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BlogPGA Champ. Preview and Picks

PGA Championship

August 10th – 13th, 2017

Quail Hollow Golf Club

Charlotte, North Carolina

Par: 71 / Yardage:

Purse: $10.5 million (last year)

with $1,800,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Jimmy Walker

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 Tuesday morning, the field includes 111 of the top 114 in the latest Official World Rankings.  Those not playing are #36 Brandt Snedeker, #64 Martin kaymer and #77 Schott Piercy, who are all hurt.

This year they were able to get 97 of the top-100, last year they could only get 98 of the top-100

The field includes all 25 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2017 are in the field.

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

The field includes 34 players that have won 41 of the 41 events on the PGA Tour this year:

Brendan Steele (Safeway Open); Justin Thomas (CIMB Classic, SBC T of C & Sony Open from Hawaii); Hideki Matsuyama (WGC-HSBC Champions, WM Phoenix & WGC Bridgestone); Cody Gribble (Sanderson Farms); Rod Pampling (Shriners Hospitals); Pat Perez (OHL Classic at Mayakoba); Mackenzie Hughes (RSM Classic); Hudson Swafford (Humana Challenge); Jon Rahm (Farmers Insurance); Jordan Spieth (AT&T Pebble Beach,Travelers & British Open); Dustin Johnson (Genesis Open, WGC-Mexico & WGC-Dell Match Play); Rickie Fowler (Honda); Adam Hadwin (Valspar Championship); Marc Leishman (Arnold Palmer) D.A. Points (Puerto Rico); Russell Henley (Shell Houston); Sergio Garcia (Masters); Wesley Bryan (RBC Heritage); Kevin Chappell (Valero Texas); Cameron Smith/Jonas Blixt (Zurich New Orleans); Brian Harman (Memorial), SiWoo Kim (Players); Billy Horschel (Byron Nelson); Kevin Kisner (Dean & DeLuca); Jason Dufner (Memorial), Daniel Berger (FedEx St. Jude); Brooks Koepka (U.S. Open); Kyle Stanley (Quick Loans National); Xander Schauffele (Greenbrier Classic); Bryson DeChambeau (John Deere); Grayson Murray (Barbasol Championship);Jhonattan Vegas (RBC Candian Open) and Chris Stroud (Barracuda).

The field includes 13 past champions: Jimmy Walker (2016), Jason Day (2015), Rory McIlroy (2014 & ’12), Jason Dufner (2013), Keegan Bradley (2011), Y.E. Yang (2009), Padraig Harrington (2008), Phil Mickelson (2005), Vijay Singh (2004 & 1998), Shaun Micheel (2003), Rick Beem (2002), David Love III (1997) and John Daly (1991).

30 Major winners, led by multiple winners Phil Mickelson (5), Ernie Els (4), Rory McIlroy (4), Padraig Harrington (3), Vijay Singh (3), Jordan Spieth (3), John Daly (2), Zach Johnson (2), Bubba Watson (2).

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.  For this week we have another performance chart and that is a look at those that have played well at Quail Hollow during the Wells Fargo Championship.  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.

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 Canadian Open Porsche European British Open John Deere Scottish Open Greenbrier Classic Irish Open Quicken Loans French Open Travelers U.S. Open
Jordan Spieth
(373.5 pts)
T13
(55.5)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(264)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(44)
T35
(10)
Charley Hoffman
(365.67 pts)
3
(135)
DNP 2
(100)
DNP T20
(60)
T39
(7.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T3
(30)
8
(33.33)
Hideki Matsuyama
(360.67 pts)
Win
(198)
DNP DNP DNP T14
(72)
DNP DNP DNP T14
(24)
DNP DNP DNP T2
(66.67)
Matt Kuchar
(343.5 pts)
T17
(49.5)
DNP T32
(18)
DNP 2
(200)
DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T16
(22.67)
Zach Johnson
(280.67 pts)
2
(150)
DNP DNP DNP T14
(72)
T5
(46.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T27
(15.33)
Xander Schauffele
(272.17 pts)
T13
(55.5)
DNP DNP DNP T20
(60)
DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP T35
(10)
DNP T14
(12)
T5
(46.67)
Rickie Fowler
(260.17 pts)
9
(67.5)
DNP DNP DNP T22
(56)
DNP T9
(30)
DNP DNP T3
(60)
DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
Brooks Koepka
(257.5 pts)
T17
(49.5)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(120)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
Rory McIlroy
(256 pts)
T5
(105)
DNP DNP DNP T4
(160)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T17
(11)
CUT
(-6.67)
Tommy Fleetwood
(247 pts)
T28
(33)
DNP DNP DNP T27
(46)
DNP DNP DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP 4
(53.33)
Rafael Cabrera-Bello
(246.67 pts)
72
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T4
(160)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T42
(5.33)
Li Haotong
(226.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 3
(180)
DNP 50
(0.67)
DNP T36
(9.33)
DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP 68
(0)
Paul Casey
(222.33 pts)
T5
(105)
DNP DNP DNP T11
(78)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T5
(23.33)
26
(16)
Marc Leishman
(206.5 pts)
T41
(13.5)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(120)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP T17
(11)
T27
(15.33)
Ian Poulter
(200.67 pts)
DNP DNP 3
(90)
DNP T14
(72)
DNP T9
(30)
DNP T42
(5.33)
DNP T45
(3.33)
DNP DNP
Tony Finau
(177.67 pts)
DNP DNP T5
(70)
DNP T27
(46)
DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP T29
(14)
DNP T17
(11)
DNP
Branden Grace
(177 pts)
T28
(33)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(120)
DNP T15
(23.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T50
(0.67)
Daniel Berger
(168.83 pts)
T17
(49.5)
DNP DNP DNP T27
(46)
T5
(46.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 2
(33.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
Alex Noren
(166.33 pts)
T28
(33)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(120)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Jordan L Smith
(165.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP T58
(0)
DNP T20
(20)
DNP T30
(13.33)
DNP DNP
Chris Stroud
(156 pts)
DNP Win
(132)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T19
(20.67)
DNP T20
(20)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Jon Rahm
(153 pts)
T28
(33)
DNP DNP DNP T44
(12)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Jamie Lovemark
(148 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T22
(56)
T25
(16.67)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP DNP DNP T75
(0)
T27
(15.33)
Jhonattan Vegas
(144.83 pts)
T17
(49.5)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
Thomas Pieters
(143.33 pts)
4
(120)
DNP DNP DNP T44
(12)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T13
(24.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Henrik Stenson
(136.83 pts)
T17
(49.5)
DNP DNP DNP T11
(78)
DNP T26
(16)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Thorbjorn Olesen
(134.33 pts)
T10
(60)
DNP DNP T37
(13)
T62
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T48
(1.33)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP DNP
Ryan Fox
(126.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP 6
(40)
DNP DNP
Patrick Reed
(115.33 pts)
T36
(21)
DNP DNP T19
(31)
CUT
(-20)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T20
(20)
DNP T17
(22)
DNP T5
(23.33)
T13
(24.67)
Bryson DeChambeau
(115.33 pts)
T60
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
Win
(88)
DNP T14
(24)
DNP T17
(22)
DNP T26
(8)
CUT
(-6.67)
Adam Scott
(114.83 pts)
T13
(55.5)
DNP DNP DNP T22
(56)
DNP T35
(10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Keegan Bradley
(100 pts)
DNP DNP T14
(36)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T50
(0.67)
DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP T8
(16.67)
T60
(0)
Bubba Watson
(97.5 pts)
T17
(49.5)
DNP T42
(8)
DNP T27
(46)
T44
(4)
DNP T70
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
Kevin Chappell
(96.83 pts)
T13
(55.5)
DNP T8
(50)
DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T23
(18)
Steve Stricker
(95.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T37
(26)
T5
(46.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T16
(22.67)

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player WGC Bridgestone Barracuda Canadian Open Porsche European British Open John Deere Scottish Open Greenbrier Classic Irish Open Quicken Loans French Open Travelers U.S. Open
Jeunghun Wang
(-43.33 pts)
T66
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP WD
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Dylan Frittelli
(-40 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Pat Perez
(-31.67 pts)
69
(0)
DNP DNP DQ
(-5)
CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Cameron Smith
(-30 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Emiliano Grillo
(-29.5 pts)
T50
(1.5)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T43
(2.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
Cody Gribble
(-26.67 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
John Daly
(-26.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Yuta Ikeda
(-26.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Tyrrell Hatton
(-25.67 pts)
T36
(21)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-20)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
D.A. Points
(-23.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T65
(0)
DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

For those that miss Quail Hollow back in May when the Wells Fargo was played at Eagle Point they get their chance this week as for this year Quail Hollow will host the PGA Championship instead of the Wells Fargo.  It will be interesting to see this site as a major championship, the players love it and the PGA also love it.

With the PGA of America announcing that the championship will move from August to May, it brings up an interesting scenario.  For years the USGA and PGA of America have avoided places in the South because of the high heat and humidity.  The PGA has been better bringing the championship to places like Southern Hills In Tulsa, Atlanta Athletic Club and Kiawah Island.  With the change to May you will see a lot more new courses in the South playing host to the PGA Championship.  But on the other end of the stick, courses like Hazeltine and Whistling Straits will probably never host anymore PGA Championship.  Now the PGA is still playing on going to Oak Hill in Rochester in 2023 and Trump National in Bedminster could be iffy.  Still with the PGA moving to May it will have a much better identity because right now wedge between the British Open, WGC Bridgestone and FedExCup playoffs, the importance of the championship has gone down a notch.  Another good move is the Players Championship moving back to March.  Frankly it will be better, since it’s move to May wind hasn’t been a factor to the championship because it’s not winding in May.  But it is in March, I think it will be better.

Tournament information:

This is the 99th 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:

  • Quail Hollow Golf Club
  • Charlotte, N.C.
  • 7,600 yards     Par 35-36–71
  • Quail Hollow features a course rating of 75.0 and a slope rating from the back tees of 140. The tees, fairway, and rough are 419 bermudaGrass with Perennial Ryegrass.  The greens were changed after last years event and are Champion Ultradwarf Bermudagrass.
  • One of the big secrets to Quail Hollow is that the players love the course. Located in Charlotte, North Carolina it’s considered one of the most exclusive clubs in America and in the players’ eyes one of the best challenges. For years it was consider it a “U.S. Open-type” venue and the PGA of America was smart enough to hold it’s major on it.
  • Quail Hollow Club is located in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is a private member club, founded by James J. Harris on April 13, 1959. The club hosted the Kemper Open from 1969 through 1979, the PaineWebber World Seniors Invitational from 1983 through 1989, and has hosted the Wells Fargo Championship since it debuted in 2003.
  • The property was originally a dairy farm owned by former North Carolina Governor Cameron Morrison. In the late 1950s, a group of affluent men decided to create a private club patterned after the Peachtree Golf Club in Atlanta. George Cobb was recruited to design the course and it opened in June, 1961. In order to attract members, one of the founding members enlisted the help of a close friend, Arnold Palmer. Palmer liked the course so much, he was instrumental in bringing the Kemper Open to Quail Hollow. The event was played there from 1969-79, then abruptly moved to Washington, D.C. in 1980.
  • Palmer didn’t forget Quail Hollow. When he began playing the Champions Tour in 1980, he worked to bring the Paine Webber Invitational to Quail Hollow, where it was played between 1983-88.  Palmer tinkered with the course in the late ’80s, but a major renovation was done by Tom Fazio in 1997.
  • Over the last 16 months a lot of things have been done to the course in getting ready for the PGA Championship.  Along with all of the greens being redone, thousands of trees were removed, a bit like what Oakmont Country Club did.  This will reshape the way the course plays and make the elements of wind come into effect more.
  • They also made major changes in four holes.  The first and second holes were condensed into a single hole, a 540-yard par 4. The fifth hole was changed from a par 5 to a par 4. A new second hole was built, a par 3. The 11th was given extra bunkering.  The average green size is 6,500, which is about average and the course is dotted with 62 bunkers.  Water comes into play on six holes (7, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18).  Along with the changing of the greens course architect Tom Fazio made some changes four years ago to the 8th hole making it play straight and now is potentially a drive-able par 4.  He also made a major change to 16, adding 18 yards to the hole and bringing the lake more into play, making it a lot tougher.  He also changed 17, moving the tee to the right and adding 20 yards to the hole.

Let’s take a look at key stats that are important for those playing at Quail Hollow:

This year the PGA Championship is being played at Quail Hollow. It’s an unique choice not that the course is not major-good, but the fact that the PGA of America and USGA tend to avoid courses that are regularly used on the PGA Tour. Of course the USGA goes to Pebble and Torrey Pines while the PGA has gone to Riviera, but it’s been close to ten years since this is happened when the USGA played the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. The big advantage is that for those playing fantasy golf we now can see who in the past has played well on a course and you can have an easy pick. It also makes this week’s stat comparison easier because we have a lot of history of Quail Hollow since it has held a yearly PGA Tour event since 2003.
So this week’s information is based on the most important stats for Quail Hollow, based on data from last years Wells Fargo, and using data from all the players in the field with stats from 2017. What we do is take their rank for each stat and then add up the four catagories.
The scoring average of the field at Quail Hollow in 2016 was 72.95, so with par being 72 that means the average score was just a shot over par, making Quail Hollow the 9th hardest course to score on in 2016. In the last 16 months the course has gone through a lot of changes. First all the greens were redone, putting in a new type of champion Ultradwarf Bermudagrass which should be good for the summer heat. They also cut down several thousands of trees, so Quail Hollow will be a lot sparser than we remember it being. They also have come up with four holes that will be totally different as the 1st and 2nd holes are now one long, 540 yard, par 4. The 5th hole was changed from a par 5 to a par 4 and a new second hole was built, it’s now a par 3. Also major work was done to the 11th hole. Now the famous finish is pretty much the same as before, but the course is now a par 71 compared to it being a par 72. Even with the reduce par, the course picked up 25 more yards and will play at 7,600 yards. Now the one thing that use to be bad and is even worst this year is the rough, it will be hard for players to get it on the green if they miss the fairway.
The course is most of the time hard, you look at the list of winners, they are some of golf’s best ball strikers like Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk, Vijay Singh and Lucas Glover. Yes some weird winners like Derek Ernst, Joey Sindelar and last year’s winner James Hahn, They are on the list, but most of the time your going to get a quality winner, someone that plays well in major championships and WGC events. So in looking at our four categories, they are all related to ball striking, except for the last category which I think will be very important and that is scrambling.
First is driving accuracy, the field hit a total of 51.01% of the fairways and was the 5th hardest fairway to hit on the PGA Tour. As for last year’s winner Hahn, he hit 57.14% of the fairways and was ranked T-20th. The course is also long, so players have to hit drivers off the tee and you don’t see many players lay back with a 3 wood or long iron. Our second category is proximity to hole, this is the cousin to greens in regulation which Quail Hollow was 8th in last year, but it’s important to see how close a player can get to the hole and at Quail Hollow it’s a bit over 43 feet and ranks 1st on tour in 2016. As for Hahn, he was T-13th. Our three category is strokes gained tee to green, again this gives an overall look at a player from the tee to the green, last year Quail Hollow was T-10th, the same for Hahn he was ranked 10th. Last is scrambling last year Quail Hollow was 16th while Hahn was 53rd.

You may say how come Hahn did do well in those stats and still win, frankly these things happen. But if you look at past champions like Rory McIlroy in 2015 he was very high up in those stats.

Still the secret is that this week a ball striker or a very good putter will rule and take the championship.

*Driving Accuracy: Important because the fairways are close to U.S. Open length and if you drive it into the rough, it’s tough.

*Proximity to hole: Hitting greens is important, last year Quail Hollow ranked 12th, but in proximity to hole, which tells how close players get to the hole, Quail Hollow ranked 6th as the players averaged getting it 40 feet.

*Strokes Gained tee-to-green: Course may have only been 25th hardest on tour, but you need to hit it long and straight along with hitting lot’s of greens. So this is important to find a player that will do this

*Scrambling: The percent of time a player misses the green in regulation, but still makes par or better.

Here are the 95 of 156 players from this year’s field with stats from 2017

Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.

Here is the link to the full 95 players that have PGA Tour stats for 2017

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

Key stat of the week

  • Hit it long and straight, avoid the 130 of bunkers and putt well making all your putts inside of ten feet.

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

  • Since the course will play at more than 7,600 yards, the “experts” will say bombers hold an advantage. But as you will see length is not the only strength you need to play well at Quail Hollow. Four of the 14 Wells Fargo winners (James Hahn, Jim Furyk, David Toms and Joey Sindelar) do not have the reputation as long hitters even though the 2005 winner Vijay Singh, Tiger Woods, Anthony Kim, Sean O’Hair, Rory McIlroy, Derek Ernst and J.B. Holmes do hit it long.  So it’s a 50/50 proposition on if longer hitters have an advantage.
  • This is one of those courses that will be perfect for a major championship.  Over the years it was written up that when the course was played in May during the Wells Fargo, it was the first real warm-up for the U.S. Open.  So it will be a perfect major championship venue because of its length, tight fairways with three-inch plus rough and fast undulating greens.  It always ranks as one of the toughest courses on tour.
  • Since the greens have some roll in them, 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 Day, 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, Ian Poulter, Webb Simpson, Paul Casey, Matt Kuchar and Rickie Fowler are in the top-ten for 2017 so these are folks to watch this week.
  • Putting is always a key in winning but this year good putters should have a field day this week. Green speeds were lowered in 2008 and Anthony Kim was 2nd in total putts.  But it popped up in 2009 as Sean O’Hair was T47th, the worst of any champion.  In 2010 McIlroy was T38th in this category while in 2011 Glover was 3rd.  In 2012 Fowler was T40th while in 2013 Derek Ernst was T34th. J.B. Holmes was T4th in total putts in 2014 while in 2015 Rory McIlroy was T-13th in putts and James Hahn last year was T-14th.
  • One of the keys to mastering Quail Hollow is playing well on the final four holes. Showing the difficultly of this stretch dubbed the “The Green Mile”, holes 16, 17 and 18 have been in the top-70 of the PGA Tour’s hardest holes.  Throw in the par 5, 15th it’s a challenging stretch in which the last five champions have excelled on.  How good, last year James Hahn played the stretch in 1 over, the same total as Rory McIlroy played it in 2015.  J.B. Holmes played the stretch in 3 under, in 2013 Derek Ernst was four under, in 2012 Rickie Fowler was 3 under, in 2011 Lucas Glover was 1 under and in 2010 Rory McIlroy was 3 under.
  • There is also the unknown factor in which the course could yield low scores to an unknown player. In 16 of the last 25 PGAs, the winner has claimed his first major in the PGA Championship like Jimmy Walker and 2015 winner Jason Day did.  So this could be a good omen for a Hideki Matsuayama, Jon Rahm, Patrick Reed, Matt Kuchar or Rickie Fowler. Rich Beem and Shaun Micheel weren’t household names when they won, so you never know if that will get repeated.
  • Now I don’t want to jinx the tournament, but weather in North Carolina has been terrible the last week and it will be tough on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with scattered thunderstorms each day with 80% chance of rain on Friday, 50% over the week end.  Rain will play a very important role because if the course does get wet, it will turn things into a long drive fest.
  • Need for patience.  This is one of those courses that par is your friend, so don’t look for low scoring.

 

Who to watch for at the PGA Championship

Best Bets:

Hideki Matsuyama

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T4 37 T35 T19

He is a very streaky player and he just happens to be in one really big streak. Also look at this record at Quail Hollow, he is 10 under in his last 8 rounds and was T-11th last year in the Wells Fargo.

Rickie Fowler

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T33 30 T3 T19 CUT T51 T58

This is a perfect time for him to finally win a major, loves the course and has done well winning the Wells Fargo in 2012 and was T-4th last year.

Jordan Spieth

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T13 2 CUT CUT

This guy plays his best under pressure, I like the direction he is going in and the fact that he wants to do well this week and claim the grand slam.

Best of the rest:

Rory McIlroy

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT 17 Win T8 Win T64 T3 T3

The fact that he has been in the top-ten in 6 of his 7 Wells Fargo appearances and in the 24 rounds is 59 under par showing that he really loves and plays the course great.

Phil Mickelson

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T33 18 2 T72 T36 T19 T12 73 T7 T32 T16 Win

Yes he hasn’t played well but he comes to a course that he seems to contend everytime he plays here. Just remember this fact, in last last 32 rounds he is 61 under par. He is also scrambling to make the Presidents Cup so he has added motivation to play good this week.

Justin Rose

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T22 4 T24 T33 T3 CUT CUT CUT T9 T12 T41

Another who hasn’t played well of late but he has played great in his last two starts at Quail Hollow.

Charley Hoffman

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT CUT CUT T40 CUT CUT CUT CUT

Has played great in his last two starts, comes to a course that he hasn’t done good at, but he hasn’t played Quail Hollow since 2011 so we will forget that and say he will contend this week.

Sergio Garcia

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT 54 T35 T61 CUT T12 CUT CUT T2 WD T3 T23

Never forget about him on courses that need good shotmaking to do well.

Solid contenders

Paul Casey

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T10 30 CUT T33 CUT T72 T12 T15 T40 CUT T59

Playing great right now, has played poorly at Quail Hollow but hasn’t played it since 2011 so I tend to forget his poor play on the course.

Matt Kuchar

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT 7 T22 CUT T19 T10 CUT

Another really good course for him, he too hasn’t played well at Quail Hollow but hasn’t played it since 2010 so may get a fresh feeling over it now.

Zach Johnson

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T33 CUT T69 T8 70 T59 T3 T10 CUT CUT CUT T17

On a roll and he has had mixed results at Quail Hollow. Have to think he will have a great week, based on his good play of late.

Tommy Fleetwood

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT CUT

Never played on the course, he should do very well.

Alex Noren

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T49 CUT T66 T34

Another European that could shine this week.

Long shots that could come through:

Ian Poulter

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT T58 T61 T3 T39 WD T19 T31 T23 T9 T47

Like him a lot, in his last start at Quail Hollow he was T-5th in 2009.

Lucas Glover

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT CUT CUT CUT 5 T50 T46 CUT

Has won on this course and is a great ball striker. Just has to have a good week of putting which has always been his biggest problem.

Branden Grace

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T4 3 T46 CUT CUT

Watch him this week, playing well and could master Quail Hollow.

Don’t see them doing it this week:

Dustin Johnson

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
CUT 7 T8 T48 CUT T5 T10

This is a course he has never done well on and I don’t see him contending this week.

Jason Day

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
2 Win T15 T8 CUT CUT T10

Just hasn’t gotten it together this year.

Brooks Koepka

2017 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05
T4 5 T15 T70

Never played on the course but I have a feeling it won’t suit his game.

Comments

  1. As per your stats Webb plays at Quail when home may be a sleeper for a cheap price.

  2. Webb Simpson could be a big sleeper this week. Only problem, it’s a lot harder to win while you playing at home, specially if its a major. You have a lot of distractions and things you have to deal with at home, that is why more pros will take a hotel close to the course over playing and staying at home.

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