In 2019, the USPGA was moved from August to a brand new May date, turning into the second main of the 12 months.
However, the rescheduling of golf’s calendar due to the COVID-19 pandemic meant it returned to an August slot in 2020 though on that event it was performed as the opening main of the season – and with out followers.
Thankfully, with the schedule returning to regular, the May date returns. Fans, though restricted in quantity, are additionally again whereas the event takes place at a well-recognized venue which is at all times a lift for followers after all type.
Kiawah Island is greatest recognized for its staging of the 1991 Ryder Cup – the notorious ‘War on the Shore’ when the United States received again the trophy after Bernhard Langer missed a six-foot putt on the closing inexperienced to safe a tie.
Langer being Langer received the week after whereas extra historical past was created at Kiawah Island 9 years in the past when it staged the 2012 USPGA.
That event was received by a rampant Rory McIlory, who powered to an eight-shot victory.
2021 USPGA Championship details
When: May 20-23
Where: Kiawah Island Golf Resort, South Carolina
The Course: Ocean Course, Par 72, 7,848 yards
Total Prize Money: $11 million
Winner Prize Money: $1.980 million
How to watch: All 4 days on Sky Sports. South Carolina time is 5 hours behind UK
The Ocean Course, Kiawah Island
This is what the official web site says: “Strong breezes from the Atlantic, a links-style layout, Paspalum grasses, and jaw-dropping ocean views create a remarkable playing experience. Pete Dye designed the course in 1991 for that year’s Ryder Cup event. Originally designed to sit behind the sand dunes, it was Pete Dye’s wife, Alice, who recommended raising the course’s level. This way, ocean views could be enjoyed from every hole.”
Paspalum is one in every of the standout phrases there. It’s additionally used at the Mayakoba Golf Classic at El Camaleon, the Corales Puntacana in the Dominican Republic and the Puerto Rico Open.
That’s excellent news for Viktor Hovland. The Norwegian’s two PGA Tour wins got here in 2020 at Mayakoba and Puerto Rico.
Some latest type from these Paspalum occasions is value a glance:
2021 Corales Puntacana: -12 Joel Dahmen, -11 Sam Ryder, Rafael Campos, -10 Graeme McDowell, Michael Gligic, -9 Hudson Swafford, Emiliano Grillo, -8 Danny Willett
2021 Puerto Rico Open: -19 Branden Grace, -18 Jhonattan Vegas, -16 Grayson Murray, Rafael Campos, -15 Brice Garnett, Andrew Putnam, -14 Rob Oppenheim, Brandon Wu, Ted Potter, Jr, Cameron Percy
2020 Mayakoba: -20 Viktor Hovland, -19 Aaron Wise, -17 Adam Long, Tom Hoge, -16 Harris English, Billy Horschel, Lucas Glover, -15 Brendon Todd, Tony Finau, Carlos Ortiz, Emiliano Grillo
2012 USPGA at Kiawah Island
While Rory dominated the 2012 USPGA, the different large takeaway when wanting at the closing leaderboard was how properly the European contingent carried out: and never simply the main ones.
-13 Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland)
-5 David Lynn (England)
-4 Keegan Bradley (USA), Carl Pettersson (Sweden), Ian Poulter (England), Justin Rose (England)
-3 Blake Adams (USA), Jamie Donaldson (Wales), Peter Hanson (Sweden), Steve Stricker (USA)
The breakdown of these 10 gamers is seven gamers from Northern Europe and three from the United States.
Okay, it is one 12 months of proof however do the cooler, coastal, linksy circumstances go well with these from Northern Europe?
Perhaps in opposition to that’s wanting at who fared greatest at the 1991 Ryder Cup.
1991 Ryder Cup – Top European scorers
4.5pts Seve Ballesteros
3.5pts Jose Maria Olazabal
2pts Paul Broadhurst, Mark James
Okay, the two Spaniards had been nice anyplace a Ryder Cup was performed. Two Open varieties in James and Broadhurst performing strongly maybe provides to the concept that English gamers specifically do properly there.
Kiawah Island – What They Say
Collin Morikawa: (after the USPGA Media Day final month) “I think it’s definitely a ball striker’s course. You have to be able to control your ball. You have to be able to flight different shots, work it left to right, right to left, and that kind of suits me. Greens are pretty small, but man, talk about that back nine, starting from hole 9 and on, it’s a very good finishing stretch of golf, especially with the wind, the way it picked up. You’re going to be tested on every shot.
“I used to be hitting a bunch of 6-, 5-, 4-irons into greens, even had a pair 5-woods. Yeah, you actually cannot get lazy on any of those pictures. You cannot take something without any consideration as a result of it will chew you in the butt for certain.”
Quotes from the 2012 PGA Championship
Justin Rose: “I believe this course fits taking part in good. I believe the greens are flatter in the center than they’re round the edges.”
Graeme McDowell: “I actually was good on the greens immediately. I learn them properly. They’re an attractive floor. This paspalum is gorgeous to hit your irons off of, stunning to chip on. The par‑3s play robust on this golf course. That’s actually one in every of the large keys to this golf course is taking part in the par‑5s aggressively and taking part in the par‑3s properly. There actually is sort of a pleasant stability of par‑4s, some powerful ones and a few simple ones. The 3s and the 5s are key.”
Rory McIlroy: “The Ocean Course right here at Kiawah performs a lot totally different to any hyperlinks course again dwelling, simply because the kind of grass it’s and the circumstances we had this week. Obviously if it was agency, it will have been a totally totally different take a look at. But as a result of it was so mushy and totally different grass, paspalum greens, the entire factor simply performed slightly in another way. But surroundings‑clever, it’s extremely comparable with the ocean and the sand, the seashore and the dunes and every thing. Maybe jogged my memory slightly little bit of dwelling in some methods.”
Current betting and storylines
There’s a feeling that this year’s event is completely wide open.
World No.1 Dustin Johnson continues to search for his best form and was a modest tied 48th here in 2012, finishing at 5-over. He remains favourite at 15.014/1, as only joint.
Justin Thomas is other joint favourite at 15.014/1 but looks to be suffering a slight Masters hangover after two rounds of the current Valspar Championship.
Jon Rahm finished fast at Augusta and is now enjoying being a Dad for the first time. The Spaniard has plenty of good performances by the coast and is 16.015/1 to land his first major.
Rory McIlroy will hope to summon up some of the magic from 2012. He went into that event as the World No.3 and coming off a T5 in the WGC-Bridgestone. He’s 23.022/1 for a repeat, a reflection of his poor recent form which resulted in a missed cut at Augusta.
As for the defending champion, Collin Morikawa, he’s 36.035/1 to follow up his win at Harding Park. Brooks Koepka, currently 30.029/1 won back-to-back USPGAs in 2018 and 2019 so there is a very recent historical precedent. Tiger Woods won in consecutive years twice (1999/2000 and 2006/2007).
Monster-hitting Bryson DeChambeau is 18.017/1 to win his second major while Paspalum specialist Viktor Hovland is bound to attract interest at 44.043/1.
I’ll have a guess at these odds.