Before we get to the all-important business of putting the PGA Championship-favorite monkey on someone’s back these couple of tidbits.
The PGA Of America will be announcing the move of this championship on Tuesday afternoon to a date in May. They’ve been working on this with the PGA Tour for a while. The PGA Tour wants to wrap up the playoffs with the Tour Championship on Labor Day to avoid the start of the NFL season. That makes perfect sense, it’s been in the works. The PGA will be contested in May of 2019.
The PGA Championship will move to a May date, giving us majors in April (The Masters), May (The PGA), June (U.S. Open) and July (Open Championship). It will probably also move The Players back to a March date where it used to be when the winds blow harder and weather can be more of a factor up there in Ponte Vedra.
Add the fact that the PGA often runs into crappy August weather. It’s no different this week in Charlotte where they are expecting thunderstorms on Thursday, Friday and Sunday, a 60 percent chance each of those days and on Saturday, a 30 percent chance.
A May slot will add more possible sites for the PGA Of America to choose from.
Okay, with that out of the way, let’s look at who might hoist the Wannamaker Trophy on Sunday at the re-designed Quail Hollow.
First thing you need to know is that this will be a beast of a long course — 7,600 yards and it’s probably going to be wet. Par will be 71 with only three par fives. Fast Bermuda greens on tap unless rain slows them down, which is a distinct possibility.
So without further delay, our favorites:
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA: How can you NOT pick him? The last image of him from Sunday was him blasting a 355-yard drive, dead center at the 18th hole then hitting a lob wedge, yes, lob wedge in there, about six or seven feet and holing the putt for 61. Firestone is a long, tight course, kinda like the long tight course they’ll face this week, albeit minus the bermuda greens.
So we’re riding the Hideki-san Express: Ganbatte-kudasi Hideki-san!
BROOKS KOEPKA: Time for our U.S. Open champ to quit being a slacker and get back to some serious business. He didn’t look all that great at the Open Championship but still managed a tie for sixth, tied for 17th at Firestone, time to get back to work Brooksie! Has the all-around game and power to handle this big-boy track.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: The Hoff lost in a playoff two weeks ago at the RBC and took third at Firestone. Trending in the right direction, drives the ball well. He put on his big-boy pants, told his caddie to get out of the way and he landed his second on the famous par five 16th on Sunday. What’s not to like about this guy?
JORDAN SPIETH: Hope Jordy doesn’t come out of his shoes trying to hit it farther this week. He is wild enough without doing that. Needs to hit some fairways and make a LOT of putts, a lot. That’s the only way he wins and completes the career Grand Slam.
RORY MCILROY: We’d make him the odds-on favorite if the guy could make a putt. Has putted like a pig most of the year. He’s finally getting to play after sitting out a lot of events earlier this season. Sure has the length, doesn’t have the wedge finesse game, doesn’t have a putter. Yet. Maybe that changes this week.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Saw his picture on a milk carton. Has anybody seen the D.J. from early this season?
JON RAHM: If he can keep it on the short grass.
SERGIO GARCIA: If he has recovered from his wedding hangover.
JASON DAY: No, absolutely not.
RICKIE FOWLER: Another year without a major.
That’s enough for now.
Don’t be surprised if someone rises to the occasion, someone you don’t expect.
Kinda like Jimmy Walker last year.