PGA Championship Preview and Prediction

PGA Championship

Quail Hollow, Charlotte, NC

Past Champion: Jimmy Walker

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Sadly, the PGA Tour season is on its final leg of the Major Championship series, finishing with the PGA Championship at Quail Hollows. We have seen Sergio claim his first Major victory at The Masters, Brooks Koepka bomb it around Erin Hills to capture the U.S. Open, and recently watched Jordan Spieth dominate down the stretch to win the 3rd leg of the career Grand Slam at the Open Championship. Who will take down the final major of the year?

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Quail Hollow, which has been the site for the Wells Fargo Championship, is hosting a major championship for the first time. However, this is not a Quail Hollow track we are used to seeing. With renovations made throughout the entire course, with a few completely different holes, as well as new Bermuda grass installed on every green. Not only will the renovations make Quail Hollow play differently than in the past, but the rain that has fallen and will fall throughout the week has changed the way the course plays as well. Not only will are the greens faster, but the rough is thicker, and with the addition of the rain, it is even more important to hit fairways this week at Quail Hollow.

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FORE PGA Championship Storylines

Grand Slam Dreams

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Go Get That Grand Slam

Jordan Spieth has the chance to become the youngest golfer ever to complete the career Grand Slam beating Tiger by about 4 months. After his heroic Open Championship victory a couple weeks ago, Spieth is in as good of form as ever to complete the career Grand Slam in his first opportunity. A victory at Quail Hollows will cement Spieth legacy as one of the greatest young talents the game has ever seen.

All Eyes on Rory

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Many golf experts and analysts are calling this years PGA Championship Rorys to lose, and rightfully so. With two victories under his belt at Quail Hollows, along with 6 Top 10’s, Rory is without a doubt the favorite heading into this week. After struggling through the middle of the PGA Tour season, Rory has picked it up with Top 10 finishes in his last 2 starts (The Open and Bridgestone). If Rory can attack this golf course as he is accustomed to doing here, this tournament could be over before it even starts.

 

SHORTS! SHORTS! SHORTS!

If you haven’t noticed yet, the PGA of America gave golfers the permission to wear shorts during practice rounds this week, and the golf media went wild. I wouldn’t be doing my job (this isn’t my job) if I didn’t have a take on shorts being allowed on the course during practice rounds, but in the words of newly unretired Jay Cutler…DONT CARE! God forbid players not have to sweat their asses off week in and week out during the PGA Tour season.

 The Green Mile

One of the more exciting and challenging finishing stretches in golf belong to Quail Hollow and “The Green Mile”. If you can walk out even par over the final three holes you will most likely gain at least one stroke on the field as all three tend to play over par. Come Sunday, you are going to want to tune into the final groups as they make their way through The Green Mile because anything can happen.

PGA Championship Prediction

Dustin Johnson (+1200)

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Similar to Erin Hills, I believe the weather is going to effect Quail Hollow and it is going to be a bombers paradise. What better player to pick than the No.1 Player in the World, and the best driver of the golf ball on Tour. After winning three starts in a row, DJ experienced quite a slip up (pun intended), and hasn’t been the dominant force we saw earlier in the year. You can’t pass up 12-1 odds on the No.1 player on a course that plays to his strengths (Great DK Value too). Dustin picks up his 2nd Major this week at Quail Hollow.

Darkhorse Pick of the Week

Gary Woodland (+10000)

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Long hitter.

Greens in Reg.

5 Top 10’s.

Due for a W.

Draftkings Team of the Week

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Enjoy the final Major of the year!

THE PLAYERS Championship Preview and Prediction

THE PLAYERS Championship

TPC Sawgrass

Defending Champion: Jason Day

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Touted as the 5th major of the year, THE PLAYERS Championship is the most star studded field of the season with 46 of the top 50 players in the world competing. THE PLAYERS Championship, similar to the Masters, is played at one course and one course only, and that course is TPC Sawgrass. Home of the iconic 17th Island Green, Sawgrass is said to be in the best condition it has ever been in according to the likes of Jordan Spieth and Florida native Billy Horschel. With a perfect course and a stellar field, this is a golf fans dream! Expect tons of drama come the weekend, especially once the final groups hit the home stretch of 16, 17, and 18.

FORE THE PLAYERS Championship Storylines

Day to Day

While there has never been a back to back winner at THE PLAYERS, defending champion Jason Day is in a great spot to do become the first. As my DK Obvious Pick of the Week, I believe Day will be in the mix on the weekend and with everything surrounding his mother and it being Mother’s Day on Sunday the good karma should be flowing for Day and his family.

Stars are out at Sawgrass

Boy Oh Boy do we have a deep field this week! With 24 of the top 25 players in the world playing this week this is the first tournament of the year we really get to see the best of the best competing against each other  (DJ included). We may finally get to see the real powerhouses of the sports such as DJ, Rory, Spieth, Rickie, and Day all at the top of the leaderboard on the weekend competing for one of the most elusive trophies in golf. Regardless of who takes home the beautiful crystal trophy.Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 4.01.56 PM.png

Unlike the Masters coverage, the featured groups for Thursday and Friday on PGA Tour Live are AWESOME!

“Better Than Most”

The famous Island Green, Par 3 17th Hole, at TPC Sawgrass is just that, better than most. With the iconic “better than most” call during the 2001 PLAYERS Championship taking place on this green, there is no better way to describe this golf hole. One of the most iconic holes in the game of golf, will provide drama all week from possible hole in ones like Rickie in a Wednesday practice round to Sergio putting it in the drink TWICE on Sunday.

Luckily you can follow along with the action on the 17th all week on Twitter.

Go for Broke? Or Lay Up?

The newly renovated, now driveable, Par 4 12th hole will create some difficult choices for players whether to try to drive the green or lay up. If the tee boxes are moved up (whispers of Thursday and Saturday) the hole will be playing a measly 305 yards to the middle of the green, however as you can see the green is heavily guarded with a new pond down the left side of the green. It will be interesting to see how these players attack this hole.

THE PLAYERS Championship Prediction

Rory McIlroy (+1000)

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Between the new $100 million equipment deal with TaylorMade and his new marriage, everything is coming up (as if he needs more) Rory and I think in a star studded field, Rory takes the (wedding) cake this week. Not to mention when I heard he was carrying a 1 iron in the bag this week I got legit giddy. Not to mention McIlroy is on the record saying in all his years of testing clubs, “I’ve never been this excited about equipment as right now”, which seems like a pretty good indicator he feels comfortable with the switch coming into this week. Rory has finished in the top 10 four times this season in only 5 PGA Tour starts, which is pretty decent imo. In the right mindset and form to really attack this course Rory is my pick this week at THE PLAYERS.

Darkhorse of the Week

Brooks Koepka (+3500)

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Five Top 25 finishes, including two 2nd place finishes, Koepka is right on the doorstep of getting a W this year. With the definite firepower to compete with the big boys, I would not be shocked to see Koepka in the mix this weekend. Also, not only can Koepka win you some money, but if he gets a hole-in-one this week Michelob Ultra is giving away thousands of free beers (http://www.espn.com/golf/story/_/id/19350077/fans-win-2280-cans-beer-brooks-koepka-fires-ace).

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THE PLAYERS Championship is a Must Watch for any golf fan, especially with this star studded field. Enjoy the coverage and some serious weekend drama!

Follow me on Twitter (@mattmarks19) for live updates and highlights from THE PLAYERS.