I don’t believe people should live in the past, but I think I am allowed the freedom to gloat a touch to start this article. Before reading the 2014 PGA Championship Preview with Picks and Predictions from Valhalla, I want to raise the ante and add some pressure to my picking this week. Check who I picked to win in 2013 and let’s keep the good-times-a-rolling! Does lightning strike twice?
Valhalla. Returning for the first time since the 2008 Ryder Cup and hosting a major for the first time since 2000, this Jack Nicklaus design is ready to host the best players in the world, despite the thoughts of one Sergio Garcia. Last time the PGA was in Louisville–14 years ago– this happened:
In one of the greatest major championship finales in history, Bob May was the unlikely foe to phenom Tiger Woods. He played the best golf of his career and went toe-to-toe with the golf’s Goliath. Unfortunately, he didn’t have enough rocks to sling. If you have 5 minutes, this is worth your time.
So who do I like at Valhalla?
Hear Dillon Friday and Troy Klongerbo’s thoughts on the PGA Championship and upcoming Ryder Cup here (PODCAST)
Leishman is considered by his peers as one of the best iron players in the game. He hits them extremely long, while finding the surface of the green 65.66% of the time. His play recently has been world-class, notching top-5s in his previous two starts (T5 The Open, 3 WGC-Bridgestone).
His game should fit in well at Valhalla– a tree-lined golf course which requires length. On courses with similar characteristics, Leishman has faired well (Congressional T8, Torrey Pines T2, WGC-Bridgstone 3).
He’s playing well now and I expect him to carry it into Kentucky.
His recent form (missed cuts at both the US Open and British Open) give no implications that Lee will play this week, but I am giving Lee a chance this week.
A final round 63 at the Bridgestone may jump start his confidence into the final major of the season. He still performed well at the Masters in April and he has the strengths in his game to play well at Valhalla. He’s played here in both 2008 (Ryder Cup) and 2000 (PGA Champ). In 2000, Lee finished T15.
Familiarity with the course and a great Sunday gives me good vibes going forward with Lee.
He wants to make the Ryder Cup team so bad, he can feel it in his teeth. He isn’t the type of player to relent when he desires something. His play at the Bridgestone showed me his desire to finish the season strong.
This golf course is again, a Keegan Bradley type golf course. He’s won a major before, the 2011 PGA Championship. He played well last week at the Bridgestone. He played well at the Greenbrier (T4) and Open Championship (T19) as well.
This feels like too much of a no-brainer.
Wins in each of his last two events and he’s hitting the ball about as well as we’ve ever seen him hit it. He has the horsepower to blow away fields. He’s done it time and time again. Rory is playing too well and I gave an additional contender pick above to compensate for my overall bland, but concededly wise decision this week.
Rory guys. Right now, he’s too good.
Let’s play golf!
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