The PGA Championship: Johnsons for Days

One major left. The gang is all back, as Rory returns from injury and Tiger golfed a somewhat significant round last weekend. Who will take down the Championship? Dunton is back for one last 2015 Major Preview.

The year’s final Major is here. The final shot at glory, the last chance at making history, the final hurrah of a fun filled four Major run.

And, what a season it has been. We have watched Jordan Spieth destroy the field at the Masters, grind out a win at Chambers Bay for his US Open, and come oh so close to a putt that would have put him in a playoff at St. Andrews. We saw Zach Johnson win the Open Championship and witnessed Dustin Johnson give one away. That course, man, we could not stand to look at it anymore, and that broadcast?!?! A certain network’s debut at major coverage took a big old “F”. And of course we saw the slip… no the fall… no the plummet of Tiger Woods from the golf rankings and from our minds as a relevant contender. It has been quite a year and this week at Whistling Straits we are in for quite a finale.

If the 2010 PGA Championship —  the last one played at Whistling Straits — is any indicator of what to expect this week then expect the unexpected. You remember that one five years ago, right? When Dustin Johnson forgot to read the signs posted all over the locker room and hit a shot from a bunker, that he didn’t know was a bunker, after he had grounded his club costing him a stroke and most likely the championship. Then Martin Kaymer went on to beat Bubba Watson in a playoff. That was fascinating and made for great television. This week I expect nothing less than that sort of entertainment with a field that is much more wide open than the golf rankings may indicate.

Rory is back after his ligament tear, Jordan is already taunting Phil with a US Open trophy in practice rounds, Bubba is still waiting for a drive to land from Firestone, and Dustin is, well Dustin is tinkering with a new putter. Oh yeah, don’t forget that guy from Florida who sort of showed up at the Quicken Loans National with a top 20 finish that could have been better if he would have been consistent for four rounds.

So who do I have my eyes on this week? It’s been a rough year for Wayniac Nation’s golf guru so I am trying to make amends here with this week’s picks. Looking at the field it really is anyone’s guess of who is going to hoist the Wanamaker Trophy. I’m not going to include Rory or Jordan because everyone already knows they are contenders.

Let's cut DJ some slack, huh? (Photo Cred: Golf Digest)
Let’s cut DJ some slack, huh? (Photo Cred: Golf Digest)

Dustin Johnson: His length off the tee is a huge advantage at this course. If DJ is in the fairways off the tee he is in great position to score on many holes (that’s what she said) but we all know it comes down to putting. Like I mentioned earlier, he is now tinkering with the putter. Not the time to be doing this, DJ. I don’t think it will be a misunderstanding of what is and what is not a bunker like his previous go, but this time it’s the putter that prevents DJ from winning his first major. If the putter gets going watch out, but I want to see it over four rounds.

Zach Johnson: Zach is coming off one of his best major performances with his victory at St. Andrews and his last time at Whistling Straits he was one shot from a playoff. I like Zach’s approach to the game. He is consistent off the tee and when his putter gets going he is locked in. The length of the course is going to be Zach’s kryptonite but if he can manage the length and his long iron game is working, then Zach can be winning a second major in a row and his third overall.

Photo Cred: USA Today
Photo Cred: USA Today

Bubba Watson: Bubba was oh so close in 2010 when he lost in the playoff. This past weekend he put on a driving display for the ages. It wasn’t just his length, but his accuracy that was astonishing. If he can come close to matching that this weekend then watch out. The only reason I don’t have Bubba as my winner is because his short irons have been letting him down lately. It’s great that he can bomb it but now he has to stick it close on the approach. Bubba’s wedge game could be the difference maker.

Adam Scott: You know Adam has had a quiet year by his standards but when you look at where he has finished in Majors it may surprise you. He finished tied for 38th at the Masters, tied for 4th at the US Open, and tied for 10th at the Open Championship. Adam knows how to grind out a win and maybe it’s his turn to grab his second Major championship. This course is not foreign to him and his run at the previous two Majors may play in his favor. He is running out of time with his belly putter so why not go out with a win at the last Major you can legally use this putter.


And the winner is:

Jason Day: Jason has been too close this year to ignore. I still say that if not for vertigo, Jason is our US Open Champion. Then he just missed out on the playoff at the Open Championship. I look at Jason and I consider him quite possibly the best player without a Major. He is the only top five player in the world without one and his year this year has been fun to watch. Jason is long off the tee and is iron game is just what is needed to tame Whistling Straits. Of course it always come down to putting, but Jason is not one that worries me like DJ. I think the only thing stopping Jason from winning this one is another case of vertigo, or a guy named Rory or Jordan.

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