August 7, 2013

2013 PGA Championship Preview

By - Brad Heerschop

Only three weeks removed from the British Open, the PGA's fourth and final major of the year is set to run from August 8th-11th. It seems like only yesterday we saw Phil Mickelson shoot that amazing final round to win in Scotland, but nonetheless, here we are.

This year's Championship is the 95th installment of the tournament, and the festivities will be taking place at the East Course of Oak Hill Country Club in Pittsford, New York. This will be the third time the scenic course has been host to the PGA Championship, the first two won by Jack Nicklaus (1980) and Shaun Micheel (2003). The East Course has also served as a venue for the U.S. Open on three occasions.

Photo by: Getty Images
Nicklaus and Walter Hagen hold the all-time mark for wins in the tournament with five apiece. Tiger Woods' four wins make him the only active player with more than two titles.

Nicknamed (for obvious reasons) "Glory's Last Shot," the PGA Championship probably brings the least luster of the four major tournaments in professional golf. Perhaps that's because it doesn't particularly have anything on the surface that separates it from the rest of the stops on tour.

The Masters is the only major that's always contested at the same course. The U.S. Open holds the notoriety of being extremely difficult to win, with the winning scores hovering close to par. The Open Championship is the only major played outside of the United States, and is the oldest golf tournament on the tour.

The PGA Championship? Well, its name is important sounding, but beyond that, I just don't think it compares to the other majors as an overall product. It's old, but it's not as old as the Open Championship. It's known for being difficult, but it's not as difficult as the U.S. Open.

To add fuel to my fire, it's way too close to the Open Championship, making the build up rather insignificant. Geoff Ogilvy hit the nail on the head when he once coined it as "the other one." Irishman Graeme McDowell was asked about the PGA Championship, and he succinctly said, "There's not a guy standing on the range that wouldn't put it head-and-shoulders over any tournament in the world -- apart from the other three majors."

But I digress. It's still a major and the purse is still for $8,000,000. I might complain about the tournament, but anybody who needs me this weekend knows exactly where to find me; on my couch watching it on TV.

As usual, the talk of the tournament is Tiger Woods, but this time the hype is even more well-deserved after his dominating 7-stroke victory at the Bridgestone Invitational this past weekend. The world's No. 1 ranked golfer shot a blistering 15-under in one of his favorite tourneys to play in, and looked up to old form. If you've read my articles before, you know that I am in no way at all a Tiger fan (quite the contrary in fact), but if I'm betting on the PGA Championship this weekend, I'll be taking the low odds that Vegas gave him at 4/1.

Mickelson (No. 2 in the World Golf Rankings) is another trendy pick at 15/1. With his British Open win three weeks ago, "Lefty" has his sights on another big stepping stone in his career.

The field is possibly the best thing the PGA Championship has to offer. It has long been considered to boast the strongest group of golfers of any of the four major tournaments. Among this year's field are defending champ Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood, Brandt Snedeker and a slew of other big name talent. As with every major, the best of the best will be on hand to showcase their skills.

Like it or lump it, the PGA Championship is the final bell for the season worth mentioning, with the exception of the FedEx Cup. So sit down, crack a cold beer, and enjoy the world's best playing the most frustrating game on the planet.

It should be quite a show.

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