Where: Quail Hollow Club. Charlotte, NC.
When: August 10th-August 13th
Defending Champion: Jimmy Walker
Last PGA Championship at Quail Hollow: Never. This will be the first time Quail Hollow hosts a major after hosting the Wells Fargo Championship on the PGA TOUR between 2003-2016 but didn’t host this year to prep the course for this upcoming PGA.
Course Layout: 36-36=72. 7600 Yards. This is the longest Quail Hollow has ever played, passing the 2015 Wells Fargo total at 7,575 yards. Since 2009, the winning score has been between -9 and -15 every year except for Rory McIlroy in 2015 who won at -21 torching the field winning by 7 shots.
TV Coverage: Thursday August 10 & Friday August 11: 1:00-7:00PM TNT. Saturday August 12 & Sunday August 13: 11:00AM-2:00PM TNT, 2:00PM-7:00PM CBS.
Expected Weather Conditions: It’s looking to be a warm and stormy week into weekend in Charlotte. While winds look to be rather low, there is at least a 50% chance of rain Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with the best chance being on Friday. Players can expect highs in the mid to high 80s and some potential delays due to thunder/lightning throughout the week.
Sleeper of the Week: Xander Schauffele. Talk about a guy coming out of nowhere. Xander has taken the PGA by storm this year and is very much on his way to potentially the rookie of the year. Schauffele finished T5 at the US Open and T20 at the British Open and also was victorious at the Greenbrier Classic. He has catapulted his way up to 72 in the world and is coming off of a T13 at a stacked field at the Bridgestone. There’s a good chance that hot streak continues.
10. Kevin Chappell: What has been a relatively up and down 2017 for Chappell has kept him right around where he started this year in the OWGR. Still, the no. 26 in the world is coming off consecutive top 15s and has two top 25s in majors so far this season. Long course should suit him well.
9. Phil Mickelson: My gut wants me to put him first every week, but the window really is starting to close. He has consistently been average this season, with only one missed cut but only three top ten finishes. Still, he’s been solid at Quail Hollow historically and can never count out anyone with his short game.
8. Jason Day: What an odd year has it been for Jason Day. Finishing at no. 1 in the world to end 2016, he has dipped to 7, and has really been all over the place. What used to be consistency has turned into sporadic play. Still, it seems that if there is anyone that can bounce back from a couple bad performances, it’s him.
7. Charley Hoffman: This guy has been rolling this year. Four top-eight finishes since the US Open at Erin Hills including a 3rd place finish at the Bridgestone. He seems to consistently have three good rounds to keep him in the hunt. It’s the fourth that can make or break his chances.
6. Thomas Pieters: He had a real chance to take home the Bridgestone until Hideki Matsuyama came out in the final round and ran away with it. Bomber who can pipe it and make this course a lot easier.
5. Hideki Matsuyama: Speaking of Hideki, it would be hard to not rank the guy who took home the trophy this past week. Top 15 performances in all three majors already this season, expect another and maybe Japan’s first major. Just a tough course for him.
4. Brooks Koepka: Why not? This is a course that is up his alley for sure. With the major win this year, he is coming in with confidence and really hasn’t had a poor performance since before that victory in June.
3. Rickie Fowler: Come on dude. Here is your shot to finally get that major. Rickie has played Quail extremely well, including his first win at the Wells Fargo in 2012 and nearly winning the same tournament in 2016. Expect him to contend.
2. Jordan Spieth: You’re wondering how I could put anyone ahead of him? Spieth admitted that his putter was not working in his most recent tournament last week at Bridgestone. Slight cause of concern, and it’s difficult to win back to back majors…but he’s already done it once.
If I had to pick a winner, it would be.. Rory McIlroy: A two time winner already at the Wells Fargo makes him the favorite and frankly I agree. This course suits him perfectly, and the consistent success he’s had there makes me want to pick him. Sure all of his game isn’t perfect right now, but by watching him, a couple tweaks and he’s that #1 that he should be. I like his chances this weekend.