“You know when you’ve won the PGA, you’ve beaten the best.”
To the land of cheese and rolling, dairy covered hills for the PGA Championship we go. Kohler, Wisconsin is the destination and Whistling Straits is again the venue, hosting golfers to a place bound to become one of the PGA’s main homes over the years to come.
“I remembered wondering if I could see Ireland across the water. I remember thinking it was a creative masterpiece. It really is an exceptional place. And it certainly doesn’t seem like you’re in the United States when you’re there.” — Davis Love III, 2010
The PGA Championship marks the final major of 2015. Among the four major championships, this event features the deepest and most challenging field to beat. No number of amateurs and a full 156 player field make it perhaps the one with the most true clout and merit, even though it lacks on the other three in prestige.
97th PGA Championship Facts
- Rory and Tiger are in the field this week.
- The 2015 PGA Championship returns to Whistling Straits for the second time since 2010– the site of Martin Kaymer’s first win
- From 1916–1957, the PGA Championship was contested as a match play event
- Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods are playing in this event.
- In the last 10 playings, 6 different countries have been represented in the winners circles.
- Whistling Straits is the 2020 Ryder Cup host
- Liang Wen-Chong holds the course record with a 64 in the 3rd round of the 2010 PGA Championship. Here’s where Wen-Chong is now…also, here’s his major championship record:
- Steve Elkington finished T5 in this event in 2010 at the age of 47. Granted, he feels older than that even.
- The bunker that bit Dustin Johnson in 2010 has been covered. Read the story on ESPN.
- Oh yeah, many of you might like to know that Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods are both in the field this week. Perfect. I won’t touch on them much throughout the rest of this article, but trust me, I haven’t forgotten they’re in the field.
Highlights of the 2010 event:
Course– Whistling Straits
Built in 1998, this Kohler, Wisconsin design is another one of Pete Dye’s renowned courses and perhaps, one of his best designs. He has other famous courses worldwide of course, but with so many boasting difficulty, Whistling Straits (the Straits course) is a universally well-regarded golf course.
Featuring the classic rolls, hills and nobs Dye loves so much, Whistling Straits utilizes the natural terrain in an authentic way (for some of the holes). The massive falloffs around many of the greens make the table top greens feel like a performance stage, but golfers are given fair opportunities for safety with large green complexes (avg. size of the greens are some 7,500 square feet).
In all, Dye has 5 different designs in the state of Wisconsin (two courses at Whistling Straits, two at Blackwolf Run and one in Hayward called Big Fish).
From the back tees, the Straits course has a rating of 77.2. That has to make Pete smile.
And it does.
“I should say this with some degree of modesty. But in my lifetime, I’ve never seen anything like this. Anyplace. Period.” — Pete Dye
Initially an anti-aircraft training facility for the U.S. Army, this area of Lake Michigan beauty was re-designed as an homage to golf’s origins. The wind, the water, the hills– it was the blueprint given to Pete Dye by Herbert V. Kohler Jr. during walk throughs on the land almost 20 years ago.
To build the course, a lot of dirt needed to be pushed and worked with to make it a reality. Man’s footprint is quite apparent. Everything about the course on the edge of the lake was manufactured to some degree by man. With the amount of true, natural links courses in America today, it’s a bit of a bummer the course isn’t as authentic as it seems from images and TV.
Sheep roam the land, as well. They were acquired specifically for Whistling Straits, with the idea that they would wonder the property freely just like you’d see on a country course in the British Isles.
In total, 8 holes sit directly on Lake Michigan and the water of the lake can be seen from all 18 holes.
Weather is weather and is subject to change, of course, but here’s the early outlook.
The take here is that the winds will be relatively moderate off the shores of Lake Michigan and the lack of precip in the days leading up could lead to a dryer, firmer golf course. Aside from some rains this weekend, there hasn’t been much rain in the area at all over the past few months.
I am looking for the course to look as barren and dry as it’s looked since 2004.
Full Field & Featured Groups
Click here for a link to the entire 2015 PGA Championship field.
Governed by the PGA of America, this event offers yet again, a unique twist to the players compromising the field along with their venue selections over the years.
TV Times (All times ET)
Airing mostly on TNT throughout the week, the Golf Channel will be providing ample coverage, as well as CBS hosting the weekend finale of the event.
The broadcasting crew will be headed by Ernie Johnson and filled out with Ian Baker-Finch, Verne Lunqvist, Bill Macatee and David Feherty.
Last 5 Champs
2014: Rory McIlroy in the dark over Phil and Rickie (Recap here)
2013: Jason Dufner Dips His Way at Oak Hill (Recap here)
2012: Rory McIlroy Wins on the Coast of South Carolina
2011: Keegan Bradley, Surprise Major Winner 2011
2010: Martin Kaymer Wins for Germany
This Week’s Picks
*Disclaimer: I, Troy Klongerbo, have correctly picked the last two PGA Championship winners correctly. This one, THIS ONE, I take seriously!* 😉
The 2015 PGA Championship Preview
THREE Fellas From the Fairway (Contenders)
Has the internet reached the limited on content written about one man? I mean, had the internet been around in 1969, I’m not sure many more articles would have been posted about our successfully landing on the moon than have been on young Jordan Spieth.
Newly 22, he has claimed “added motivation” for this event after losing his bid at the Grand Slam. A scary, scary proposition.
Can’t not have him on the list this week.
Sure, he missed the cut at the 2010 PGA last time here, but I’m going to chalk it up to a first round inexperience, as he followed his 78 (+6) with a nice round of 69 to give himself a chance at the weekend, although he ended up missing.
He’s hit the ball so well every week, it’s been hard not to like him in each event he enters.
His WORST finish (in stroke play) this season has been a T37 at the Shell Houston Open and hasn’t missed a cut over here. Four top-10s and a couple runner-ups have him knocking heavily on the door for more contention.
Sergio will bring his game this week and play top-10 caliber golf in major championship play.
Rickie Fowler’s play this year has pretty much shut up everyone that uttered the words “overrated” about him earlier this spring. A win at the PLAYERS and strong finishes all season (as well as a solo 2nd a few weeks ago) has him playing some of the best golf anywhere on the PGA Tour (aside a few of the obvious ones…)
Ranked 5th in the world, Rickie doens’t have any strengths that point to him any given week, but his lack of weaknesses make him a threat. Top finishes all summer will see the trend continue in Wisconsin.
A Cheesehead From the Fescue (Sleeper)
Can Rory McIlroy make this slot? He’d seem like a fitting choice, as we’re not even sure if he’ll be pegging it up. But I’m going with Kevin Kisner as a dark horse to compete this week.
Kis’ 2015 season has been career defining, making his way into 3 playoffs, all of which he would unfortunately lose. But he was there and playing with the bullocks to get there. Can’t deny he’s already been one of the most surprising players of the year.
Now disregard the fact that he doesn’t even know what gear to pack and take his play for what it is. As one of the more accurate players in the world off the tee, I like Kisner to keep his ball out of the fescue and his putter will give him a push to a surprising finish. He’ll be the 2015 version of Zach Johnson (who finished at -10 in 2010).
Do I need cold weather gear for PGA? Never been there in summer time
— Kevin Kisner (@K_Kisner) August 3, 2015
The Wanamaker Trophy Owner
Aside from a final round 74, Day was perfectly in contention last time around at Whistling Straits in 2010. His third round 66 was second to only the course record that day fired by Liang.
His blistering play so far this year has been stamped with two wins. He’s a threat to win every time he tees it up and I believe even more so this week. Number 1 in birdie average on the year, Day is also the #2 long-baller on Tour and a top-10 in total strokes gained.
Top-10s in both Open championships this year– the US and British– have Day poised at the door of major glory. Not with a pitchfork or a fist, but with a massive bludgening club. He’s ready to knock the door down. And he’s going to do so.
Jason Day, a major winner in 2015.
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My Successes This Year
I’m hoping to keep the good vibes going, as this year’s been a good one for me. I’ve forecasted a few good ones and although I know bragging isn’t necessarily good, but hey, I’ve struck out so much this year, let me enjoy the good ones!
- Brooks Koepka’s win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open (Read Preview here)
- Brandt Snedeker’s win at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am (Read Preview here)
- Near miss (2nd) with Stenson at Bay Hill (Read Preview here)
- J.B. Holmes win at the Wells Fargo Championship (Read the Preview Here)
- Bubba Watson’s win at the Travelers (Read the Preview here)