2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits Picks + Predictions, Plus the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #isitThursdayyet

Ah yes, it’s PGA Championship week, and Glory’s Last Shot.  Oh wait, I don’t want to irk the Ponte Vedra crew, as the PGA Tour ditched that nickname a couple of years back now, so “The Season’s Final Major” it is.  Whatever happened to good nicknames anyway?  In golf’s history, we had the King, the Golden Bear, the Black Night, the Slammer, the Squire and today we have, um, Tiger, Lefty, Pink-shafted Bubba, flat-billed Rickie and yep, no nicknames whatsoever.  Come on boys, let’s pile up some trendsetting nicknames stat, ok?  Anyway, that’s enough of that, let’s hop into this week.

The host course for this week’s “The Season’s Final Major” is Whistling Straits near Kohler, Wisconsin, which is playing host to said “The Season’s Final Major” for the third time in just twelve years (ok, I’ll stop messing with the nickname thing now, I promise).

It’s a Pete Dye design, which tips out just over 7,500 and a par 72.  It’s a Scottish links-style look and feel right here smack dab in the heartland, effectively making it the third British Open-style course that the Tour has visited for majors this season (kinda sorta Chambers Bay, St Andrews being the two others).  To build the course, they had to send Matt Damon to the planet Mars, film the movie The Martian, then have him come back and move over 1 million cubic tons of Earth to create the wide open, massive terrain.  Ok, the last part of that sentence was true.  Anyway, it’s a course that is wicked, wild, dramatic, gorgeous, overly penal, stupid, crazy, unfair and just flat out awesome all wrapped up into one that we will all use selfishly for our own viewing pleasure this week.

A mixed bag for my picks last week at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, as Lockzillas Rickie Fowler (t-10th) + Brooks Koepka (t-6th) both cracked the top ten, but others were mostly disappointing, highlighted by Dustin Johnson, who has gotten incredibly good at giving up on weekends when he’s out of contention.

Now, let’s hop into some picks for this week:

LOCKZILLAS (Last Week: Fowler t-10th, Koepka t-6th)

Jim Furyk
Jim Furyk
– Don’t start jumping ship just because of one (more) melt job by Jimbo.  Yes, he has definitely let his fair share of tournaments slip away over the past 3-4 years, but he’s also a big game hunter and is in fine form coming off of his t-3rd last week at Firestone.  He was -8 and in great position at Whistling Straits headed into Sunday in 2010, only to fire a final round 77 and finish t-24th.  That “poor past finish” will have him overlooked by some, so will the fact that some think he’s not long enough to compete here.  To that I say, fairways + greens folks, all, day, long.  Jim is as solid and safe of a pick as they come this week.

Bubba Watson
Bubba Watson
– Riding the hot hand here, Bubba is my pick to win this week.  The perfect combo of course history (playoff loss in 2010) plus fine form of late.  Not only did he finish solo 2nd last week at the WGC-Bridgestone, but recall that he had a relatively poor course history at Firestone prior to last week, which just tells you that he’s extra confident about his game at the moment (in that he played well where he hadn’t previously).  As we all know by now, Bubba is NOT a player that you want to target when he’s lacking confidence, or when he hates a particular course, neither of which is the case this week.  Bubba takes home the Wannamaker this week.

SEMI-FLIER (Last Week: DJ t-53rd)

Brooks Koepka
Brooks Koepka
– As big of a no-brainer in DFS as they come lately, as his price continues to remain low and his results continue to be so solid.  Following last week’s t-6th at Firestone (of which he got virtually zero tv coverage), Brooks now has six straight top 25s worldwide, including both Opens.  Oh yeah, and he finished t-15th in his PGA Championship debut last year at Valhalla.  As much on the “up and up” as any player in the game at the moment, hop aboard if you haven’t already.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST (Last week: McDowell t-17th)

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods
– Don’t call it a comeback, because yep, it’s not.  No, a stat-happy t-32nd at the Greenbrier and a nearly season best t-18th at the Quicken Loans National vs the junior varsity squad don’t impress me, sorry folks.  Even prior to his Post-HGH Full Body Breakdown, Sir Eldrick didn’t play Whistling Straits well, as in ’04 and ’10 he went t-24th and t-28th here, hardly memorably good considering the overall form he sported from the late ‘90s thru 2013.  Good luck trying to go all hack city out of the fescue that actually has some bite this week Tiger (the St Andrews fescue was friendly and he still wildly missed the cut).  Don’t get sucked into the Tiger “comeback” folks, he’s still planet Mars away.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK (Last Week: Haas t-25th)

Lee Westwood
Lee Westwood
– Oddly enough, Lee was also my DOTD-BOLD play at the PGA Championship last year, to which he posted a t-15th at Valhalla.  As I mentioned in my PGA write-up last year, Lee will never win a major and is one of my two least favorite players in golf history.  That being said, I respect the guy’s talents, he’s one helluva ball-striker.  And, I will never pass up a good opportunity to roster/recommend someone with a high level of talent at a discounted price (Value!).  Lee has had a season to forget and has no good course history here (one MC), but he finally seemed to find somewhat of a stride last week at Firestone (t-17th) and will carry those clompy feet forward into a solid finish again this week.

#isitThursdayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

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