The 2021 US PGA Championship
The Ocean Course, Kiawah Island
All 4 days reside on Sky Sports
The US PGA Championship has at all times been seen because the least prestigious of the 4 main championships and being staged in August, because the PGA Tour season drew to a detailed, and after the opposite three had all been performed, actually did not assist.
A change within the schedule in 2019 noticed the championship transfer to May, in-between the primary main, the US Masters (which I’ve checked out right here), and the third, the US Open, and that had the specified impact. It felt like a extra necessary occasion and having been the primary of three majors final 12 months, after the rescheduling as a result of pandemic, the US PGA Championship returns to it is new May slot subsequent 12 months and to a venue used solely as soon as earlier than – the Ocean Course, Kiawah Island, in South Carolina.
Rory McIlroy gained the one earlier version held right here, in 2012, simply by eight strokes, a bit over a 12 months after he’d gained his first main, the US Open, by the identical margin. At in extra of seven,600 yards, the Ocean Course is lengthy so it was maybe not shocking that no one hit it additional than Rory off the tee however we will not simply indiscriminately dismiss all of the quick hitters. Rory could have ranked first for Driving Distance however he was the one participant within the top-ten to rank any higher than fifteenth for DD, the runner-up, David Lynn, solely ranked 54th for DD and Ian Poulter, who completed tied third, ranked 53rd so size was hardly crucial. McIlroy additionally ranked first for Scrambling and Lynn ranked fourth.
Although he’d been an enormous outsider, Sweden’s Carl Pettersson, who completed tied third, having been Rory’s closest challenger with a spherical to go, had marketed his suitability to the venue earlier within the 12 months when he romped to a five-stroke victory at one other Pete Dye designed South Carolina course – Harbour Town.
Pettersson wasn’t the one contender with kind at Harbour Town in order that’s an angle in to contemplate and it was additionally noticeable what number of effective hyperlinks exponents and Europeans contended. As many as 5 of the primary six have been European and Welshman, Jamie Donaldson, completed tied for seventh alongside Sweden’s Peter Hanson and American duo, Blake Adams and Steve Stricker.
In addition to contemplating kind within the Carolinas and at hyperlinks venues, a capability to play within the wind is prone to show an asset once more. It’s an uncovered venue and when the wind will get up so does the scoring. Vijay Singh was the one participant to interrupt 70 in spherical two when the scoring averaged a whooping 78.09 so how the course performs could be very a lot climate dependant, though it is no pushover regardless of the climate…
There have been a number of rounds of 66 all through the week however Korea’s Noh Seung-yul’s 65 on Sunday was the bottom witnessed and that brings up one other angle in. Noh’s solely European Tour win so far was the 2010 Malaysian Open on the Kuala Lumper Country Club when the course was laid solely to Paspalum grass. Very few venues are Paspalum however the Ocean Course is and so too are the venues used for the Corales Puntacana Championship, the Puerto Rico Open and the current Mayakoba Golf Classic on the PGA Tour.
Form in any of these occasions could also be noteworthy.
Given that angle in, Viktor Hovland, who gained the final version of the Puerto Rico Open in addition to the Mayakoba Golf Classic a few weeks in the past is a really apparent candidate at an honest sufficient value at 50.049/1, with only one slight concern. As highlighted within the Mayakoba debrief, Hovland’s solely weak spot is his scrambling across the inexperienced so the truth that the primary two house right here in 2012 ranked first and fourth for Scrambling is a small fear.
Closer to the pinnacle of the market, I actually like Jon Rahm however he is priced up appropriately at 12/1. I’m joyful to depart him out at this stage however one which does curiosity me at an enormous value is South Africa’s Branden Grace.
He’s a terrific wind and hyperlinks exponent and a winner of the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town.
And like all South African’s he grew up enjoying on Paspalum. He’s had a quiet sufficient 12 months however he did win his nationwide title in January and he completed the 12 months with an attention-grabbing efficiency in Dubai.
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