Learn about the course for the PGA Championship and what types of golfers are likely to succeed on it for PGA DFS.
Before jumping into the details of this week’s PGA Tour Event, I wanted to mention a timeline for all PGA DFS items that you can expect each and every week from Frank and myself:
- Monday: Course/Event Preview
- Tuesday: Cash article, GPP article, Cheat Sheet, PGA DFS Stream
- Wednesday: Chat room (8pm EST) to answer questions
Without further ado, let’s jump into this week’s event:
Event: PGA Championship
Dates: Thursday May 20th through Sunday May 23rd
Course: Kiawah Island (Ocean Course)
Field: 156 players
Cut: 70 and ties (yes this is different than the normal 65 and ties we see every week on Tour)
Past Winners: Last hosted PGA in 2012 w/ McIlroy winning
- Thursday/Friday: 7am-1pm EST (ESPN+), 1pm-7pm EST (ESPN) plus Featured Group coverage
- Saturday/Sunday: 8am-10am (ESPN+), 10am-1pm EST (ESPN), 1pm-7pm EST (CBS) plus Featured Group coverage
- Kiawah Island is one of the more interesting courses to host a major. The course is right on the ocean and is heavily influenced by wind. Even when forecasts may call for 10-15mph we often see random gusts up to 25mph that wreak havoc on players who are trying to control their shot. Wind wreaks havoc on shots here more than most courses because most of the holes are elevated so that the ocean can be seen (more elevation means greater exposure to wind).
- On the scorecard, Kiawah could play close to 7,900 yards but it will not pay to that yardage for the event. The PGA will be moving tees around based upon wind direction. I would expect most days that we see a course between 7,500-7,600 yards. The way the course is routed, we see the first half of each nine in one direction and the second half coming back in the opposite direction.
- Kiawah Island is Pete Dye designed and is one of the best designed golf courses in the world in terms of angles and forcing players to commit to their shots. Players will feel very uncomfortable on a lot of shots this week.
- With the expected variance of tees, it’s not even worth talking about what yardages are for the par 3s, 4s and 5s. The tees will be moved everyday and wind will be a heavy influence on how the holes play.
- In order to succeed on this course, you must have a strong mental game, be able to control your ball in the wind and be patient with a solid game plan to attack only when the opportunity presents itself.
- Off the Tee:
- The landing areas on this course create a lot of thought and force players to commit to their shots. The course designer, Pete Dye, set up the course with angles off the tee box such that players often will need to have the correct distance and line otherwise they will be in the sand, water or have a bad angle for their approach shot. Even though the course goes out and back, Dye created angles on each shot such that really no consecutive shots are going in the exact same direction. This wreaks havoc on the player as they are constantly trying to figure out how the wind is going to affect their shot.
- Yes, distance will help this week off the tee, but players will also have to be precise if they want to have the best chance at success on a hole. So I would look more towards overall Off the Tee stats this week and not just focus on distance or accuracy.
- Approach Shots:
- This will be the most important stat of the week. You will see approach shots from every type of distance this week. The major key this week is to be able to control distance and direction with your irons. Look at overall Approach numbers as opposed to a certain distance.
- The greens this week are seaside paspalum which typically are very slow but this week they will run close to PGA Tour average between 11.5-12 on the stimpmeter. The greens are heavily sloped and wind will affect putting. Putting will have a slightly less emphasis on a normal week because of this.
- Around the Green:
- The greens here are about Tour average in terms of size overall but we see a large variation in each green’s size. We have some massive greens and some small greens. Most of the greens are also elevated with runoffs which makes the greens smaller from a playable perspective. The green’s surrounds are often shaved areas so expertise in short game will be important this week.
What type of player typically succeeds here?
- I see one clear path to victory at this course:
- Overall solid ballstriker who plays well in the wind and is patient and knows how to strategically attack a course. A preference to an elite around the green game as well.
What areas of a player’s game will be tested the most this week?
- Largest emphasis:
- Strokes Gained Off the Tee
- Strokes Gained Approach
- Strokes Gained Around the Green
- Mentally Acuity and Fortitude
- Smaller emphasis:
- Strokes Gained Putting
Check back in on Tuesday for the Cash article, GPP article, Cheat Sheet and DFS Stream.