2018 PGA Championship Preview

PGA Championship Preview

The Course

Bellerive Country Club, St. Louis, MO

7,380 Yards, Par 70

Nick Price won when Bellerive last hosted the PGA Championship in 1992, but the course has undergone some major renovations since then. Rees Jones toughened up the course in 2006 (Jones has also worked on Torrey Pines and Winged Foot), but it appears the greens are running slow due to heavy rains this week. My guess is we’ll see a winning score around 15 – 16 under par.

Six of the par 4s measure over 450 yards, and the 524-yard 4th hole usually plays as a par 5 for the members. The back 9 has a ton of elevation change and tree lined holes (reminiscent of Augusta), and long bunker shots abound here. It will take a good driving week for the winner.

The Field

This is a monster field, with 156 golfers teeing it up. All the high-ranked players will be here, but there are also 20 or so PGA club pros that qualify (awesome). The era of the club pro winning majors ended long ago, so you can write these guys off as far as actually competing (although there are some great stories). Look towards a high-ranked, heavy hitter to win this event, as the last 7 major champions have all been ranked top 25 in the OWGR.

Trends

– Six of the past seven winners of the PGA Championship finished T15 or better in their previous start before winning this event (Thomas finished T24 in his prior start in 2017).

– Four of the past seven winners of this event ranked sixth or better for the year in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee in the year of their win (Dufner 46th in SG:OTT in 2013; Justin Thomas 30th in 2017).

– The past four winners of the PGA combined to average 308.7 yards in Driving Distance for their years of their win.

Odds (Moneyline)

Dustin Johnson +800
Rory McIlroy +1200
Justin Thomas +1400
Jordan Spieth +2000
Brooks Koepka +2000
Jason Day +2000
Rickie Fowler +2200
Justin Rose +2200
Jon Rahm +2500
Tiger Woods +2800
Tommy Fleetwood +2800
Francesco Molinari +3300
Patrick Reed +3500
Tony Finau +4000
Alex Noren +5000
Henrik Stenson +5000
Patrick Cantlay +5000
Paul Casey +5000
Xander Schauffele +5000
Bubba Watson +5000
Hideki Matsuyama +6600
Marc Leishman +6600
Joaquin Niemann +6600
Webb Simpson +7500
Thorbjorn Olesen +7500
Bryson DeChambeau +8000
Kyle Stanley +8000
Louis Oosthuizen +8000
Matt Kuchar +8000
Phil Mickelson +10000

Prediction

Remember how I just said it would be a heavy-hitting, top-25 player that won this tournament? Nope. I’m going with a weird hunch and saying Ryan Moore. I really don’t have a great reason for you, but if there’s a major someone you don’t expect to win can, it’s this one (see Jimmy Walker, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Y.E. Yang, Shaun Micheel, Rich Beem, etc.). I’ll be wrong as always, but it’s worth a shot.

Losing Draftkings Lineup

Tommy Fleetwood

Patrick Cantlay

Ryan Moore

Jason Day

Xander Schauffele

Joaquin Niemann