The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island will be the setting for the 103rd PGA Championship, the second major of the season. Pete Dye’s Ocean Course at Kiawah Island is the longest track in Major Championship history. The home of the 1991 Ryder Cup and the 2012 PGA Championship, the course should provide a stern test from Tee-to-Green.
This long and windy course is reminiscent of other Major hosts like Whistling Straits (2015 PGA Championship) and Chambers Bay (2015 U.S. Open), two decent comps to what we’ll see this week. Good to great performances on Dye courses should also paint a larger picture of who has the chance of doing well this week. The list of Dye courses on TOUR is Austin CC (Match Play), Crooked Stick (2012 AND 2016 BMW Championship), Harbour Town GL (RBC Heritage), Stadium Course, TPC Sawgrass (THE PLAYERS), TPC River Highlands (Travelers), TPC Louisiana (Zurich Classic), TPC Stadium, PGA West (The American Express, 2016-present) and the aforementioned Whistling Straits (2015 PGA Championship).
Historically, this Major has given way to some breakout wins. Not necessarily longshots, but golfers like Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Jimmy Walker, Jason Dufner, Martin Kaymer and Keegan Bradley can all call themselves Major champions, a group only a PGA Championship can bring together.
Jordan Spieth seeks to become the seventh player in the sport’s history to win the career Grand Slam, but other players like Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm and Bryson DeChambeau may have different thoughts. This week should be highly competitive with how well the top-ranked golfers are swinging it. Recent wins for Rory, JT, Bryson and Spieth will have the public chasing the top. Young talent like Will Zalatoris, Viktor Hovland and defending champion Collin Morikawa are also playing well coming into this week.
Since 2012, the average winning odds are slightly under +3800, with Jimmy Walker having the longest at +15000 in 2016 and the shortest coming from Rory in 2014 at +500.
No one is better over the previous 50 rounds on Dye courses than DJ, ranking first in SG: Total. Sure, his recent finishes read like he’s the 100th-ranked golfer (no disrespect, Sami Valimaki) and not the world No. 1, but the Ocean Course may be a place he can get back on track and add to his Majors mantle, which already holds a U.S. Open trophy (2016) and a 2020 Green Jacket. Dustin has finished runner-up in the last two PGA Championships at Bethpage Black and TPC Harding Park. He also finished seventh in 2015 at Whistling Straits. His second place at Chambers Bay in the 2015 U.S. Open, which sits on the Pacific coastline, should also indicate Johnson’s ability to play well in these conditions. Johnson’s last two finishes on Dye course are a 13th at the RBC Heritage and a win at The 2020 Travelers Championship.
Ancer is another Pete Dye specialist to make the card and someone who’s been playing well leading into this week. As mentioned in the Preview Article, Ancer is one of those players who won’t be hitting it long, but should be hitting it from the fairway more times than not, ranking third in fairways gained and second in good drives gained over the previous 50 rounds. A top five finish at the Valspar and a runner-up at the Wells Fargo a couple of weeks ago is precisely the form you want to see when backing a player this week.
Like Ancer, English was a selection in the preview article as a player to target for DFS. His number has increased since last week, a gift we potentially can take advantage of this week. The three-time winner on TOUR notched his first victory since 2014 on a windy course at Kapalua against a strong field in the Tournament of Champions. His 2014 win was the OHL Classic at Mayakoba, which also has paspalum greens. English loves playing in this part of the country and could add to his stellar performances at recent Majors, finishing 21st at the 2021 Masters Tournament and fourth at the 2020 U.S Open.
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