This week the PGA Tour prepares for the fourth and final major of the 2014 PGA Tour season. This year’s PGA Championship is being played at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky. Valhalla will play to 7,458 yard, par-71 course for the season’s final major. It has been 14 years since Valhalla hosted a PGA Championship. Jason Dufner is the defending champion and in the field for the 2014 PGA Championship. In fact, 99 of the world’s top-100 will be in the field. The only exception is Dustin Johnson who is currently taking a self-imposed leave of absence from competitive golf. For those that do not remember, this was the site of the three- hole epic playoff between Tiger Woods and Bob May in 2000. If you want to view more epic moments in the tournaments history you can check out Top-10 PGA Championship performances.
August 7 – 10 2014
Thursday-Friday: TNT 1 – 7 PM EST
Saturday: TNT 11 AM – 2 PM EST, CBS 2 – 7 PM CBS
Sunday: TNT 11 AM – 2 PM EST, CBS 2 – 7 PM CBS
$10 million total purse
Key Holes Preview
The first point of note for the newest installment of a Valhalla based PGA Championship is all 18 greens have been changed or modified entering the 2014 PGA Championship. Above and beyond the green changes are five holes that the players should pay close attention to as they attempt to win the PGA Championship. The 550 yard, par-4 second hole affectionately dubbed “The Ridge” will challenge the players from tee to green. This dogleg left hole comes with a touch of “Floyd’s Fork” in the mix. This waterway runs down the left side of the hole and is in play for even the smallest of miscues. A long approach with either a hybrid or long iron will be challenged by multiple bunkers protecting the putting surface.
If players successfully navigate “The Ridge,” they will step to the tee of a challenging third hole dubbed “Floyd’s Fork.” The third hole is a 205 yard, par-3 guarded by three bunkers; one on the left, one behind and a large bunker to the right of the green. The hazard is in play if a tee shot ricochets off the slope due to misjudgment of the wind. The field will get a slight reprieve, by major championship standards, until they approach the 495 yard, par-4 six hole. “The Bear” is no walk in the park and will rank as one of the hardest holes this week. Despite the length of the hole, players will be forced to choose wisely on the tee box in hopes of getting as close to “Floyd’s Fork” as possible. A long to mid-iron will be the club of choice to a challenging green compound protected by a deep bunker on the left and a tight grass collection area to the right. Four pars this week will gain a shot on the field.
The 508 yard, par-4 16th hole nicknamed “Down the Stretch” will crush many a players hopes this week. “Down the Stretch” is a slight dogleg right with trouble down the entire right side. That trouble comes in the form of Brush Run Creek. If players miss right but avoid the creek they will be challenged with a block or interrupted approach shot making par a stretch at best. The green is surrounded by two bunkers in front and a challenging tight grass area to the right which will collect many a golf ball this week. Par here at 16 all week will pick up strokes on the field.
The closing hole at Valhalla is one of my favorite finishing holes in golf. It is visually appealing and offers a unique risk-reward opportunity for players trying to win a major. The 542 yard, par-5 nicknamed “Gahm Over” will test the mettle of many in the field. Water is in play down the right side of the 18th providing no relief for a ball left out to the right. However, a player that guards to the left runs the risk of hitting it in a large fairway bunker design to crush the dreams of the hopeful. The pot bunker in front along with the large bunker also protecting the front help frame a horseshoe shaped green that pays homage to its Kentucky roots.
I am changing up how I make my picks after listening to many requests. Instead of the previous win picks I will attempt to give a top-3 that can be valuable to everyone’s fantasy golf leagues as well. Below are my top-3 picks for the 2014 PGA Championships
2014 PGA Championship Top-3
|Rory McIlroy||It might not be a secretive or off the wall pick but sometimes the most logical choice is the choice. In 2014, Rory has made the cut in all 12 events that he entered. He has also finished in the top-25 12 times the top-10 eight times, and has a runner-up at the Honda. His last two starts are both victories in two of the toughest fields of the year at The Open Championship and the Bridgestone Invitational. Lat years rumors of his early demise are dismissed.|
|Rickie Fowler||His last three starts are flat out impressive and would be talked about more if it was not for Rory. In his last three, he finished tied for eighth at the Bridgestone Invitational, tied for second at The Open Championship, and tie for second at the US Open. In the seasons only other major, he finished tied for fifth at the Masters. Valhalla could be his breakthrough performance.|
|Keegan Bradley||The 2011 champ is flying under the proverbial radar. He finished tied for 19th at The Open Championship and tied for fourth at the US Open. Owner of three top-4s in his last six including a tie for fourth last week at the Bridgestone Invitational. Has been below par in 11 of his last 12 rounds with no worse than a 69 in his last six. Don't sleep on Keegan at Valhalla.|
Who will win the 2014 PGA Championship?
- Rory McIlroy (33%, 22 Votes)
- Other (Leave a comment) (32%, 21 Votes)
- Rickie Fowler (23%, 15 Votes)
- Keegan Bradley (12%, 8 Votes)
Total Voters: 66