Whistling Straits, home of this week’s PGA Championship, was the brainchild of Herb Kohler and Pete Dye. Built in the 1990s to mimic famous links courses of Ireland and England, “the Straits” looks over Lake Michigan, and you can see seemingly the entire state of Wisconsin. It’s not really a links course, though it can look like one. Links courses require great play on the ground, but Whistling Straits, which is built on clay and sand, can be tackled primarily in the air. As a result, being long – really long – is a huge advantage (though your wife might say otherwise – rimshot!).
What big hitters should we consider when handicapping the PGA Championship?
Jason Day (12/1) – The second-longest driver on tour, Day’s first attention getting performance was his tenth-place finish the last time the PGA Championship came to Whistling Straits (2010). Since then, he has finished among the top-five at six different majors including a fourth at the Open Championship this year. He was also ninth in June’s U.S. Open.
Dustin Johnson (14/1) – The top driver on the PGA Tour, Johnson has had a great overall year despite significant disappointment. He finished sixth in the Masters and second at the U.S. Open. (His three putt on the 72nd hole at Chambers Bay kept him from forcing a playoff.) Johnson has never won a major but has finished among the top-five four times – often in heart-wrenching fashion. He was fifth at Whistling Straits back in 2010.
Adam Scott (15/1) – There is very little on the golf course that Scott doesn’t do well. A top-five driver this year, he has finished among the top-ten in at least two majors in each of the past five years. He is the model of consistency. He was fourth at this year’s U.S. Open and tenth at the Open Championship. He’s also done well on the course before, finishing ninth at Whistling Straits during the 2004 PGA and 27th back in 2010. Despite his consistency, Scott has won just one major title to his name, the 2013 Masters.
Bubba Watson (27/1) – The longest driver last year, Watson is still bombing it in 2015, sitting third on tour. He hasn’t been a good performer at the PGA, finishing in the top-ten just once in eight tries, but that one was a second-place finish at Whistling Straits in 2010. The two-time winner at the Masters (where driving distance is vitally important) has also played his best golf of the year during the past six weeks.
J.B. Holmes (120/1) – For a second straight year, Holmes is among the top-ten drivers. He hasn’t seriously contended to win a tournament since April, but has consistently been among the top 30. He has never cracked the top-ten in a major, but played at Whistling Straits in 2010, finishing 24th.