Expert picks provided by: Jerod Kieler
On Twitter: @Jkieler1010
This season’s final major returns to Whistling Straits in Kohler, WI for the third time in the past 12 years. Both versions of the PGA Championship held here ended in a playoff, but the 2010 finish will go down as one of the most dramatic of all time. Dustin Johnson held a one shot lead heading into 72nd hole, but grounded his club in what he did not realize was a “bunker”, and missed out on the playoff by two strokes. Martin Kaymer would go on to defeat Bubba Watson for his first career major championship. This year, 98 of the top 100 golfers in the world, headlined by Rory McIlroy will make their way to the Pete Dye designed course. McIlroy returns to action after a serious ankle injury held him out of the Open Championship and Bridgestone Invitational. Rory won last year’s PGA Championship by one stroke over Phil Mickelson.
Once again, the Buzz Fantasy crew will be around the course on Saturday so if you see any of us rocking the BFL swag, come and say hello.
Now on to my picks:
1) Bubba Watson (4): In his last four starts on U.S. soil, Bubba has a win, two runner-ups, and a 13th place finish. Last week at the Bridgestone, Bubba made a late charge, but had to settle for 2nd behind Shane Lowry. The last time the PGA Championship was held at Whistling Straits, Bubba fired all four rounds under par and lost in a playoff to Martin Kaymer.
2) Jason Day (3): Day carded his fourth straight top-15 finish, by tying for 12th at last week’s Bridgestone Invitational. Prior to that, Day shared 9th at the U.S. Open, tied for 4th at the Open Championship, and won the Canadian Open. In Day’s last appearance at Whistling Straits, he shared 10th with Matt Kuchar.
1) Louis Oosthuizen (7): Louis has not been great outside the majors this year, so I will be using him for the last time when points are increased. In the three majors this year, Sweet Lou tied for 19th at the Masters and shared second at both the U.S. and British Opens. Oosthuizen did not fare well the last time the PGA was held in Kohler, but he seems to pick up his game when it matters the most this year.
2) Brooks Koepka (7): I am slightly worried about this pick as I am not sure I will have anyone left in Tier B when it comes to the final tournament(s) of the year. However, I could not pass on Koepka this week as I think he has a real chance to win come Sunday. In his last six worldwide starts, Brooks has not finished worse than T22. Last week at the Bridgestone Invitational, Koepka tied for 6th.
1) Justin Thomas (1): After a mini-slump, Thomas’ game has been trending in the right direction as of late. In his two most recent starts, Thomas tied for 5th at the John Deere Classic and then shared 4th at the Quicken Loans National. This will be Thomas’ first PGA Championship of his career.
2) Robert Streb (0): Streb started the year out on fire, but then hit a rough patch after the birth of his child. However, like Thomas, Streb’s game is trending in the right direction. In his last eight starts, Streb has seven top-20 finishes. Last week at the Bridgestone, Streb finished solo 5th.
Other Golfers Considered:
1) Jordan Spieth (Tier A): Spieth “struggled” last week at the Bridgestone and still finished in a tie for 10th. It was hard to leave him out of my top-2, but I just like Day and Bubba a bit better this week. If Spieth were to win, he would have the best major championship season of all time. So far he has two wins and a fourth place finish at the Open Championship.
2) Marc Leishman (Tier B): Despite struggling a bit last week, Leishman still has two top-5 finishes in his past six starts. Leishman seems to play well on links style courses and in windy conditions and Whistling Straits could fall into both categories if the winds blow off of Lake Michigan this weekend.
3) Danny Lee (Tier C): I also like Shane Lowry here who just won the Bridgestone Invitational. However, I am taking Lee here as he has been on fire as of late. Lee has four top-6 finishes in his past five starts. His only blemish came when he missed the cut at the Open Championship.