PGA Championship - Power Rankings
There is little rest for the weary. In 2016, there will be only one week between the final two majors of the season. Springfield, New Jersey’s Baltusrol will host the PGA Championship for the first time since Phil Mickelson claimed the title in 2005.
Baltusrol, located approximately 30 minutes west of New York City, is one of the most prestigious clubs in the New York/New Jersey area, and will serve as a wonderful venue for the season’s final major. The Baltusrol website provides intriguing insight into what makes this facility so special:
Golf has been played over the grounds at Baltusrol for twelve decades, first on a rudimentary nine-hole course, then on the “Old Course” of 1895, and now on the Lower and Upper Courses, designed and built by A.W. Tillinghast between 1918 and 1922.
Baltusrol’s golfing grounds have been an evolving landscape. The courses have advanced to stay current with technological and player skill improvements in the game. The history of golf at Baltusrol is a reflection of the history of golf in America – like the gutty golf ball, hickory shafts and persimmon club heads of yesterday have advanced to today’s multi-piece balls, light weight graphite shafts, and highstrength composite metal heads.
The courses which opened in 1922 were the culmination of Tillinghast’s “Dual Courses” project, a bold initiative to build two courses side by side at the same time. Untried prior to Tillinghast’s proposal, the Dual Courses concept was an historic accomplishment in the world of golf course design at the time and made Tillinghast’s career. In fact, his seminal work at Baltusrol was designated a National Historic Landmark by the United States Department of the Interior's National Park Service. Baltusrol is also listed on the State of New Jersey and Federal Registers of Historic Places.
While Tillinghast’s courses have been lengthened and strengthened for modern tournament play, the architect’s designs remain intact and have been carefully preserved over the years.
Below are a look at the players to keep an eye on this week, as well as my DraftKings lineups for the championship.
Dustin Johnson - Finished only one shot back last week at the Canadian Open. His game is sharp, and his relaxed demeanor has been assisting him to get the most out of his game.
Jason Day - The defending champion has been ranked as the world number one for 22 weeks of the last year, and has won 7 times.
Henrik Stenson - What he did at Royal Troon was historic. His play was sensational, and it will be fun to watch this week to see if he can continue to build upon the powerful statement he made in capturing the Open Championship.
Rory McIlroy - Since October, he has only missed two cuts on Tour, and has not finished worse than 27th when making the cut. Coming off a T5 finish at the Open Championship.
Phil Mickelson - If it wasn’t for Henrik Stenson putting on the performance of a lifetime at Royal Troon, we would have been saying that it was Phil who had done so. A Thursday 63, and Sunday 65 more than made a statement regarding the shape of Phil’s game going into the site of his 2005 PGA Championship win.
Adam Scott - Made a lot of noise early in the season, winning twice. It is hard to continue producing numbers such as these, but Scott has continued to play solid golf, and he is always someone to watch for in all four majors.
Matt Kuchar - I have to believe that he is thinking that his time is now. Another top-10 finish (T9) last week at the RBC Canadian Open to go along with six others since the Masters.
Bubba Watson - Has proved time and again that he is always a threat. While not every course will suit his eye, there isn’t a field he can’t top.
Sergio Garcia - Played well at the Open Championship. Does not play a ton on the PGA Tour, but when he does, he seems to compete.
Jordan Spieth - Has cooled off significantly since last year, but I just can’t bring myself to think that he won’t play well. Too often we think he is slumping, which may not be fair, considering that we are comparing him to performances last year that were the best we’ve seen since Tiger in his prime.
J.B. Holmes - Coming off a 3rd place finish at the Open Championship to go along with a T4 at the Masters earlier this year. Often flies below the radar despite the fact that his game deserves much more attention.
Lee Westwood - One would think that time is running out for him to claim a major title. The past decade has seen him make significant charges at titles, the most recent being this year’s U.S. Open. It was a final round 80 which cost him.
And now let’s take a look at my DraftKings picks for the week.
As is the case with every major championship, it can be very hard to make draft choices, for there are so many worthy choices. The picks I’ve made are solely players who have had recent success. In doing so, I’m attempting to “play the percentages”.
Dustin Johnson - $11,600
Matt Kuchar - $8,600
Branden Grace - $8,000
Lee Westwood - $7,900
J.B. Holmes - $7,700
Charley Hoffman - $6,000
Rory McIlroy - $11,400
Justin Rose - $9,800
Sergio Garcia - $9,400
Tony Finau - $6,900
Jhonattan Vegas - $6,500
Brandan Steele - $6,000
This article was written by Jonathan Carr (@jonathanwcarr) as part of our weekly #FantasyGolf series. Each week we preview the upcoming PGA Tour event and highlight some of the players we'll be keeping an eye on. As a scratch golfer himself, Jonathan has a keen eye for what it takes to be successful on and off the golf course. His passion for golf is surpassed only by his passion for his faith and his family.
Read some of Jonathan's other articles here.