Sunday while Martin Kaymer who was the world number one at the time, missed the cut.
Charl Schwartzel ended up winning and Jason finished tied for second. This, just a year after Phil Mickelson’s triumphant victory there.
Jason, as I said before, is one of the three or four best players in the world from a skills standpoint. He has virtually no weaknesses other than driving accuracy.
He’s an absolute bomber off the tee. Only Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson have more power.
Combine that with a solid amount of other skills and you have one of the most deadly players in the world. However, for Jason, it’s all about getting hot at the right time and being clutch down the stretch.
Guys like Spieth and Watson win at the rate they do because they can close. They either keep their Sunday leads or they catch the guy who is winning.
They know how to shut the door when necessary. They also know when to be clutch.
Rickie Fowler is also starting to become one of those players.
So for Jaydee, it’s all about getting hot at the right time. He’s already got two solid major performances under his belt and I think he’s ready for an encore.
Fresh off of a win at the RBC, I definitely can see Jason making some “major” noise at this year’s PGA. Guy’s no joke and he’s a player to really look out for this week.
Martin Kaymer – I know, I know, he was the last guy to win the PGA at Straits. But that’s not the main reason why I chose him.
Martin Kaymer is coming off his best season ever, winning both the Players Championship and U.S. Open in impressive fashion. The European Tour star is a player who tends to shine the brightest when the stages are the biggest.
He only has three PGA Tour wins. Those wins? PGA Championship, Players Championship and U.S. Open.
Not too bad. It’s meh, okay I guess but not too bad (Obvious sarcasm).
He also knows how the shut the door down. Martin is a combined 4-1 in playoffs on both the European and PGA Tours.
He’s certainly not going to “wow” you with overpowering drives or jaw dropping recovery shots like Watson, but he has one skill that has helped him win the three huge tourneys he’s won. That skill my friend is “putting”.
The flat stick wins tournaments. Period.
As long as you can ignite it at the right time, then majors will be won. Sure, there are great putters on Tour who haven’t won majors but their putters never got hot at the right time like Kaymer, Spieth or McIlroy’s have.
Which again goes back to being clutch and a closer.
Martin is clearly all of those things. We just don’t see him all of the time on the PGA Tour.
He’s capable of taking down any course and any player on any given Sunday. If his putter is a hot tamale, he’s going to likely destroy everything in his path which is no fun for other players.
He just seems to have a tough time at Augusta at The Masters but there are many European Tour players who struggle at Augusta. But the fact that he won the PGA at Straits before just makes it that much tougher for the field.
We saw Louis Oosthuizen almost defend his St. Andrews Open Championship title (Last time the Open was at St. Andrews was 2010 in which Louis won) this year. So don’t be shocked if Martin Kaymer makes another run at the PGA Championship and shows the world why he’s one of the game’s most dangerous players.
Jimmy Walker – Doesn’t it always seem like we talk about J-Walk in these predictions?
Well, there’s a reason why I pick him yet again. He’s still the game’s hottest putter.
Guy’s deadeye with the flatstick. He’s a winner as well but he can never breakthrough in a major.
However, PGA Championships tend to favor a guy like Jimmy. Three of the last five winners of the PGA Championship never had won a major prior and when Rory won in 2012, he only had one major under his belt at the 2011 U.S. Open.
Plus, he finished in the top-10 in three of the four majors in 2014 (Only one he finished outside was at The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool).
Jimmy’s on his way to a terrific PGA Tour career if he stays on the pace he’s at. He’s just missing a major but he’ll definitely get his.
It’s just only a matter of time and I think the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits is a great opportunity for him.
He has the world’s most ferocious putter, he just needs to heat it up on Sunday (If in contention).
Fans that yell out random things – Ha, just kidding.
Gary Woodland – To be honest, this was a tough choice between Gary and Charley Hoffman who have both played some solid golf this year.
Gary is known for both his power and his incredible short putting. He’s more under the radar than Chuck Hoffman is and this can give him the chance to pull off a sneak attack and shine at the PGA Championship.
Gary almost won the WGC-Match Play and beat some of the game’s best but ultimately lost to Rory McIlroy. He’s also had four top-10 finishes to his credit this year which is fairly solid.
Although he dropped in ranking when it comes to short putting, he’s still one of the best in the business and tends to avoid three putting. He’s a long hitter who’s good from close distances.
He’s one of the best scramblers from 10 yards out. Combine that with his great short putting and driving distance and you have a recipe for success.
As mentioned, the PGA Championship is where guys you may have never heard of, come out and shine. Gary is certainly one of those guys and if he can be dialed in with his irons and wedges then he’ll finish strong.
So there you have it! The first Fantasy Golf at the Majors is complete!
Last year’s PGA Championship was very exciting and this year’s will likely be no different. Really looking forward to this one and I hope you are as well!
I also had fun making this picks for you and look forward to another fantasy style prediction article at The Masters next year!
Feel free to tweet your picks to me @ChiGolfRadio! Now, excuse me while I sail over to Whistling Straits and be a pirate (Again). YAR!
Colin GP Mieczkowski
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