It’s here, folks. The PGA Championship. The fourth and final major of the season, and the last chance to win and join an exclusive club of history’s greatest golfers. Boasting a field of 156 of the world’s top ranked players, the PGA Championship’s Wanamaker Trophy is statistically the most difficult hardware to hoist on the pro circuit. This year’s event will be held at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Playing as a 7,600-yard par 71, Quail Hollow is a bomber’s paradise. The course features eight par-4’s that play over 450 yards and is home to a final stretch of holes known as the “Green Mile.” Combine this with the forecast of heavy rains (which leads to soft fairways and consuming rough) and QH is going to be a marathon to some players. For this reason, a premium is put on golfers who make their living off the tee. Historically, guys who hit the ball a mile have feasted at Quail Hollow, and the renovations and conditions only point to more of the same.
One of these notable bombers is Rory McIlroy, a two-time winner at Quail Hollow. He is the consensus favorite in Vegas, alongside Jordan Spieth who will be striving for the career Grand Slam after winning the Open earlier this year. It may seem predestined for these two studs to showdown on Sunday, but consider this: the PGA Championship has produced champions with an average world golf ranking outside of the top 35 players. The margins between these professionals are razor thin. Of any major, this is the one to stockpile sleepers that fit the course and are in good form.
On to my picks for the week!
Winner: Rickie Fowler. He has the game and he knows what that major pressure feels like on Sunday afternoon. Got his first professional win at Quail Hollow. Time to cross his name off that “best player to never win a major” list.
Sleeper: Tony Finau. An average driving distance of 309.2 yards (5th on Tour), three top-10 finishes in his last six starts, and a history of strong play at QH, Finau should not be valued at 75/1 in Vegas.
GPP Value Play: Charlie Hoffman. At $6,500 I expect Hoffman to be in contention Sunday. A seasoned veteran having the best season of his career, Hoffman will not be playing for second place at Quail Hollow.