Writer: Lucas Garza
Justin Thomas won the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone CC in Akron, Ohio last week. Thomas comes into this week’s PGA Championship at Bellerive CC in St. Louis as the reigning champion and in great form. This is the second time Bellerive will host the PGA, the other time being in 1992 when Nick Price won.
Due to St. Louis’ cold April followed by a scorching hot May, the ground crew has had to be extremely careful with not losing the course’s bent grass greens, which have already lost their root structure. With this week’s rains, it would not be surprising to see the green speeds not get over 11-11.5 on the stimpmeter. Going into the week, there was a lot of talk that players who work the ball from right to left would have an advantage on the course due to the course’s many dogleg lefts, but the recent rains have players thinking that any player with a high and long ball flight can contend.
Justin Thomas would be a big favorite due to his high ball flight that travels a mile and his good form. No player has successfully defended their PGA title since Tiger Woods went back to back in 2006-2007.
After missing the cut at the Open Championship, World No. 1 Dustin Johnson won the next Week at the RBC Canadian Open. He is known for his distance, but plays a flatter ball flight. Either way, Johnson will need his putter to cooperate for him to be in contention
Tiger Woods had a disappointing weekend in Akron after a decent first two days. His back looked tighter than normal, but he has not complained about any pain. No matter what, Tiger seems to be happy that he is able to play on TOUR full time now, and considers his comeback complete.
Other possible contenders this week include Jason Day, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, and even Keegan Bradley, who are all some of the best players from tee to green. Putting will be a little easier for the majority of the pros due to the expectations of slower greens.