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BlogPGA weekend picks

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

Things you need to know for the final two days of the PGA:

Should the PGA of America start embroidering Rory’s name on the Wanamaker Trophy?

Not just yet, there is still 36 holes to play and anything is possible.  Watching Rory play is really fun and watching his interview after Friday’s round made be think that this was De Ja vu of 2000 and Tiger Woods.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could get the Tiger of 2000 and put him up against the Rory McIlroy of 2014?  This week Rory played great, he made an eagle, 12 birdies, 19 pars, 3 bogeys and one double.  His double bogey on the par 5, 10th hole because of a drive out of bounds could be the first time a major champion has made a 7 on his card since Tiger Woods made 7 on the par 3, 3rd hole at Pebble in the 2000 U.S. Open.

So why will Rory win?

Things are easy and fun for the kid right now.  In any other player other than Tiger, streaks tend to last six to ten rounds and then fatigue sets in, they get sloppy which leads to problems.  Don’t see that with Rory playing so well, gosh just look at some of these numbers  Rory is 41 under in his last ten rounds including last week’s Bridgestone and last month’s British Open.  These aren’t figures on easy Palm Springs courses, these are tough courses that hold the best events in the world.  Another thing to think about Rory, this is the fourth time that he has started a major with two rounds in the 60s and won the 2011 U.S. Open and 2014 British.  Of course he had a big disaster with the Masters.

So talking about the Masters, any chance of that happening?

No chance, Rory is a better player than he was in 2011.  As he said today in his press conference, that was the first time in the lead and he tried to protect the lead, which isn’t in his DNA.  He now knows what to do in this position and will do it this weekend.  Someone needs to play really well and take it away from Rory because he isn’t going to boot this one away.

So who can take it away from Rory?

Great leaderboard, probably the best of the year.  We have a great mixture of youngsters like Jason Day (one back), Rickie Fowler (two back) and Victor Dubuisson (four back).  We have a lot of grinders that always seem to win and don’t give an inch, guys like Henrik Stenson (four back) and Lee Westwood (four back).  Then we have some great veterans, who are in the sunset years of their career and looking to put a nice punctuation to their careers, guys like Jim Furyk (one back), Phil Micklson (three back) and Steve Stricker (four back).  This weekend won’t be easy for Rory, there are 15 players within four back of him.

So is it Jason Day’s time to win?

Maybe, but his thumb is still a problem.  I just can’t see him winning with this problem.

So how about Jim Furyk?

I have been saying it for quite a while, he is really due to put it together.  He has booted away a fair share in the last two years, but at the Canadian Open two weeks ago he played great, shooting a final round 69 and had it taken away by Tim Clark who shot 65.  It’s only a matter of time for Furyk to get the lucky draw and win, could be on Sunday.

So how about Phil Mickelson?

His year has been crap and he knows it.  Phil is not one like Tiger that sugar-coats things, he knows how bad things have been and wants to change that.  It started with his good final round at Bridgestone.  He knew he was playing well going into the week at Akron, but it didn’t show until his final round 62.  With his 36th hole eagle on Friday, I see some great momentum for him and like the old saying goes, you never know what Phil will do next.

Is there anybody else that can make a run?

Lot’s of players, but remember we haven’t talked about Ryan Palmer who is just 2 back.  Or Steve Stricker who made fun of his game when Tom Watson named him vice-captain for the Ryder Cup team and Stricker said that could still make the team with a win, so anything is possible. Also Henrik Stenson, Victor Dubuissen, Lee Westwood and Louis Oosthuizen are four back and can make up lots of ground with a 65.  The bottom line is that McIlroy needs to go out and make birdies on Saturday and Sunday, a pair of 70s probably won’t give him a victory.  He probably needs a pair of 68s.

Goodbye to Tiger, do we care?

There was not a single person in the media center that felt bad about Tiger missing the cut.  It was ugly this week, matter of fact Tiger’s game has been ugly since he came back at the Quicken Loans in July.  The problem with the media, Tiger would tell them how promising things were with his game and how great he felt, not something that we bought after his poor performance at the Quicken Loan, British Open and Bridgestone.  I personally think Tiger’s problems are more mental than physical and this week probably put a lot of doubts in the mind of Tiger.  I have a funny feeling that Tom Watson won’t have to say anything to Tiger Woods, he will be the first to say he can’t play on the Ryder Cup team.  Tiger seems like a golfer that got a heavy dose of Kryptonite and just like Superman has become very human.  Every part of his game is in disarray, I know he will win again one day but we may be coming close to the end of the Tiger career.  The hardest thing in the world to do is come back when your aging, that’s what made Jack Nicklaus last three majors so good.  Today I don’t think Tiger has any idea on what the future will hold but we have to wait until next year to see if Tiger can find a remedy for the “kryptonite” and find his way back.  One thing is certain, Wednesday was a very dull day at Valhalla until Tiger arrived.  In a matter of minutes, 7,000 people were rooting strongly for Tiger so he does and always will have the fan base.  But he has to be Tiger Woods again.

Check back with us tomorrow night for who will win the PGA Championship

Below is a list of the top-37 players on the leader board going to two under which is 7 shots back of Rory McIlroy

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

Of the top-37 on the leaderboard, who is playing the best going into the PGA Championship for the PGA Championship

Player WGC Bridgestone Barracuda Champ. Canadian Open Russian Open British Open John Deere Scottish Open Greenbrier Classic 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)
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
Adam Scott
(215 pts)
T8
(75)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(140)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 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)
Geoff Ogilvy
(148 pts)
DNP Win
(132)
T34
(16)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T55
(0)
DNP DNP 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)
Henrik Stenson
(135.17 pts)
T19
(46.5)
DNP DNP DNP T39
(22)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP
Phil Mickelson
(132.5 pts)
T15
(52.5)
DNP DNP DNP T23
(54)
DNP T11
(26)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Brian Harman
(125.33 pts)
65
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T26
(48)
Win
(88)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T42
(2.67)
DNP
Victor Dubuisson
(113.17 pts)
T31
(28.5)
DNP DNP DNP T9
(90)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T48
(1.33)
DNP T57
(0)
DNP DNP
Nick Watney
(87.67 pts)
DNP T8
(50)
T12
(38)
DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T30
(13.33)
DNP T11
(13)
DNP
Jamie Donaldson
(86.17 pts)
T37
(19.5)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP DNP
Jimmy Walker
(83.33 pts)
T26
(36)
DNP DNP DNP T26
(48)
DNP T41
(6)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Rafael Cabrera-Bello
(80 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP T27
(15.33)
DNP T35
(10)
DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP T26
(8)
Chris Wood
(75.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T23
(54)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T33
(11.33)
DNP T8
(16.67)
Kevin Chappell
(65.33 pts)
DNP T34
(16)
T20
(30)
DNP DNP T52
(0)
DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP T55
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Ernie Els
(53.33 pts)
T26
(36)
DNP T12
(38)
DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP T41
(6)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Alexander Levy
(51.33 pts)
T58
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T21
(19.33)
DNP T35
(10)
DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Mikko Ilonen
(46.67 pts)
T66
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP DNP DNP T51
(0)
DNP Win
(44)
Cameron Tringale
(46.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP T30
(13.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Bill Haas
(44.83 pts)
T41
(13.5)
DNP DNP DNP T51
(0)
DNP DNP T23
(18)
DNP T30
(13.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Brendon De Jonge
(38.83 pts)
T37
(19.5)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
T45
(3.33)
DNP T64
(0)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP T42
(2.67)
DNP
Steve Stricker
(36 pts)
T63
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(26)
DNP T35
(10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Of the top-37 on the leaderboard, who is playing the worst going into the PGA Championship for the PGA Championship

Player WGC Bridgestone Barracuda Champ. Canadian Open Russian Open British Open John Deere Scottish Open Greenbrier Classic French Open Quicken Loans BMW Intern. Travelers Champ. Irish Open
Richard Sterne
(-26.67 pts)
T58
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T56
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jason Day
(-3.5 pts)
WD
(-7.5)
DNP DNP DNP T58
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T18
(10.67)
DNP
Vijay Singh
(-0 pts)
DNP DNP T43
(7)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T31
(6.33)
DNP
Ryan Palmer
(0 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T58
(0)
DNP T51
(0)
DNP DNP T55
(0)
DNP DNP DNP
Bernd Wiesberger
(0.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP T41
(6)
DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Joost Luiten
(1.33 pts)
T56
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP T51
(0)
DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Billy Horschel
(6 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(26)
DNP DNP DNP
Louis Oosthuizen
(19.67 pts)
61
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T36
(28)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP WD
(-1.67)
DNP
Lee Westwood
(19.83 pts)
T19
(46.5)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Graham Delaet
(27.5 pts)
WD
(-7.5)
DNP T7
(55)
DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T51
(0)
DNP
Matt Jones
(29.83 pts)
T31
(28.5)
DNP DNP DNP T54
(0)
DNP 78
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T46
(1.33)
DNP
J.B. Holmes
(34 pts)
T26
(36)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP T23
(18)
DNP T55
(0)
DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

In Conclusion:

Again Rory McIlroy is in the drivers seat.  But this won’t be a stroll in the park like Hoylake was, he needs to play some great golf and shot probably six under to have a reasonable chance of winning.  The great thing about golf now, nobody is scared of anyone else and I can see just about anyone in the top-eight winning except for Palmer, Ilonen and Wiesberger.

The weather will be better tomorrow and Sunday, the course will still be wet and long but this crap on Golf Channel that a wet course favors long hitters is wrong.  Jim Furyk doesn’t hit it very long and he is one back.  Same with Ryan Palmer and Mikko Ilonen.  Yes Rory McIlroy has a big advantage of distance, but Jim Furyk hits is straighter than McIlroy.  Not only is the fairways wet, but the long Kentucky bluegrass rough is really hard to get out of when it’s wet.  So in a way the two things even each other out, yes long hitters have it easier but they have to hit it straight.  That is one of the things that will make the weekend very interesting.

Do I see Rory leading this time tomorrow, yes.  Think it will be a 50-50 proposition, but anyone like a Furyk, Fowler or Mickelson could reel off a 65 or 66 to take the lead.

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

Have to ride this horse who is a stallion and unbeatable right now. Will he give it away over the weekend, probably not. Someone will have to beat him with some really good play, that’s the only way I see Rory not winning. He won’t boot it away.

Best of the rest:

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 is having a great summer and is lover overdue 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. But it will not be easy to close the deal over Rory.

Rickie Fowler

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

This kid is motivated and thinks that he can spot Rory two and still beat him. His game is sharp and getting better in each round. Don’t be surprise to see him shot 67 on Saturday and smile all the way to the bank. We could have one hell of a battle with him and Rory.

Jason Day

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

Another great kid that will win. Only problem is the thumb, he is not 100%. The saying of beware of the sick doesn’t pan out on this because you have to physically be doing well and it’s hard to play well when your thumb is hurting.

Solid contenders

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

He has three great rounds in a row, now can he do that for another two and they need to be low.

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 in any condition and can easily pick up the four shots he is behind.

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

Even being four behind I would be fearful of him back there, just wonder if he has two good rounds in him.

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

Long shots that could come through:

Steve Stricker

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T12 T7 T12 T18 CUT T39 T23 T7 CUT

Just like Mickelson it’s been a tough year and he is looking to make it right in just one great weekend.

Bill Haas

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T25 T32 T12 CUT

He can make up a lot of ground

Graham DeLaet

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

Everybody has to win once, this could be the perfect place for him to finally win.

Ryan Palmer

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T47 CUT T19 T33 CUT T49 T47

He has won, but I don’t think he has it on this sort of scale.

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