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BlogPGA Preview and Picks UPDATED on Wednesday

PGA Championship

August 7 – 10, 2014

Valhalla Golf Club

Louisville, Ky.

Par: 71 / Yardage: 7,458

Purse: $10 million

with $1.8 million to the winner

Defending Champion:
Jason Dufner

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

As of right now at 4pm on Wednesday, it looks like 109 of the top-110 of the World Rankings will play.  It would make it the best field of the years and historically one of the best.  The only difference in the field is that David Toms withdrew and was replaced by Shawn Stefani, who is 125th in the World Rankings.  As for top-25 in both the FedEx Cup race and PGA Tour money race it’s 24 of 25 without Dustin Johnson.

UPDATE on Thursday: With Matt Kuchar withdrawing on Thursday morning before teeing off, the field only has 98 of the top-100 so this year’s British Open had a better field.

As for David Toms he hurt his back at Reno and took cortisone shot on Monday.  He felt that it was best for him not to travel to Louisville because he is ranked 117th in the FedExCup playoff race and still can play at the Barclays.  He also is hoping to play next week at Wyndham.  Not playing this week ends an impressive streak of playing in 17 straight PGA Championships.  Making it even more impressive, since his win in 2001 in the past 14 PGA’s he has missed just one cut and been in the top-ten, four times.

Still 32 players that have won 38 of the PGA Tour events in 2014 will play, again Dustin Johnson winner this year not playing.

Lastly 12 past champions are in the field now with David Toms withdrawing.

As always nice to see who is favored by the top bookmakers in England and the top bookmaker in Las Vegas

Check back with us on Saturday and Sunday when we have our “who will win” feature.

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the PGA Championship

Player WGC Bridgestone Barracuda Champ. RBC Canadian Russian Open British Open John Deere Scottish Open The Greenbrier French Open Quicken Loans BMW Intern. Travelers Champ. Irish Open
Rory McIlroy
(482.67 pts)
Win
(198)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(264)
DNP T14
(24)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Sergio Garcia
(408.67 pts)
2
(150)
DNP DNP DNP T2
(200)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T12
(25.33)
T2
(33.33)
DNP
Justin Rose
(350 pts)
T4
(120)
DNP DNP DNP T23
(54)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP
Graeme McDowell
(318 pts)
T8
(75)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP T9
(90)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(20)
Marc Leishman
(314.67 pts)
3
(135)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(140)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP T11
(13)
DNP
Jim Furyk
(312.5 pts)
T15
(52.5)
DNP 2
(100)
DNP 4
(160)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Rickie Fowler
(308.33 pts)
T8
(75)
DNP DNP DNP T2
(200)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Charl Schwartzel
(237 pts)
T4
(120)
DNP T43
(7)
DNP T7
(110)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Keegan Bradley
(235 pts)
T4
(120)
DNP DNP DNP T19
(62)
DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T31
(6.33)
DNP
Adam Scott
(215 pts)
T8
(75)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(140)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Ryan Moore
(211 pts)
T8
(75)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(76)
T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T5
(23.33)
DNP
Angel Cabrera
(208.83 pts)
T31
(28.5)
DNP DNP DNP T19
(62)
DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP T24
(17.33)
DNP T11
(13)
DNP
Robert Karlsson
(183.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T12
(76)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP 4
(53.33)
DNP T22
(18.67)
DNP T44
(2)
Tim Clark
(170.17 pts)
T50
(1.5)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Fabrizio Zanotti
(166 pts)
T26
(36)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T59
(0)
DNP T9
(30)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP T14
(12)
Shane Lowry
(165.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T9
(90)
DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Stephen Gallacher
(145.83 pts)
T47
(4.5)
DNP DNP DNP T15
(70)
DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Thomas Bjorn
(144.5 pts)
T15
(52.5)
DNP DNP DNP T26
(48)
DNP T24
(17.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP
Matt Kuchar
(143.33 pts)
T12
(57)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP T54
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T31
(6.33)
DNP
Edoardo Molinari
(140 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T7
(110)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T35
(10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP 2
(33.33)
Patrick Reed
(138.67 pts)
T4
(120)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP T26
(16)
DNP T11
(26)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Thongchai Jaidee
(136.67 pts)
T52
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T39
(22)
DNP T48
(1.33)
DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP DNP
Henrik Stenson
(135.17 pts)
T19
(46.5)
DNP DNP DNP T39
(22)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP
Francesco Molinari
(133.17 pts)
T31
(28.5)
DNP DNP DNP T15
(70)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T26
(16)
DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP DNP
Phil Mickelson
(132.5 pts)
T15
(52.5)
DNP DNP DNP T23
(54)
DNP T11
(26)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the PGA Championship

Player WGC Bridgestone Barracuda Champ. RBC Canadian Russian Open British Open John Deere Scottish Open The Greenbrier French Open Quicken Loans BMW Intern. Travelers Champ. Irish Open
Y.E. Yang
(-51.67 pts)
DNP DQ
(-5)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
John Daly
(-40 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP T79
(0)
DNP DNP T66
(0)
T57
(0)
DNP
Chesson Hadley
(-36.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Richard Sterne
(-26.67 pts)
T58
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T56
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Anirban Lahiri
(-26.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Boo Weekley
(-26.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Ian Poulter
(-26.67 pts)
T52
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Pat Perez
(-23.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T75
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Ryo Ishikawa
(-23.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Kiradech Aphibarnrat
(-22 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T43
(4.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Tiger, Tiger and more Tiger:

Sorry, simply amazing how Tiger looked like a cripple on Sunday with half his body on a surgeon’s operating table and 72 hours later he was strolling out of his Mercedes courtesy car looking like he was about to do a marathon.  Gosh, wish I could afford to find the therapist that was able to put him back together.

It was like breaking news, the Golf Channel was all over Tiger’s arrival, hitting balls on the range and playing the first couple of holes.  In watching him on the range, he looked fit and nothing to show that he had back spasms just three days ago.

Lot’s of speculation on what is up with Tiger but the bottom line is that all of a sudden between 5 to 7,000 people appeared to watch Tiger practiced.  He played with Steve Stricker, Davis Love III and Harris English, they went nine holes.  Tiger had one of his “forced” news conference in which the highlight was when someone asked him, “are you pain-free?”  Tiger responded, “Pain-free, yes, except for the headache of talking to you guys.”  Afterwards Tiger walked the back nine and did some chipping and putting.  Funny that Stricker was one of the players in Tiger’s group. An hour before they played at 2pm, Stricker was named by Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson as one of his three vice-captains.  So I guess that Stricker will have not only an inside view of Tiger’s game but hear what Tiger is feeling right now.

Now I won’t beat around the bush on Tiger, I wouldn’t bet a wooden nickel on him winning this week, or even a top-ten finish.  Matter of fact if I was a real gambler I would treat Tiger as a Wall Street broker would, short him on not making the cut this week.  I think the odds on him making the cut is 50-50 at best.

Enough on Tiger, let’s move on to others.

Steve Stricker:

First news on Stricker, looks like unless he wins this week this will be his last event of the year.  He is 122nd in the FedExCup race and made a joke that if he did get into the FedExCup and win it that he would miss the next two and play at the Tour Championship, hoping to win that and the whole series.  Guess the good folks in Ponte Vedra weren’t happy at those thoughts.

Duf-meister:

Another person that may not be playing much is defending champion Jason Dufner.  As we said in our Monday preview, he is playing despite two painful bulging discs.  Right now he is ninth in the Ryder Cup standings.  This is a goal for him, making the team.  He said that if he didn’t make the team, which consists of the top-nine after this week and then 3 wild card picks on September 2nd.  But Dufner said that if he doesn’t get one of the top-none spots this week that he will take six or eight weeks off to heal what he termed an “arthritic and degenerative” condition.  So here is another player to scratch off your PGA Championship list.

Sergio:

Now here is a player that many will put on their list of champions, I know that he was a top pick of mine, Sergio Garcia.  At the end of Bridgestone Sergio said that Valhalla wasn’t one of his favorite courses.  In looking it up, he was T-34th in 2000 and in the Ryder Cup in 2008 didn’t win a match, had two losses and two halves.  So maybe Valhalla isn’t Garcia’s cup of tea and should be eliminated this week?  In watching his press conference on Wednesday Garcia seemed very, very happy and positive.  He discounted his two loses to McIlroy in the British Open and Bridgestone and also back-tracked on his statement from Bridgestone saying, “I didn’t say I didn’t like it. I just said it’s not my favorite.”  So it’s a toss-up, Garcia is playing way too good not to play well this week.

Phil Mickelson:

Another of those guys that is hard to gauge.  He is well aware of his record on the tour this year, or should I say lack of top-tens.  He doesn’t want that to continue.  Despite his record he was positive saying that he was very disappointed after Saturday at Bridgestone, but feels very confident after his Sunday 62.  He said that “I feel a lot more confident in my game, and hopefully I can put together four good rounds instead of just two.”  So who knows, can Phil do it?  Probably not but you know he will try very hard.

Rory McIlroy:

Sorry but he reminds me of a Tornado barreling down on a community.  We have heard of EF5, the most powerful tornado know to man.  McIlroy is on that scale right now, I haven’t seen such a player with more confidence and game to back it up than Tiger in 2006 and ’07.  Rory is the favorite and at this moment of time I can’t see any reason for him not to win.

A longshot:

Many have said, gosh you haven’t picked Marc Leishman this summer, what’s the deal.  Frankly I was luke warm on him and then he missed the cut at Greenbrier.  Little did I know he would be T-5th at the British and 3rd at Bridgestone.  On top of that look at the history of the PGA Championship, it is littered with players like Leishman winning from Shaun Micheel to Rich Beem to Y.E. Yang to Martin Kaymer.  Gosh Mark Brooks was not very well know when he won at Valhalla in 1996, John Daly was a nobody in 1991.  Gosh even Phil Mickelson was looking to get off the major snide when he won the 2005 PGA.  Many are still shocked that Keegan Bradley, playing in his first major championship won in 2011.  The point is that the PGA Championship creates more mystery winners than any other major in golf.  With that said, watch out for Marc Leishman this week.

Lastly, the weather:

Since getting off the plane yesterday the weather has been overcast but fine.  Very surprise at the temperature, it wasn’t really hot and humid today.  In looking at the five day forecast the first two days will be tough in the afternoon with thunderstorms.  Friday is suppose to be 100% chance of rain, but the good news is that it’s going to be 78 degrees which means we could possibly not have thunder.  One bad thing, the front nine is on swamp land and tends to flood.  In 2004 when the Senior PGA was played here heavy storms caused the front nine to flood and it took a Hercules effort to get the course playable.  But the weekend is going to be nice, so our fingers are cross.

Who to watch for at the PGA Championship

Best Bets:

Rory McIlroy

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T8 Win T64 T3 T3

He has the eye of the Tiger, we haven’t seen this week to week intensity since Tiger nine years ago. Many will think that winning the Open three weeks ago and Bridgestone last week will be bad for Rory, it’s making him stronger. He had the perfect attitude and every time we saw him this week at Valhalla he was smiling. Look for a big smile from him on Sunday around 7:30.

Adam Scott

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T5 T11 7 T39 CUT CUT T12 T3 T40 T9 T23 T23

Just think he has played so good this summer and gotten nothing out of his game. He is a very good player in poor weather and I think he will handle the heat and humidity the best. Again putting will be his issue this week.

Marc Leishman

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T12 T27 T48

3rd at Bridgestone, T5th at the British and T-8th at Quicken all on good courses tells me that he could do the deed this week. Past PGA Championship winners are from the same clothe as Leishman, this is the type of major that allows players like him to win.

Best of the rest:

Justin Rose

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T33 T3 CUT CUT CUT T9 T12 T41 CUT CUT T23

He too is playing well and I can see some good things out of him. He was fourth at Bridgestone, something that was forgotten. Says he likes the course and is ready to go, you be the judge but look for good things from him.

Sergio Garcia

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T61 CUT T12 CUT CUT T2 WD T3 T23 CUT CUT T10

You would have to think that he can at least back into one of these majors and win? He is due for a victory, says the course is not his favorite, but the way he is playing he can do well on any course.

Jim Furyk

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
2 T42 T39 T24 T63 T29 CUT T29 T34 CUT T18 9

He also is having a great summer and just like Sergio is due to walk into a win. He just has that one problem of closing the deal, again only a matter of time when he wins by default.

Keegan Bradley

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T19 T3 Win

Watch him, his game is sharp, he has played well of last including a T-4th at Bridgestone. Also playing hard to make the Ryder Cup team.

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
First time playing in this event

Solid contenders

Rickie Fowler

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T19 CUT T51 T58

Has played the most consistent of anyone in majors and WGC events. How about his last two majors, 2nd at both the U.S. Open and British. This is a course he can shine on so don’t be surprised at a good week for him.

Phil Mickelson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T72 T36 T19 T12 73 T7 T32 T16 Win T6 T23 T34

Showed some life with a final round 62 at Bridgestone, look for that to carry over to this week. He wants to have a good week and has practiced hard. Also wants to make the Ryder Cup team this week, right now outside looking in.

Graeme McDowell

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T12 T11 CUT CUT T10 T15 T37 CUT CUT

Another playing well, only thing I worry about is his pregnant wife is very close.

Henrik Stenson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
3 CUT T6 T4 CUT T14 T47

He can play well just about anyplace, so look for a good week out of him.

Bubba Watson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
CUT T11 T26 2 CUT 70 CUT

This course favors the right to left player like Bubba, so he could surprise us.

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
First time playing in this event

Long shots that could come through:

J.B. Holmes

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
WD T24 WD T29 T37

Would love to win in his home state, also plays well at Valhalla.

Patrick Reed

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
First time playing in this event

Watch him, played well at Bridgestone so his game could be back.

Lee Westwood

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T33 CUT T8 T3 CUT T32 T29 T17 CUT CUT CUT

Has been terrible all year, but he needs to play well for a Ryder Cup berth and did so with a final round 63 at Bridgestone.

Worst Bets:

Tiger Woods

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T40 T11 CUT T28 2 Win Win T4 T24 T39 2

Even with his appearance on Wednesday afternoon, don’t think he will make the cut. Way too much baggage.

Jason Day

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T8 CUT CUT T10

Too many physician problems to deal with.

Jason Dufner

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
Win T27 2 T5 CUT

Hard enough to be defending champion, to add problems with two bulging discs makes it impossible.

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