Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the final major of 2018 – the PGA Championship. For its 100th edition this week, the PGA Championship comes to Middle America. Justin Thomas comes into the event not only a champion of last weeks Bridgestone Invitational but as defending champion of the PGA Championship. It will be interesting to see whether the in-form youngster can handle the different pressures that come with defending a major title.
Rory Mcilroy comes into the event as a two time PGA Championship winner. He will be hoping to prove the critics wrong this week. The reality is that bad press about his choice of caddie, or his on-course demeanour has actually taken away from the fact he’s been trending in the right direction leading up to the season’s final major. he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, was in the final group on Masters Sunday, and had a top 5 finished at last months British Open. Mcilroy has finished in the top 10 in five of his first six appearances at the PGA Championship and will see it as a great chance to end his drought of no majors since 2014.
Having already won 3 of the 4 possible majors at the age of 25 years old, this week is arguably Spieth’s most important on the yearly calendar. The popular American has had, by his standards, a disappointing season. However, there were signs of the real Spieth a few weeks ago at Carnoustie where he shared the 54 hole lead and was on course to defend his Open title before falling away on Sunday to a T9 finish.
Spieth’s record at the PGA is somewhat surprising given his success at the other majors, his best finishes have come in the last two years with a T28 and T13 to his name. Despite his previous shortcomings, there is no denying his credentials for a charge at the career Grand Slam and the golf romantics will agree that there may not be a more storybook ending to the 100th PGA Championship.
Justin Thomas emphatically solidified himself amongst golfs elite with a win at last year’s PGA Championship. The aggressive and fearless brand of golf means that any week that Thomas tees it up, he posses a great threat. Despite missing the cut in the Open Championship, he has had an impressive season with three wins and seven top 10 finishes. Can Thomas win back-to-back PGA Championships to join Tiger Woods as the only player to do so this century?
Plagued with back injuries and struggling with his driver, you would be forgiven for thinking we would never see Tiger win a major again. However, the 42-year-old and 4 time PGA Championship winner has in his words become “healthy again” allowing him to produce the iconic powerful swing he’s renowned for. He is piecing his golf game back together rediscovering his short game flair around the greens and a new putter in the bag. You would be a brave man to suggest that Tiger won’t be celebrating his 15th major title come Sunday. Check out his odds here
The world Number 1 Dustin Johnson oozes class and will be feeling he is ready to add to his majors having won the US Open last year. Johnson performed impressively over the weekend at the Bridgestone last weekend carding 66-64 so he’ll be feeling confident that his game has peaked at the right time. He’s had a good year with three wins and on two other occasions held a share of the 54 hole lead. Notably, DJ has finished in the top 10 in half of his appearances at the PGA Championship so he justifies the favourite tag.
JJ Spaun is not a well known golfer, there’s a reason for that and why he’s approx 250/1. Despite this he has four Top 10 finishes in 2018. Including third place finishes at the recent Barracuda Championship & the prestigious Byron Nelson Classic. He’s not going to blow the opposition away but if he starts low he tends to keep scoring through the tournament. Still gaining experience his GIR and Birdie Average are up there with the top players at 22nd & 13th on the PGA tour respectively this season.
Bellerive Country Club plays host to the PGA Championship this year. The course was designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr and the major layout is a 7317-yard par 70. By modern standards, this isn’t a particularly long course; it could pave the way for a diverse leaderboard with different strategies used to tackle the course. Bellerive Country Club is hosting its third major championship having hosted the 1965 US Open where Gary Player became just the third man to complete a career Grand Slam; and the 1992 PGA Championship where Nick Price won his first major. The course record is held by a number of golf’s greatest talents including Gary Player, Vijay Singh, Brad Faxon and Tiger Woods.
The best players in the world will assemble to take on the Jones design. They plan their schedules around peaking for major championships with Ryder Cup Points, lucrative prize money and a chance to win a place in golf history, it is no surprise we see all but two of the top 112 in the world rankings compete.