TheSandTrap.com  ›  Blog  ›  Thrash Talk  ›  Staff Predictions for 2012 PGA Championship at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island 

Staff Predictions for 2012 PGA Championship at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island

Aug. 8, 2012     By     Comments (4)

Glory's Last Shot heads to South Carolina, lets see what the staff expects for this years event.

Thrash TalkThe 2012 seasons last major the PGA Championship heads to Kiawah Island with lots of intriguing story lines. Last years winner Keegan Bradley wins last week at the Bridgestone, and of course who can forget Tiger who is always a favorite in any major. The weather at Kiawah Island will likely be a big factor, and it will be interesting to see how the players handle it. Let's see what the staff expects for this years event.

1. Who is your winner, what is their score and why do you think they will win?

Danny Ottmann
Man, this is a tough one, with all the different winners so far it is really difficult to figure out who will break through this week. Do I go with Tiger? No, I don't think he is going to have it this week, although his final round at the Bridgestone showed some promise. How about Hunter Mahan again? I keep waiting for him to step up and win a major, maybe this will be the week. Let's put the winning score at -9 unless the wind blows then even par takes it.

Jamieson Weiss
I'm taking Jason Dufner at -6. (My prediction track-record isn't great, so you're welcome Tiger, I'm not picking you. Sorry, Dufner.) He's as hot as anyone since April, though it does worry me that he has only played three events since the end of May.

Mike McLoughlin
I'm picking Matt Kuchar at -4. I don't think the bombers have an advantage at Kiawah, much more of a premium on ball striking and making clutch putts. Kuchar is one of the most consistent player in the world and I think the winner is going to have to play a lot of "boring" golf. Kuchar is also from the South and even though it may look more like a links course, I think he'll feel at home.

Ron Varrial
I never pick Tiger Woods but I sense he's ready and will win with a final score of -8. Twice this week at Firestone I listened to commentators say he could have shot 62 if he putted better. It's a matter of time until the putts fall. I don't know how he will take to the paspalum greens but since they'll be relatively new to everyone, I'll count on Tiger to solve them better than the rest.

Tristan Hilton
Now that we're allowed to pick Tiger again (couldn't for the British), I'll pick Tiger. The last two he has been close and as he has said it's a process and I think that this process is getting to the point where it's nearly complete. I'll say he wins at -6.

Michael C. Hepp
I really don't know who to pick at this course because, as in the Open Championship the elements could play such a large role in deciding the winner. I am going to shy away from Tiger, even though I thought by the PGA he would be running on all cylinders, I feel his record on Pete Dye courses is not very good. I think that this week is going to be a breakthrough week for Justin Rose where he will win his first major in impressive fashion at -10.

Erik J. Barzeski
He doesn't think he's good enough to win (he only says those things in the heat of the moment - Seve said a lot of weird things like that too), but I think he can, so I'm taking Sergio Garcia, despite my prediction eight years ago that he'd never win a major championship. Or maybe, knowing how great I am at predicting things, I'm choosing him for that reason instead… I'm not picking a score because the wind will do that for us.

2. Last years winner Keegan Bradley has had a mixed past year with some highs and lows what do you expect from him at this years event?

Danny Ottmann
He had an impressive win at the Bridgestone last week, making some very clutch putts down the stretch. I expect him to contend, he looks like a box of frogs out there on the course, but he must have it together somewhat under that visor.

Jamieson Weiss
I mentioned him last year as one of my dark horses (I predicted a top-10 finish, woo!). With a come-from-behind victory at the Bridgestone (after playing well at last year's, which gave me the idea to mention him for Atlanta CC) he has to be feeling good, but I wouldn't expect a repeat, not by any stretch. Bradley's a solid player, but a two-time major champ at the age of 26 is stretching it.

Mike McLoughlin
Keegan hasn't had a top 10 since March, although as I'm writing this he's in 3rd at the WGC. I think Firestone, Atlanta Athletic Club, are courses and conditions that fit his style of play best. I think he'll make the cut but not contend.

Ron Varrial
The guy is gutty. In fact he's as gutty as he is twitchy, antsy, and fidgety. It seems like a safe bet that his great driving and hot putter will make him a contender.

Tristan Hilton
I think he'll play well. Keegan is a good player and while he's had some rough spots I think that he'll overcome them to have a good showing. I'll say that he makes the cut and is in the conversation come Sunday.

Michael C. Hepp
I was all set to firmly say missed cut, and then he started to play well this last week and I now feel he will be a factor during the weekend. I don't think he will win, but I think a top 20 is in his future.

Erik J. Barzeski
He'll make the cut but will not contend. Sorry Keegan - unless you're Tiger Woods you don't win the tournament immediately preceding a major and win that major (and not even he did it all that often).

2011 PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley holding the trophy

3. Tiger has not had much success (by Tiger standards) at this years majors, is "Glory's Last Chance" his opportunity to break through, why or why not?

Danny Ottmann
I cannot figure Tiger out. His consistency is so all over the place. One week he looks unbeatable, the next he can't hit a wedge the right distance to save his life. I never count the guy out, he is too much of a competitor. He might break through this week, I certainly wouldn't bet against him.

Jamieson Weiss
Though Tiger has not won a major yet, "not much success at this year's majors" is a relative term. He was tied for the lead after two rounds at Olympic and had a chance early on Sunday at Lytham. He's certainly been trending the right way at majors, so Kiawah is definitely his best chance. He got off to a tough start at Firestone, but his solid weekend and T8 finish should give him confidence. I'd say the odds of him contending are high.

Mike McLoughlin
I don't think Tiger is going to win. He's struggling with distance control on his short irons, which on a Pete Dye course is a big no-no. I also think he doesn't play his best in the wind.

Ron Varrial
I'm picking him, so I say he gets back into the winner's circle.

Tristan Hilton
Well, it's his last opportunity to break though for 2012, that's for sure. When you get to the point where Tiger is and you have 14 majors, golf isn't just about tournament wins any more but major wins, and while 3 wins in 2012 are great, this year will be a bit of a let down if he fails to capture a major.

Michael C. Hepp
I don't feel this is a good course for Tiger to win. Although when I bet against Tiger is when he often gets the job done. As I said earlier, Pete Dye course tend to give Tiger fits. Yes he has won the Player's, but considering how many times he has played there his record is really not that great.

Erik J. Barzeski
I think it'll depend on the draw and the weather for that draw. He's feeling pressure and, prior to 2009, I think that would be a bonus. Since 2009, I'm not so sure…

4. Who is your dark horse at this years event?

Danny Ottmann
Lee Westwood! He can feel the pressure. The second coming of Colin Montgomery needs to get his name on a major championship trophy soon, the clock is tick, tick, ticking!

Jamieson Weiss
Nicolas Colsaerts. Why not? He's was in the running at both of the Opens. A Belgian winner would be interesting. I'm eating waffles on Thursday morning for good luck.

Mike McLoughlin
I'm going to go with Ted Potter Jr. He won a few weeks ago and is really good at controlling his short iron/wedge distances.

Ron Varrial
We have had some awesome dark horse stories that fell just short the past few years (Watson, Norman, Duval come quickly to mind). I'm picturing something similar with Davis Love III. He's from the area and should know Kiawah as well as anyone in the field.

Tristan Hilton
I'm not sure it's exactly a dark horse pick, but I'll say Steve Stricker. The guy is such a great player and it's somewhat surprising that he doesn't have a major yet. I think that this is as good of a chance as any for him to get his first.

Michael C. Hepp
I am going to go with Simon Dyson. I have always followed him because I like his swing and he had a some decent finishes recently.

Erik J. Barzeski
Jonathan Byrd, but I think he actually thinks he's not good enough to win, so until he believes in himself enough he may very well prove he isn't.

5. Kiawah Island has some history as a Ryder Cup host but not much as a major championship venue, what do you expect from the course?

Danny Ottmann
I know almost nothing about this course. I do find it interesting though that none of the sand filled areas will be played as bunkers. What I expect is to see a bunch of PGA Tour boys taking practice swings in bunkers and letting the sand fly as they do so. It looks like a really cool track; I just hope the wind doesn't decide to blow them off the course. If the wind does blow look for really high scores.

Jamieson Weiss
I like Kiawah, and expect it to be a pretty good test. I could see it being a bloodbath or an average PGA Championship. If there's anything I know for sure, it's that Dustin Johnson has an enormous weight off his shoulders, now that he doesn't have to read the local rule sheet and decipher bunkers.

Mike McLoughlin
Dustin Johnson will be happy to know that there are no bunkers on the course, just waste or sandy areas.

I've never played the course and haven't seen it much on TV since the last tournament was the '91 RyderCup. It's a Pete Dye design so it's going to be visually intimidating and a few shots where there isn't any room for mistakes. From what I've read, t seems the real reason for Kiawah's brutality stems from its location on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. There are 10 holes right along the Atlantic and with almost no trees, the single biggest factor in this PGA Championship
will be what happens with the wind.

Olympic Club and Royal Lytham had benign weather conditions and I think it would be fun to see a major with some difficult weather.

Ron Varrial
I'm as excited for this year's PGA as any of this year's majors. I've heard and read so much about Kiawah that I can't wait to see it on the big stage. The past few PGAs have been great theater and I hope the unique design of Kiawah keeps that going.

Tristan Hilton
That is a tough one. I think that it's going to play pretty difficult with some of the wind that they'll get but not as tough as you'd see a US open course. I got the winner at -6 but I could see a few stroke difference in either direction from that and not be surprised.

Michael C. Hepp
I expect the course to show very well. The 17th hole is such a dynamic hole late in the round and the winner will definitely have their nerve tested. I am hoping for some wind which will only add to the challenge.

Erik J. Barzeski
It'll depend on the weather (the wind).

This is not at all links style golf. The course may very well be a "links" course by definition but the grass, elevated greens, etc. make it play completely unlike a links course. It's pure target golf, with mind-twisting visuals - it's golf at a Pete Dye course, after all. The targets themselves are fairly large, but miss them by even a little and you'll be in serious trouble. The greens are flat so reading them will be difficult, but lots of long putts can be holed by people just aiming in the general direction of the hole.

If the wind blows, well, good luck because there are plenty of holes that will play in a direction that is over the player's shoulder, whether they're righty or lefty. We could see a winning score well over par if it's windy three of the four days.

Photo credits: © Don Emmert.

Discussion

  1. Golfingdad says:

    I don't know what "box of frogs" means, but it had me cracking up! I also like that both of my first two contest picks were mentioned here (Kuchar and Love III) I hope you guys are right!

  2. bobsuruncle says:

    As good as some of the picks were, the wind just carried half the picks here (and some pretty big names) home.

    Hunter - MC
    Duff - T66 (+6)
    Kooch - MC
    Tiger - T1 (-4)
    Rose - T47 (+4)
    Sergio - MC

    Ron and Tristan are looking good at the halfway stage. Still "a long way to go" as TW says. Here's hoping he makes the right move on moving day. He's never been successful at playing catch up on Sunday at the majors.

  3. I should point out that I'm accepting offers from any PGA Tour pro who'd like me NOT to pick them for any and all future majors. :)

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.