Horses for Courses: 103rd PGA Championship

The second major of the year combines Pete Dye genius with the best field in the golf.

The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island hosted the 2012 event and will take center stage again this week.

The deepest field in golf will be challenged by the longest track in major championship history this week at The Ocean Course at Kiawah to decide the 103rd PGA Championship.

Kiawah Island, South Carolina, will host 99 of the top 100 players in the world and they will be challenged by arguably Pete and Alice Dye’s toughest test. Stretching to 7,876 yards (Par-72), the Ocean Course at Kiawah overtakes Erin Hills as the longest major championship set-up in history. 

RELATED: Expert Picks

The PGA Championship was hosted here in 2012 and became the first major championship contested on Seashore Paspalum grass from tee thru green. The putting surfaces average 6,000 square feet and will run at tournament speed and there are 28 acres of fairway to swing at off the tee. Conversely there are 30 acres of sandy areas running along, behind and in front of most holes. The rough is Bermuda but will be over-seeded with ryegrass (up to three inches) to thicken and green it up.

The 2021 edition will play 200 yards longer and in the month of May, not August like 2012. Springtime in the Carolinas will bring cooler temperatures and more consistent breezes to add to this already difficult Dye challenge.

When the wind blows, the fairways and greens will shrink so controlling the golf ball in the breeze is required. While there will be spectators, there won’t be any grandstands to obstruct views or knock down errant shots. Closely mown areas around the sandy areas greenside will provide more decisions to be made to get it close. Getting up and down to grind out pars will be paramount.

For more on the course design and history read THIS from our Sean Martin.

As with any major championship examination mental toughness will also factor this week. While not many races have been run on Kiawah Island, there are many Pete Dye examples to examine, especially Whistling Straits, host of three previous PGA Championships. Those who have embraced the Dye designs and have found past successes on these layouts will feel they have a leg up on the rest of the field.

The field of 156 players was completed with KH Lee after his win last week at AT&T Byron Nelson. Also, 20 PGA Professionals are entered this week along with any former champions. The purse for the event in 2020 was $11 million with $1.98 million plus 600 FedExCup points and a five year exemption on TOUR to the winner.

Recent Event Winners Stats

PlayerRory McIlroy
Runner-Up(s)David Lynn
Total Eagles0
Total Birdies1 (20)
Total BogeysT1 (7)
Doubles or Worse0
Driving Distance1
Total Driving8
Greens in RegulationT13
Putts per RoundT8
Birdie or Better Percentage4
3-Putt AvoidanceT9 (1 three putt)
Par-3 ScoringT2
Par-4 ScoringT4
Par-5 ScoringT5

Recent Winners and Notables

Recent Winner and Notables

2012: Rory McIlroy (-13, 275)

Fired a bogey-free 66 to win his second major championship. … Set the PGA Championship record for margin of victory as he won by eight shots. … Only needed 24 putts in the final round. … Carded 67 in Round 3 to lead by three after 54 holes. … Signed for 75 in Round 2, three shots better than the average that day, to sit two back after 36 holes (-2). … Opened with 67, one of four players one off the lead. … One of three players to card less than 10 total bogeys. … Second major win and second by eight shots. … First top 10 in a major since his 2011 U.S. Open triumph. … Hits the podium for the third time in four starts (Win-T40-T3-T3) at the PGA Championship. … 2012 majors finishes: T40 (Masters), MC (US Open defense) and T60 (Royal Lytham & St Annes). … Played the week before (T5) WGC-FESJC (WGC-Bridgestone at the time), his seventh top five of the season. … Won Honda in March.

Notables Entered This Week:

Defending champion Keegan Bradley (T3) was playing in just his second PGA Championship. … Ian Poulter (T3) picked up his best PGA Championship check to this day. … Justin Rose (T3) led the field in GIR and was T2 Birdies (18). … Steve Stricker (T7) was one of nine players who played both weekend rounds in the red. … Adam Scott (T11) ranked T2 Putting. … Bubba Watson (T11) made nothing but was T8 GIR. … Louis Oosthuizen (T21) also circled 18 birdies (T2). … McIlroy and Rose both posted 66 on Sunday, one off the best round of the week. … Perfect weather in Round 1 saw 44 players break par. … Round 2 scoring average was 78.1 and only four golfers broke par (49-year old Vijay Singh 69, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ian Poulter, 71). … Cut was +6 and only 10 players were under par after 36 holes. … Round 3 had eight rounds in the 60s as a thunderstorm halted play in the afternoon. … Round 4 had 18 rounds in the 60s. … 74.6 scoring average for the week. Of 72 players making the cut, 24 hit 71 percent or better Fairways. … Rose was one of only seven players to hit 50 or more GIR. … There were only six Americans in the top 17. …

Others playing in 2021:

T18 John Daly (1991 winner)
T18 Padraig Harrington (2007, 2008 winner)
T21 Jimmy Walker (2016 winner)
T27 Jason Dufner (2013 winner, 2011 runner up)
T27 Marc Leishman
T36 Rich Beem (2002 winner)
T36 Phil Mickelson (2005 winner)
T36 Vijay Singh (1998, 2004 winner)
T36 YE Yang (2009 winner)
T42 Martin Laird (led the field in Total Driving)
T42 Gary Woodland
T48 Dustin Johnson
T54 Francesco Molinari
T59 Charl Schwartzel
T62 Chez Reavie
T66 Alex Noren
70  Zach Johnson
72  Cameron Tringale

Missed Cut:

George Coetzee
Sergio Garcia
Webb Simpson
Bernd Wiesberger
Stewart Cink
Jason Day
Lee Westwood
Branden Grace
Rickie Fowler
Matt Kuchar
Shaun Micheel (2003 winner)
Charley Hoffman
Ryan Palmer
Martin Kaymer (2010 winner)
Paul Case
Kevin Na (DQ)

Key stat leaders

Top golfers in each statistic on the 2020-2021 PGA TOUR are listed only if they are scheduled to compete this week.

Strokes-Gained: Tee to GreenPlayer
1Bryson DeChambeau
2Collin Morikawa
3Justin Thomas
4Jon Rahm
5Keegan Bradley
6Viktor Hovland
7Will Zalatoris
8Matt Wallace
9Corey Conners
10Tony Finau
11Patrick Cantlay
12Dustin Johnson
13Rory McIlroy
14Xander Schauffele
15Joaquin Niemann
16Sergio Garcia
17Brooks Koepka
18Paul Casey
19Charley Hoffman
20Bubba Watson
21Chris Kirk
23Hideki Matsuyama
24Russell Henley
25Daniel Berger
Strokes Gained: PuttingPlayer
1Louis Oosthuizen
2Patrick Reed
3Brendon Todd
4JT Poston
5Zach Johnson
6Jason Kokrak
8Xander Schauffele
9Christiaan Bezuidenhout
10Ian Poulter
12Brian Harman
14Cameron Smith
14Patton Kizzire
16Webb Simpson
17Matt Fitzpatrick
18Mackenzie Hughes
19Daniel Berger
22Peter Malnati
23Brooks Koepka
26Matt Jones
26Sam Burns
1Webb Simpson
2Patrick Cantlay
3Ian Poulter
6Harris English
7Si Woo Kim
9Russell Henley
10Charley Hoffman
11Talor Gooch
12Abraham Ancer
17Brian Harman
20Cameron Tringale
21Sergio Garcia
24Louis Oosthuizen
25Chris Kirk
26Cameron Smith
27Bryson Dechambeau
Bogey AvoidancePlayer
1Webb Simpson
2Russell Henley
3Emiliano Grillo
4Abraham Ancer
4Chris Kirk
6Daniel Berger
7Patrick Cantlay
8Cameron Tringale
9Stewart Cink
10Si Woo Kim
13Charley Hoffman
14Bryson DeChambeau
15Cameron Smith
20Jon Rahm
21Corey Conners
23Brian Harman
24Joaquin Niemann
26Harris English
29Will Zalatoris
30Carlos Ortiz

Horses for Courses

Player (Starts/Cuts Made)Top 10sTop 25sMost RecentRecent Others
Collin Morikawa (1/1)11Win (2020)Joined Keegan Bradley as only recent debut winner
Dustin Johnson (9/11)67T2 (2020)Back-to-back runner ups best of the bunch
Paul Casey (12/18)25T2 (2020)T10 2016; T30 or better in 5 of last 6
Tony Finau (5/6)22T4 (2020)T10 2015 debut at Whistling Straits
Jason Day (9/11)69T4 (2020)Winner 2015, 2nd 2016; T23 or better last 8 PGA
Bryson DeChambeau (2/4)11T4 (2020)T33 other
Scottie Scheffler (1/1)11T4 (2020)Rounds of 65, 66 and 68 at TPC Harding Park
Justin Rose (12/18)499 (2020)4th 2015; T3 2012 is best
Xander Schauffele (3/4)12T10 (2020)Each start since his 2017 debut has improved
Cameron Champ (2/2)11T10 (2020)T54 2019
Joel Dahmen (2/2)11T10 (2020)T71 2019
Brooks Koepka (8/8)46Win (2019)Winner 2018; T4 2016, T5 2015
Matt Wallace (3/3)12T3 (2019)T19 2018
Patrick Cantlay (4/4)11T3 (2019)T27 next best
Jordan Spieth (6/8)24T3 (2019)2nd 2015; cashed 6 straight
Gary Woodland (7/9)24T8 (2019)T6 2018
Matt Kuchar (6/12)46T8 (2019)T9 2017; T7 2015; T10 2010
Adam Scott (16/20)613T8 (2019)3rd 2018; T22 2020; 5 straight and 10 of 11 
Rory McIlroy (11/12)68T8 (2019)Win 2012, 2014; T3 2010
Jon Rahm (3/4)12T4 (2018)T13 2020
Stewart Cink (11/19)37T4 (2018)First visit since 2014
Francesco Molinari (11/11)34T6 (2018)T2 2017
Thomas Pieters (3/4)12T6 (2018)T23 2019
Tyrrell Hatton (4/6)23T10 (2018)T10 2016
Justin Thomas (5/5)23Win (2017)T6 2018; T18 2015 debut
Louis Oosthuizen (8/11)14T2 (2017)T15 next best
Patrick Reed (5/7)13T2 (2017)T13, 2020; T13 2016
Hideki Matsuyama (8/8)25T5 (2017)T4 2016
Rickie Fowler (9/11)24T5 (2017)T3 2014; 7 straight broken 2020
Kevin Kisner (4/6)14T7 (2017)T19 or better in 4 of 6
Branden Grace (4/8)22T4 (2016)3rd 2015
Martin Kaymer (6/12)34T7 (2016)Winner 2010
Henrik Stenson (10/14)58T7 (2016)3rd 2013; T3 2014
Robert Streb (3/3)23T7 (2016)T10 2015, T22 2017
OthersTop 10sTop 25sMost RecentRecent Others
Phil Mickelson (25/28)9142 (2014)Winner 2005; Only top 10 in last 12 starts
Jason Dufner (7/12)33Win (2013)Lost playoff 2011; T5 2010
Keegan Bradley (8/10)23T3 (2012)Winner 2011 on debut; no top 25 last 7

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