Bellerive Country Club, St. Louis, 7,316 yards Par 70
Defending Champion: Justin Thomas
Weather: Been very hot in St. Louis. They got a good deal of rain on Monday Night so it's cooled it off a little but not much and the fairways and greens will be soft and gettable for a lot of players, particularly the headliners. Thursday, sunny 92, wind 5-7; Friday, 92 Sunny, wind, 6-8; Saturday, partly sunny chance of t storm, wind 6-9; Sunday, 87, morning shower, but rest of the day sunny, wind 6-9.
TV: Thursday-Friday, TNT, 1-7 PM CT; Saturday-Sunday, TNT, 10 AM -1 PM CT; CBS 1-6 PM CT.
This is a course with 11 dogleg right to lefts so the player who draws the ball like Rory, will have an advantage off the tee and in the fairways. A lefty, like Bubba and Phil, who cut the ball will also have an advantage.
This is the last year the PGA Championship will be played in August. In 2019 and going forward, it will be played in May, 3 or 4 weeks after the Masters. The Players Championship will take place in March, and the U.S. Open and Open Championship will remain in June and July respectively. The Fed Ex Playoffs will start in early August and be done before football season starts which is good for golf as it won't interfere with college football, which is critically important in this part of the country along with other areas of the country, and it won't interfere with professional football where the big cities are passionate about their respective NFL teams. But nobody thinks the Fed Ex playoffs comes close to the majors or the penultimate event in golf, the Ryder Cup. The playoffs are important to the players due to the financial payout, $10 million to the winner, but not that interesting to golf fans as it's all about the players' wallets and not about the game, and the importance of majors and the Ryder Cup are for more compelling. Though the Ryder Cup is played in late September, and sometimes early October, and conflicts with football it's so captivating as the players are playing for no money and just for their countries. It's like a major football rivalry and the passion and intensity matches an Alabama-Auburn or an Ohio State-Michigan or Oklahoma-Texas battle. As I wrote last week, if you're a golf fan, I would highly advocate reading John Feinstein's classic look at the 2016 Ryder Cup and Ryder Cup human interest stories from many years, in his 2017 piece, First Major. You will really enjoy it. Onto this week's winner.
If you look at it on paper, it looks like a 2 horse race between Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson. I like Bubba Watson and Rory to be in the hunt. I also see Francesco Molinari (Open Championship), Patrick Reed (Masters), and Brooks Koepka (U.S. Open), this year's major winners so far, to be there on Sunday. Sometimes the obvious choice it the right choice, so I'll take the best golfer in the game right now. Not world No.1 though, but the 25 year old, who as Brandel Chamblee of Golf Channel called him, the Mike Trout of professional golf. Trout, the great centerfielder for the LA Angels, is a 5 tool player. He can hit, he can field, he can run, he can hit for power and he can drive in runs. This young gun from Louisville, Kentucky and the University of Alabama is a 5 tool golfer. He can drive it, he can hit approach shots, he can chip, he can hit it out of the sand, and he can putt. I'll take the favorite at Bellerive to go back to back at the PGA and capture the 100th Wanamaker Trophy.