The PGA Championship is the last chance of lifting a major championship trophy for any pro golfer. Players leave everything on the line, and it is normally one of the most hotly disputed tournaments of the season. This season, the site of the PGA Championship will not be unfamiliar to some of the players, as the Lower Course at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, NJ will host the event for the very first time since 2005.
Phil Mickelson won the event in ’05, and if you missed his performance in the British Open a couple of weeks ago (not bad for a 46-year old) he should be in contention again at a place that will bring back good memories for him.
Henrik Stenson, who outdueled Phil Mickelson on that historic Sunday the site of the British Open, at Royal Troon, could be another favorite, but I’m anticipating a little hangover after winning his first major championship.
Baltusrol is a 7,462-yard par 70, and is definitely a test. There’s only one hole with water in play, but the rough is long and the fairways are narrow, shooting straight will be critical for whoever needs to win the 98th edition of the PGA Championship.
The hole layout is also one of the most fascinating the players will see all season. A par 70 means that birdie chances are scarce, and at Baltusrol the two par-5s that players could take advantage of and birdie are the last two holes. Holes 17 and 18 will make or break a player’s round if they are able to capitalize on them. For an interesting end with all the possible scoring chances taking place down the stretch, it should set up on Sunday.
Another major storyline is that Tiger Woods officially pulled out of the 2016 PGA Championship along with the remainder of the 2016 season, but let’s focus on the golfers that are playing this week, who has the best chance to win, as well as the part they’ll play this week.