2016 PGA Championship Picks, Including the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #isitThursdayyet

Separated by just a fortnight from Henrik Stenson’s incredible performance at the British Open Championship, we head into the season’s final major—the PGA Championship.  Thanks to the Olympics, this year’s PGA edition is two weeks early, so we’ll be nearly 9 months from major championship golf come Sunday night.  Now that we’re all depressed, let’s talk a little about the course.

This week’s host track is the Lower Course at Baltusrol in Springfield, NJ, an A.W. Tillinghast design that is an outright brute.  At 7,428 yards and a par 70 (34-36), it played as the second toughest PGA Championship track in terms of winning score (-4) dating back to 2005, other than in 2008 when Padraig Harrington’s -3 won at Oakland Hills.  The unique thing about Baltusrol is that it closes with two par 5s, and they’re the only two par 5s on the entire course.  This does present some scoring opportunities at the close (although the 17th measures a whopping 649 yards), but what it really means is that successful players will have to be extra patient with brutal par 4 after par 4 for the first 16 holes each round, along with the mostly tough par 3s.  Overall, I expect for the scoring to be better this year than in ’05, but still certainly playing tough.  I’ll go with -8 as a winning score.

My picks last week at the RBC Canadian Open were, um, not too good, eh?  As my Lockzilla Tony Finau slapped his way around to a t-70th finish, Semi-Flier Ryan Palmer finished t-43rd and Driver-off-the-Deck BOLD play Morgan Hoffmann MC’d.  I did spot on nail Tom Hoge to miss the cut as my BUST pick of the week.

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

LOCKZILLA (Last week: Finau t-70th)

Bubba Watson
Bubba Watson
– Somehow, just somehow Bubba didn’t crack the top 20 in this week’s PGA Tour Power Rankings.  Well, all the better for us as that’ll keep his exposure that much more to the minimum this week, on a course that suits him perfectly with his prodigious length.  I do worry a little about his seemingly packed travel schedule of late according to his twitter account (media appearances galore!), but I’m going to trust my first instincts and roll with the goofball lefty as my top play this week.

SEMI-FLIER (Last week: Palmer t-43rd)

Lee Westwood
Lee Westwood
– Yeppers, I’m dipping back into the pool for another dose of Westwood this week, as I listed him in the same spot en route to his t-22nd at Royal Troon two weeks ago.  One of the few players in the field who also played here in the ’05 PGA (t-17th), his ball-striking prowess will be on full display this week.  Not by any means saying he can win, but I’m calling right now that he notches yet another major top 10.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST (Last week: Hoge MC)

Jason Day
Jason Day
– The World #1 comes into the week scuffling a bit, finishing t-22nd at the British Open and t-14th at the RBC Canadian Open.  Yes, “scuffling” is a relative term, as that hardly screams “slump,” but there is no question about it that he is absolutely gassed right now.  On Friday at the RBC Canadian Open last week, the look on his face when he made his long birdie putt on the 18th was more of shock/disbelief/oh-crap-I-gotta-play-36-more-holes-this-weekend than it was excitement.  Simply put, he’s not clicking on all cylinders right now, not even close actually, and I have a hard time believing that he’s suddenly going to turn things around playing his third straight tourney (something he almost never does).  Add in the extra pressure and media attention that comes with defending his breakthrough major title and I think Mr #1 in the OWGR is in for a rough week.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK (Last week: Hoffmann MC)

Justin Thomas
Justin Thomas
– The long-bombing youngster caught the tough end of the draw on Friday at the Open Championship, ballooning to a 77 and ultimately a t-53rd finish.  I do worry about his flatstick, as when under pressure it’s been known to not cooperate, but I like his recent form and confidence on this beastly course.  On a week when so many other big names are catching all of the attention, Thomas make for a great BOLD sleeper play.

#isitThursdayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

Comments

  1. Interesting thought on Day. He shot 69-67 on the weekend, and he didn’t looked tired at all. He’s an elite player in his prime… Wouldn’t surprise me to see a top-5.

    • Agree, he’s obviously an elite player in his prime, but despite his solid weekend play in Canada I’m going off of what I’ve seen lately, and that’s a tired Day who’s fighting his swing. He might still find a way to finish around t-15th, but he won’t sniff the top 5 with this current form, and anything outside the top 10 would be a major disappointment for a player of his caliber.

  2. Bubba is always a gamble……. He can pay off big time or be done on Thursday. ……. I’ll bite and roll the dice

  3. I like Scott Piercy. Did very well at the US Open and Bridgestone on very tough Par 70 courses in elite fields. I’m not concerned about his Open Championship missed cut.

  4. what do you think about Vijay , grace and kaymer ? Are they solid options who can make cut ??

  5. Kevin Na looks like a Solid option ? What do you say Joe?

  6. Joel It was great picks. Bubba,J.Thomas, Lee did really good and made the cut, Also Jason (lets take him out from faded list..hahaha) was a great pick too. Jimmy walker was a surprise and Dustin was a bust. what an interesting week. Lets get ready for the next Game 🙂

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