PGA Championship: ‘Hit it long or it will be a tough week.’
“The 590 yards can play 500 or 490 when you get that much wind,” said Justin Thomas.
Like Rahm, he didn’t want to even think what playing some of the holes from the back tees would be like, especially the par-3 14th. “Guys are going to be literally hitting driver on that hole. Unless the PGA wants seven-hour rounds,” Thomas added, “I wouldn’t advise it.”
Rory McIlroy beat the Ocean Course when it hosted the PGA nine years ago (and measured 200 yards shorter) with a sizzling 13-under score — eight shots clear of his closest pursuer. But that was in August, when the winds are gentler and the turf a lot spongier.
McIlroy is also one of the few players in the top 10 who also happens to be hitting it well at the moment. If in-form golfers is any predictor, look for the resurgent Jordan Spieth and steady Daniel Berger to be in contention. Those are the only two golfers with a strokes-gained measure of 2.0 against the field this season, with Spieth doing most of his gaining in and around the greens, which figures to be crucial at the Ocean Course.
Defending champion Collin Morikawa shot 65-64 on the weekend at Harding Park, thanks to some spectacular iron play. He thinks that will be a requirement this time around, too.
“Out here with the wind, no matter what it is, you just have to control your golf ball,” Morikawa said. “So it doesn’t matter if you’re 150 yards or you’re 200 yards, you have to be able to know where you’re going to land certain shots, where you’re going to miss them.”
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