2021 PGA Championship Preview: Players to Watch

The PGA Championship, the second major championship of the men’s qualified golfing 12 months, runs Might 20–23 at the famed Ocean Training course at Kiawah Island, South Carolina. Golfing-watchers at times take into account this event to be the “other” of the sport’s 4 majors, with less institutional status than The Masters, the U.S. Open, or the Open Championship. But it has manufactured some of the most enjoyable majors in the latest years, generally with raucous crowds and entertaining finishes.



This week need to convey a lot more of that, as supporters return to the study course right after getting absent for the 2020 PGA Championship at Harding Park in the Bay Area. The Ocean Training course is also one of the most beautiful configurations in golf—an extra bonus for individuals of us observing. The very first two rounds, on Thursday and Friday, will air on ESPN. The event shifts to CBS for the weekend’s third and fourth spherical broadcasts, and it concludes on Sunday evening.

The a few queries down below will shape how this year’s PGA Championship shakes out. Here’s who (and what) to enjoy this 12 months.

Is Rory McIlroy back on observe?

The most proficient player in the globe (aside from Tiger Woods) was taking part in very well down below his criteria in the very first 4 months of 2021. In his very first nine occasions, McIlroy missed the reduce a few times—including at March’s Gamers Championship, a prestigious celebration he won in 2019—and didn’t even get to play the third and fourth rounds. He also completed in the best 10 a few instances but didn’t appear significantly close to successful everything. McIlroy talked openly about how he tried out to pace up his swing to match extended hitters like Bryson DeChambeau and saw the mechanics of his swing experience as a end result, primary to ugly final results.

But a swap flipped before this month, when McIlroy won the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, his third victory at that study course. The important for McIlroy was a fantastic week on the placing eco-friendly, though on the ultimate hole of the event, he strike this great shot out of the rough on his way to closing out the gain:

If McIlroy’s difficulties are driving him, he may be the beloved at the Ocean Training course. He has won the PGA Championship two times, in 2012 and 2014. The 2012 celebration was held at––you guessed it––Kiawah Island, in which McIlroy blew absent the industry and won by eight photographs at 13 less than par for the week. McIlroy likes particular programs and performs them very well, as he confirmed with his third gain at Quail Hollow. If he can take to the Ocean Training course like he did in 2012, enjoy out.

Who will arise as a very first-time major contender?

Each 12 months at just about each individual major, a relative not known worries the more substantial names on the study course. At The Masters in April, it was Will Zalatoris, the hefty-hitting 24-12 months-previous who completed one shot driving winner Hideki Matsuyama.

In past year’s celebration at Harding Park, it was Collin Morikawa, a 23-12 months-previous taking part in in only his second major. Morikawa went on to gain the whole thing. He is now commonly regarded as one of the best players in the globe and is, of study course, the defending champ this week.

A few of candidates stand out as doable Cinderellas this week. A single is Brian Harman, who has risen from the 91st-ranked player in the globe at the end of 2020 to 48th currently. The 34-12 months-previous tied for second in the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills, and he hasn’t won a event considering the fact that that year’s Wells Fargo at Quail Hollow. But he’s completed in the best 18 in his past five tournaments, like best-fives at the remarkably competitive Gamers Championship and Dell Systems Match Enjoy. Harman has also emerged as one of the best putters on the PGA Tour.

An additional doable breakout is Daniel Berger. He has won two times in the past 12 months and appears to be primed to complete around the best of a major leaderboard. Berger missed the reduce at The Masters but has if not been fantastic currently he nabbed a gain at the Pebble Beach Professional-Am and a best-10 complete at The Gamers. Berger has been relatively close a couple instances right before, and he manufactured a robust Sunday operate at the AT&T Byron Nelson in Texas just this earlier weekend. It’s possible it’s his minute.

Will the true winner be the golfing study course?

The PGA Championship is not the most challenging of the major tournaments. Honestly, it’s closer to the easiest. It lacks the extended distance and thick rough of numerous U.S. Open setups, the brutal temperature of Open Championships in Britain, and the terrifying aura of getting The Masters.

But the Ocean Training course is unique. When the temperature is not great, it can be one of the toughest programs in the globe. In the second spherical of the 2012 event held there, the industry averaged 78 strokes (six about par) and only a few players did improved than par, an exceptionally minimal quantity when the industry is packed with the world’s best golfers.

The study course is a item of famed designer Pete Dye. It sits suitable up coming to the Atlantic Ocean, which invites wind that has an effect on the flight of the ball in a different way on each individual hole. Many greens are elevated on perches, which tends to make it challenging for players to get absent with misses that may merely operate on to the placing surface on other programs. There are also a great deal of drinking water hazards and dune places to punish players who aren’t accurate.

If you take pleasure in observing the best golfers in the globe strike fantastic photographs, you are going to take pleasure in this event. If you take pleasure in observing them melt down less than challenging situations, there’s a superior likelihood you are going to see that at the Ocean Training course, as well.

For access to distinctive gear films, superstar interviews, and a lot more, subscribe on YouTube!