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BlogPGA Championship Preview and Picks

PGA Championship

August 13th – 16th, 2015

Whistling Straits (Straits Course)

Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,501

Purse: $10 million (last year)

with $1.8 million (last year) to the winner

Defending Champion:
Rory McIlroy

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

As of this minute when I write this on Monday morning, the field includes 104 of the top 107 in the latest Official World Rankings.  Those not playing are #24 Chris Kirk not playing due to his broken hand, #74 Alexander Noren who has a stress fracture in his upper body, presumably in a rib and #89 Graham Delaet who hurt his left thumb at the Canadian Open

The field includes all 25 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2015 are in the field.

The field includes 25 players in the top 25 on this year’s PGA Tour money list.

The field includes 32 players that have won 39 of the 40 events on the PGA Tour this year: Sangmoon Bae (Frys.com Open), Ben Martin (Shriners Hospitals); Robert Streb (McGladrey Classic), Ryan Moore (CIMB Classic), Bubba Watson (WGC-HSBC Champions & Travelers);  Charley Hoffman (OHL Classic at Mayakoba); Patrick Reed (Hyundai T of C);  Nick Taylor (Sanderson Farms Championship); Alex Cejka (Puerto Rico); Rory McIlroy (WGC-Cadillac Match Play & Wells Fargo); Jimmy Walker (Sony Open in Hawaii & Valero Texas Open), Bill Haas (Humana); Jason Day (Farmers & RBC Canadian); Brooks Koepka (WM Phoenix); Brandt Snedeker (AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am), James Hahn (Northern Trust); Padraig Harrington (Honda Classic); Dustin Johnson (WGC-Cadillac); Jordan Spieth (Valspar, Masters, U.S. Open & John Deere); Matt Every (Palmer); J.B. Holmes (Shell Houston); Jim Furyk (RBC Heritage); Justin Rose (Zurich Classic of New Orleans);  Rickie Fowler (Players); Steven Bowditch (Byron Nelson); David Lingmerth (Memorial); Fabian Gomez (FedEx St. Jude); Danny Lee (Greenbrier); Zach Johnson (British Open); Scott Piercy (Barbasol) and Troy Merritt (Quicken Loans), Shane Lowry (WGC-Bridgeston).

The only winner not in the field are  Chris Kirk (Crowne Plaza Colonial) and .

The field includes 15 past champions: Rory McIlroy (2014 & ’12), Jason Dufner (2013), Keegan Bradley (2011), Martin Kaymer (2010), Y.E. Yang (2009), Padraig Harrington (2008), Tiger Woods (2007, ’06, ’00 & 1999),  Phil Mickelson (2005), Vijay Singh (2004 & 1998), Shaun Micheel (2003), Rick Beem (2002), David Toms (2001), Davis Love III (1997), Mark Brooks (1996) and John Daly (1991).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the PGA Championship field is our performance chart listed by average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the PGA Championship field in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the PGA Championship  field.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

**NOTE**

One thing to look for is our new GOLFstats IQ.  For those that play in fantasy golf it’s a perfect way to help you pick those players in Draft Kings and Victiv games.  You can customize the list of those in the tournaments, to look back a couple or many years of tournament stats and you can go back a couple or ten weeks prior to the tournament.  On top of that, all the stats are fully sortable to help you pick your six players, we even give you their value for the week to help you chose.

That’s GOLFstats IQ, give it a try and tell us what you think of it

24/7 GOLF

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We have the perfect solution for you.  If you own a Iphone or a Ipad we have developed a perfect app called 24/7 GOLF.

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So check it out, just hit this link to get 24/7 GOLF:

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 12.01.34 AM

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 Quicken Loans Paul Lawrie Matchplay Canadian Open European Masters British Open Barbasol John Deere Scottish Open The Greenbrier French Open Travelers
Danny Lee
(313 pts)
T6
(90)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP T25
(8.33)
Bubba Watson
(305.33 pts)
2
(150)
DNP DNP DNP 2
(100)
DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP DNP T13
(24.67)
DNP Win
(44)
Jason Day
(295.67 pts)
T12
(57)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(132)
DNP T4
(106.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Justin Rose
(295 pts)
T3
(135)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(80)
DNP DNP 74
(0)
DNP DNP DNP
Zach Johnson
(281.5 pts)
T33
(25.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(176)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP 6
(20)
Rickie Fowler
(274.67 pts)
T10
(60)
DNP 2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP T30
(26.67)
DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP
Danny Willett
(254.83 pts)
T17
(49.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(132)
T6
(80)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Jordan Spieth
(254.67 pts)
T10
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(106.67)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jim Furyk
(241.67 pts)
T3
(135)
DNP DNP DNP 4
(80)
DNP T30
(26.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Robert Streb
(238.33 pts)
5
(105)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T18
(42.67)
DNP T14
(24)
DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP
David Lingmerth
(220 pts)
T6
(90)
DNP 3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP T74
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(40)
DNP T64
(0)
Shane Lowry
(197.33 pts)
Win
(198)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP T31
(12.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Brooks Koepka
(194 pts)
T6
(90)
DNP DNP DNP T18
(32)
DNP T10
(53.33)
DNP DNP T22
(18.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Tyrrell Hatton
(190.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(70)
DNP 3
(90)
CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP T22
(18.67)
DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP
Marc Warren
(177.5 pts)
T25
(37.5)
DNP DNP 4
(80)
DNP DNP T40
(13.33)
DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
J.J. Henry
(177 pts)
DNP Win
(132)
T63
(0)
DNP T41
(9)
DNP DNP T23
(18)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T13
(24.67)
DNP T60
(0)
Sergio Garcia
(167.83 pts)
T37
(19.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 6
(60)
T6
(80)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T25
(8.33)
Matt Kuchar
(159.17 pts)
T25
(37.5)
DNP DNP DNP T7
(55)
DNP T58
(0)
DNP DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Marc Leishman
(155.83 pts)
T33
(25.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(133.33)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T39
(3.67)
David Howell
(152.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP 3
(90)
DNP T16
(34)
T49
(1.33)
DNP DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP T49
(0.67)
DNP
Bernd Wiesberger
(144.5 pts)
T25
(37.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T31
(19)
T68
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP
David Hearn
(143.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 3
(90)
DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP T67
(0)
DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP
Louis Oosthuizen
(142 pts)
T42
(12)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(133.33)
DNP DNP DNP T73
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Patrick Reed
(137.17 pts)
T15
(52.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T16
(34)
T20
(40)
DNP DNP DNP T29
(14)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Russell Henley
(136.17 pts)
T17
(49.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T20
(40)
DNP DNP DNP 5
(46.67)
DNP DNP
James Morrison
(133 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T17
(33)
DNP DNP T20
(40)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP
Jason Bohn
(126.67 pts)
DNP DNP T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP T13
(24.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Scott Piercy
(126 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T79
(0)
DNP DNP Win
(88)
T14
(24)
DNP T29
(14)
DNP DNP
Justin Thomas
(123.33 pts)
DNP DNP T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP T54
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Brendan Steele
(116.67 pts)
DNP T7
(55)
T30
(20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T6
(40)
T25
(8.33)
Steven Bowditch
(113.33 pts)
T12
(57)
DNP T67
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T30
(26.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T13
(24.67)
DNP T15
(11.67)
Martin Kaymer
(111.5 pts)
T45
(7.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T12
(50.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 4
(53.33)
DNP
Branden Grace
(108.17 pts)
T17
(49.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T20
(40)
DNP DNP T17
(22)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Luke Donald
(105.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T74
(0)
DNP T12
(50.67)
DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP T7
(18.33)
Troy Merritt
(105.33 pts)
77
(0)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player WGC-Bridgestone Barracuda Quicken Loans Paul Lawrie Matchplay Canadian Open European Masters British Open Barbasol John Deere Scottish Open The Greenbrier French Open Travelers
Stephen Gallacher
(-36.67 pts)
56
(0)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Fabian Gomez
(-33.33 pts)
T67
(0)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
George Coetzee
(-30 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Matt Every
(-26.67 pts)
74
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Daniel Berger
(-24 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP T41
(6)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Sangmoon Bae
(-23.33 pts)
T63
(0)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T54
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Kevin Streelman
(-23.33 pts)
DNP 71
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP 77
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Darren Clarke
(-20 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP
Tim Clark
(-20 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T63
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Nick Taylor
(-16.67 pts)
DNP DNP T52
(0)
DNP T56
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

 

The Buzz:

The big news is that Rory Mcilroy is back from his soccer injury.  This is his first event since the U.S. Open and a lot of questions will be asked.  First of all, if he didn’t play last week how bad off is the Knee?  I have to wonder if he couldn’t play last week, how is this week any better?  Firestone is an easy, flat walk.  Whistling Straits is a hilly, sandy walk which will be harder on the knee for Rory.  I just have to wonder if he he will be strong enough and if the knee will be able to go 72 holes.

Lot’s will be said of all the bunkers at Whistling Straits.  There is no real list of the number of bunkers or sand hazards, some place it at over a thousand.  But the one thing that we have to remember is what happen to Dustin Johnson in 2010.  He drove it right on the 72nd hole and was in an area that the gallery had walked over.  Johnson thought it was a dirt path and grounded his club, but it turned out to be a bunker, he was penalized two shots and missed the playoff by two shots.  The PGA of America has to make sure such a gaffe like this doesn’t happen again.  It’s still the responsibility of the player so hopefully they will be more careful and go overboard if they think there in a bunker.

Tiger

Have to wonder if the end is not coming soon.  Who knows, maybe Tiger is working his butt off and will be in contention this week.  I remember when he was with Hank Haney in the mid-2000 and played terrible for a year.  He would say he was close and after he left the press room, we would laugh on how Tiger seemed delusional but in 2005 his game jelled and he was awesome.  Could the same be happening now?  Could Tiger at any moment play great again?  Many don’t believe it but have to say that Tiger is running out of excuses for his poor play.

Tournament information:

  • This is the 97th PGA Championship. The plans for the PGA Championship were created on January 16, 1916 at a meeting of a group of PGA Tour professionals including Walter Hagen. Their vision was to create a national championship that would rival the U.S. Open in terms of importance. Just months later, their vision came to reality as the first PGA Championship Match Play event was played at Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, NY that year. Englishman Jim Barnes took home the inaugural crown.
  • After the inaugural tournament, the event took a two-year break from 1917 to 1918 because of World War I. The break in action didn’t phase Jim Barnes, as he went on to win the PGA Championship in its return to the Tour in 1919. Since the two-year hiatus, The PGA Championship has only seen one other break, that being in 1943 due to World War II. The biggest change in the event’s history occurred in 1958, when the format of the event was changed from Match Play to 72-hole stroke play.
  • The famed Wanamaker trophy, awarded to the winner of the PGA Championship, can trace its routes back to the beginning of golf equipment. In the early part of the 20th Century, A.G. Spalding & Bros. was the predominant maker of golf equipment; however, Rodman Wanamaker sought to create a company that would rival Spalding in the golf industry. Though his plan ultimately failed, his dream will always me remembered as he was the one that first sponsored the PGA Championship and the trophy, which today bears his name.

Course information:

  • Whistling Straits (Straits Course)
  • Sheboygan, Wisconsin
  • 7,501 yards     Par 36-36–72

It may seem hard to believe but Whistling Straits and the toilet has so much in common.  No I am not making fun of Whistling Straits with this comparison, just pointing out the fact that Whistling Straits got it’s start via the Kohler Company, which is the biggest company of Kitchen and bath fixtures, faucets and toilets.

The Kohler Company is located in Kohler, Wisconsin, about an hour north of Milwaukee and a hour south of Green Bay just off a interstate 43.  Now the town of Kohler, built in 1912, has become as much of an institution as Hershey, Pa. which is probably the most famous “company town” in America.

Around 1980 Herb Kohler, who was running the company at the time had problems with customers who found the hour drive up from Milwaukee a hard go, so he took a converted dorm which originally housed immigrants and turned it into the American Club, which after a couple of years became more than a company hotel but a major resort with a five star hotel and recreation faculties including world class golf courses.  When it came up that Kohler needed a first class course for his first class hotel, he got together with Pete Dye and built Blackwolf Run near the hotel, which opened in 1988.

Originally just a public course, the course stripped demand to the point that Kohler added two more nine hole expansions, which again became so famous that those courses had three-month waiting lists for tee times.  At the same time the American Club became more than just a overnight retreat for Kohler customers, it became one of the premiere resorts in America.

With demand high, in 1995 Kohler started looking around for more land to build another course.  Lake Michigan was just ten miles away so Kohler thought it would be nice to build a course along the lake and after an exhaustive search found a plot of land along the Lake in the unincorporated village of Haven.

The property was originally a site that the U.S. Army used in the 50s as an anti-aircraft firing center, even to the point of having landing strips on it.  It was abandoned in the 60s, taken over by the Wisconsin Electric Company and then sold to Kohler who then commissioned Pete Dye to build two courses, one on the lake and the other inland.

Between Dye and Kohler, they envisioned a course that would rival anything that Scotland could offer.  It became a mixture of a Scottish and Irish links course, with a mixture of holes along the lake like Pebble Beach and was highly acclaimed when it opened in 1998.

The course was an instant hit with it’s two miles of continuous shoreline that has seven holes hugging Lake Michigan.  Not only was it an adventure playing the holes along the lake, but the rest of the course was not only great fun to play but a very demanding test of golf.  So demanding that the PGA of America came calling, giving it the 2004 PGA Championship just about the time that the course opened up for business.

The PGA wasn’t the only organization that came calling, the USGA also liked what they saw and awarded Whistling Straits the 2007 U.S. Senior Open and when they started talking about playing a U.S. Open on it, the PGA of America not to loss a potential gem, took away the PGA Championship that was too be played at Sahalee in 2010 and gave it to Whistling Straits along with the 2015 PGA and the 2020 Ryder Cup, thus giving the PGA exclusive access for a decade.

For this year’s PGA Championship the course will play about the same as it did in 2004 when Vijay Singh won and the same as in 2010 when Martin Kaymer won. On both occasions winds weren’t that strong, reasons for scores being so low.

The course is still a bear, playing at 7,501 and at a par of 72.  Of the seven holes along the lake, all four par 3s have tough shots to avoid the lake.  If the lake isn’t enough of a picture for television to show, the fact that the course has 1,012 bunkers is also a talking point, since there is probably no other course in the world that has that many bunkers on it.  Now you may say who came up with the number 1,012, it was Golf Digest writer Ron Whitten who counted 967 bunkers in 2010 and did it again for an update to the 2010 articles and found 45 more bunkers.

Now the lakes and the bunkers aren’t the only great things about Whistling Straits, the greens are some of the finest in the country with lots of undulations which will making putting tough.  Lastly Whistling Straits Fescue fairways are some of the finest, and if you miss them will enjoy how tough Fescue rough can be.

The whole goal is to make Whistling Straits not one of the best courses in the world, but the best.  Even after the last putt is dropped on Sunday, on Monday morning Dye and Kohler will talk about what to do for the 2020 Ryder Cup to make it even tougher and better so that one day the Straits will be the best course in the world.

Now it’s important to point out how similiar Whistling Straits is to Chambers Bay, site of this year’s U.S. Open.  As for Whistling Straits, it’s held successful events with two PGA Championships and a U.S. Senior Open.  As for Chambers Bay it wasn’t a failure, but there were a lot of problems associated with the event, mostly with the greens and the gallery.  Both courses lay along a body of water and both properties were flat and had a lot of work in moving around sand to make both courses look the way they did.  As for Whistling Straits it’s more open for gallery and each hole gives spectators lots of room to explore, something that can’t be said for Chambers Bay.  One other important item, the greens at Whistling Straits are bentgrass which are in great shape.  The course does have fescue fairways and rough, which gives it that Scottish feel, but for tournaments like a major championships fescue should probably not be used.  If I was the USGA and Chambers Bay I would spend time exploring and seeing what makes Whistling Straits so much better.

  • In 2010 the course played to a 72.918 average (almost a full shot over par), making it the 7th hardest course on the PGA Tour that year.  In 2004 Whistling Straits played to a 73.163 average (a shot over par) making it the 8th hardest course on tour that year.
  • A couple other notes on the course, in 2004, 12 players finished within three shots of the lead and 36 finished under par. In 2010, seven were within two shots of the lead and 38 were under par.  As for toughest holes, in 2010 the par 4 18th played to a 4.515 averaging the second hardest hole of the year.  The par 4, 4th hole played to a 4.471 average, the 4th hardest hole of the year.
  • The great thing about the course is the finish, it will be tough.  In 2010 the par 4, 15th hole was the 27th toughest hole on the PGA Tour with a 4.306 average.  The par 5, 16th hole is the easiest hole on the course playing to a 4.756 average.  Still if you don’t drive it straight, the 16th could turn into a non-birdie hole. The par 3, 17th hole was the 110th hardest hole on tour with a 3.203 average, so the finish is really tough.

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the PGA Championship:

Key stat of the week

Whistling Strait is one of those demanding courses that you have to be on top of your game.  In looking at those that did well in both the PGA Championship back in 2010, 2004 and the 2007 Senior Open that was played at Whistling Straits, the thing that gives us a guiding point to this week is that ball strikers did very well, so look for those who pride themselves as top ball strikers to rule this week.  Also wind players could have their chance if it starts blowing off Lake Michigan, but that isn’t in the weather forecast.

Here are some more key stats to look to for this week:

  • Important to see who is the best total driver of the ball going into the week and then checking to see who hits the most greens on the PGA Tour.
  • Since the greens are big it will also be tough to not only hit the green but get it close. Sharp iron play will also help along with the imagination when you do get in trouble. But as we have seen in the last decade of PGAs with winners as diverse as Jason Dufner Y.E. Yang, Rich Beem, Shaun Micheel, Rory McIlroy, Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson, Padraig Harrington and Tiger Woods anything can happen. The key is to be peaking about Wedneday right before the start of the championship. That’s what happened to Dufner, Beem, Micheel, Singh, Mickelson, Harrington and Woods so look for someone that is playing well.
  • Scrambling will be at a premium, look for good chippers like Phil Mickelson or a Jim Furyk to have a great advantage here. On this year’s scrambling list, Steven Bowditch, Jasin Day, Brandt Snedeker, Jordan Spieth and Matt Kuchar are in the top-ten for 2015 so these are folks to watch this week.
  • Putting is always a key in winning but this year with greens being big three putting will be easy.
  • There is also the unknown factor in which the course could yield low scores to an unknown player. In 14 of the last 23 PGAs, the winner has claimed his first major in the PGA Championship like Jason Dufner in 2014.  So this could be a good omen for a Sergio Garcia, Jason Day or Dustin Johnson. Rich Beem and Shaun Micheel weren’t household names when they won, so you never know if that will get repeated
  • Need for patience.  This is one of those courses that par is your friend, so don’t look for low scoring.
  • Last the weather, look for good days except for Friday which will have scattered thunderstorms most of the day.  Wind is suppose to blow on Saturday which will make the day very interesting.

 

 

Who to watch for at the PGA Championship

Best Bets:

Bubba Watson

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T64 CUT T11 T26 2 CUT 70 CUT

Have to like him for so many reasons. First the course sets up perfectly for him, he is 1st in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green, 37th in total driving and 27th in ball striking. So the planets are aligning for Watson and you can bet the farm that he will be in the running on the back nine of Sunday. Second he played great in 2010 getting into the playoff, if he played well then he will play well now.

Jordan Spieth

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
CUT CUT

In looking at Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green we see that Spieth ranks 2nd and in total driving he is 42nd which isn’t bad. As for ball striking, Spieth is 41st so all of these stats are not the best but shows that he will do better at Whistling Straits than Firestone. If he could win this week it would be one of the biggest accomplishments in golf as only Ben Hogan in 1953 and Tiger Woods in 2000 have won three majors in one year.

Justin Rose

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T24 T33 T3 CUT CUT CUT T9 T12 T41 CUT CUT

Another player in which stats say he should play well this week, he is 7th in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green. As for total driving Rose is 4th and also 4th in ball striking so Rose should do well this week. If Rose has a weakness it could be in driving accuracy, he is 69th and scrambling which he is 105th but everything for the year points to a good week for Rose. The key for him is to play better over the first 36 holes, if he can do that, have an average third round it may save up some energy to play well on Sunday.

Best of the rest:

Henrik Stenson

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T3 3 CUT T6 T4 CUT T14 T47

This guy is so good I am really surprised he hasn’t won a major yet. He is 5th in Strokes Gained tee-to-green along with being 1st in total driving and ball striking. With these stats it shows that it’s almost impossible for him not to play well this week.

Dustin Johnson

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T8 T48 CUT T5 T10

He has a lot to prove this week. First was his bunker penalty on the 72nd hole that caused him not to get into the playoff. Johnson hits it far and straight, he is 18th in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green, but T-62nd in total driving and 91st in ball striking. Still he is long overdue to win a major, prefect place to do it.

Zach Johnson

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T69 T8 70 T59 T3 T10 CUT CUT CUT T17 T37

Has some good memories of Whistling Straits. He finished T37th in 2004 but in 2010 many don’t remember but Johnson was just a shot back of the Kaymer/Watson playoff. He played very well with rounds of 69-70-69-70 and I just have to think that if you offer Johnson that score for this year he will take it. As for our stats, Johnson is 15th in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green, 48th in total driving and 37th in ball striking. As we said last week, if Johnson can prevail this week and win, it would muddy up the water on Jordan Spieth being Player-of-the Year and make the FedEx Cup playoffs very interesting.

Jim Furyk

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T5 2 T42 T39 T24 T63 T29 CUT T29 T34 CUT T18

In previous visits to Whistling Straits, Furyk has struggled, missing the cut in 2004 and finishing T-24th in 2010. But we should look at that finish in 2010, Furyk was among the leaders after making birdies at six and seven, but things got very nasty for him as he played his last 11 holes in seven over par which dropped him way down the leaderboard. So Furyk does have the good memories of playing well. He also has some good stats for this year that points to him playing well this week. Furyk is 3rd in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green, but 85th in total driving and 50th in ball striking. So it’s a toss up on how he will do, frankly I think Furyk is just as happy with top-five finishes than winning. You can’t complain if your Jim Furyk, over his 22 year career he has won $65 million on the PGA Tour so maybe getting into the top-five is not a bad way of playing.

Solid contenders

Jason Day

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T15 T8 CUT CUT T10

Whistling Straits is a course that holds some good memories for Jason, he had has first of nine top-tens in majors when he finished T-10th at Whistling Straits in 2010, even with a 74 on the final day. So he knows he can play well on the course, he shot a third round 66. So what do the stats say, first in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green he is 26th, but is 83rd in total driving and 50th in ball striking. So he will need something special to level the playing field on these disadvantages, so Day will have to scramble and putt better than he usually does to make up for it. I don’t see him winning but I can see him in contention over the weekend.

Rickie Fowler

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T3 T19 CUT T51 T58

Has the stats, was 37th in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green, 21st in total driving and T-71st in ball striking. Even with those good numbers I just am not that impress with him this week and think he won’t have a good week, sorry.

Hideki Matsuyama

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T35 T19

Hasn’t played well this year, still has numbers that point out this could be a great week for him. He is 4th in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green, 7th in total driving and ball striking.

Louis Oosthuizen

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T15 T21 CUT CUT CUT 73

Has the power and could surprise a lot of folks. Ranks 31st in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green along with being T42nd in total driving and 26th in ball striking.

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
First time playing in this event

Long shots that could come through:

Phil Mickelson

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
2 T72 T36 T19 T12 73 T7 T32 T16 Win T6 T23

Played well at Whistling Straits in the past, he is a great scrambler which will help him a lot.

Tiger Woods

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
CUT T40 T11 CUT T28 2 Win Win T4 T24 T39

Think his ball striking could help him a lot on this course, just don’t like his short game which will dictate if he plays well or poorly.

justin Thomas

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
First time playing in this event

Watch this kid this week, yes it’s his first week ever in the PGA Championship but he does rank 23rd in Strokes Gained Tee-to-green. along with being T58th in total driving and 42nd in ball striking.

So what about Rory?

Rory McIlroy

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
Win T8 Win T64 T3 T3

He looks great in practice, but this is a guy that hasn’t played in competition in almost two months. Also think that his legs will get tired on the sand base grass, I still wonder if he is healthy enough to play this week why he didn’t play last week. Just feel he won’t be able to get everything working together.

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