Golf’s second major has arrived as we head to Southern Hill’s for the PGA Championship. Last year’s championship was one of the most memorable in recent years as Phil Mickelson became the oldest major winner in history.
Unlike the Masters which is exclusive to Augusta National, the PGA Championship goes on a course rotation each and every year. This year it returns to Southern Hills in Oklahoma for the first time in 15 years. The last time we were here a certain Mr Woods won his last PGA Championship.
This year’s championship is the 104th edition of this prestigious event where the winner will be the recipient of the Wanamaker trophy. The Wanamaker trophy dates back to 1916 and actually coincides with the birth of the Professional Golfers Association of America.
The PGA Championship is one of the biggest sporting events in the world, let alone just the golfing world. Millions of people will be tuning in this week as the golfers go in search of golfs second major
After months of anticipation, PGA Championship week is finally here and with it, the prospect of one of the very best majors in recent memory.
This week’s field includes 156 players and is one of the biggest fields of the year. The PGA Championship is the only major that does not explicitly grant entry to the tour’s top 50 players so let’s take a look at qualification criteria.
- Every former PGA Champion
- Winners of the last 5 U.S. Open’s
- Winners of the last 5 Masters
- Winners of the last 5 Open Championship
- Winners of the last 3 Players Championship
- The current senior PGA Champion
- Top 20 from the previous year
- Top 70 money leaders on the PGA Tour
- Members of most recent USA/Europe Ryder cup teams
- All PGA Tour regular event winners in the last calendar year
The big news that dropped yesterday is that defending champion Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t played a PGA Tour event since January will not be in the field. Mickelson’s comments about the proposed Liv golf tour have seen golf’s oldest major winner not play since January and it remains to be seen when we will see him again.
The field this week does feature golf’s very best and past champions including Brooks Koepka, Colin Morikawa, Justin Thomas, Jason Day and Northern Ireland’s very own Mr Rory McIlroy who will be hoping to build on his last round at Augusta National to claim his first major since 2014.
Jordan Spieth will look to complete the career grand slam this week having already won the Open Championship, Masters and US Open. He might just come here in the best form of his career having won at the RBC Heritage recently and in contention at the AT&T Byron Nelson.
Other major winners join a packer field including Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Sergio Garcia oh and perhaps the greatest player of all time Mr Tiger Woods, who returns after competing at the Masters championship.
The field is set and we should be in for a fantastic championship, can Rory claim his first major in 8 years? Can someone new claim their first ever major championship? Or can Mr Woods do the unthinkable?
The tournament will begin on 19th May and run through to May 22nd.
2021: Phil Mickelson
2020: Colin Morikawa
2019: Brooks Koepka
2018: Brooks Koepka
2017: Justin Thomas
2016: Jimmy Walker
2015: Jason Day
2014: Rory McIlroy
2013: Jason Dufner
Southern Hills Championship Course
Established in 1935 Southern Hills will offer a true test to the golfers this week. For 90 years players have been launching drives off the first tee box toward the skyline off the property’s highest point. Redesigned in 2019 by Gil Hanse, the course features new tree lines and fresh bunkers with the idea to restore Perry Maxwell’s original design.
Southern Hill features many dogleg holes with plenty of Oak trees with the kind of rough we are used to seeing at the U.S.Open. It doesn’t get much easier on the putting surfaces either with huge banks and false fronts that will take any ball that’s short of its mark. Add in the creek and some of the most notorious bunkers on tour then Southern Hills provides a huge test for golf’s second major.
HOLE 2 – PAR 4 – 500 YARDS
Talk about a tough start! Any par 4 over 500 yards is challenging enough but this hole goes one further. The creek I mentioned winds in at 225 yards, parallel with the fairway and is waiting for any wayward tee shot. Even if the golfers manage to avoid that danger still awaits with a green that is slightly raised and a false front, with a quartet of bunkers protecting it. A hole that quite simply demands accuracy!
HOLE 12 – PAR 4 – 461 YARDS
You know a hole is challenging when Mr Arnold Palmer and Ben Hogan talk about it. Hole 12 features a blind tee shot with a fairway that slopes from right to left. It doesn’t get easier after that with the second shot over water and a series of deep greenside bunkers that will test any short game. Even if the golfers make it safely onto the dance mat they are greeted with a green that is banked so putting is treacherous.
HOLE 18 – PAR 4 – 465 YARDS
Every major course needs that exciting grandstand finish and Southern Hills is no different! A hole that features 8 bunkers is demanding enough but this hole goes one better by a specific landing area for tee shots. Put simply a drive here must land on the left side of the fairway, this is because it’s the only way the golfers will be able to go for this green in 2. The approach is fought with danger with the greenside bunkers waiting for any wayward approach. Add in a green that slopes from back to front then the championship may well be decided with a 3 putt bogey. An exciting finish awaits.
Strokes Gained Approach
Strokes Gained Off The Tee (Accurate Driving)
Strokes Gained Around The Green
Strokes gained on approach are always a key stat to look at and none more so than here. Southern Hills will demand accuracy from the tour professionals with danger everywhere. The bunkers around the green are unforgiving and will destroy a round should a ball land in them. Then there’s the green, golfers will specifically have to land the ball in certain areas to avoid the huge run offs. Accuracy is key and was evident in 2007 when Tiger Woods led the stat over 4 rounds on his way to win the championship.
Strokes gained off the tee are crucial around here with some of the longest holes on tour that have danger at every turn. Tee shots simply have to be accurate around this place with dog leg holes that have specific landing areas. Add the tree lined fairways, bunkers and Creek into the mix then golfers that are not near the top of the leaderboard in this stat simply can’t compete.
Golfers who have a very solid short game tend to fare well at Southern Hills. The run-off areas are treacherous, and players are often left scrambling to get up and down. If players can not get up and down for par around the greens here they simply can’t win, so strokes gained around the green is worth waiting into models this week.
This week’s forecast calls for record high temperatures in the 90’s, the perfect golfing weather. Keep an eye out on our final thoughts article next week for more of a weather update as we build up to golf’s second major.
The PGA tour rolls on and to Southern Hill’s for golf’s second major, the PGA Championship. This week’s contest has a €20 buy-in with a €20,000 prize pool.
€20 entry – PGA Championship Monster – €20,000 GTD – 19th May – 22nd May
€2 entry – PGA Championship – €1,500 GTD – 19th May – 22nd May
€2 entry –PGA Championship Round 2 – €600 GTD – 20th May
€2 entry – PGA Championship Round 3 – €600 GTD – 21st May
€5 entry –PGA Championship Round 4 – €1,000 GTD – 22nd May
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