Can JT emulate Tiger at the PGA Championship?
Each week, four of the NCG team get together to ask each other the pressing questions. The only rule is the question must be golf related. In this PGA Championship edition of Fourball, Mark Townsend, Alex Perry, Steve Carroll and Dan Murphy take to the tee to discuss who they think will win the 100th edition of golf’s “fourth major”, its format, and its move to May…
Mark: Nice and simple – who wins the 100th PGA Championship?
Alex: Dustin Johnson has one major. ONE. That’s pretty poor for a player with his record, really. He had a bit of a miserable time at Carnoustie, but bounced back nicely in Canada. Target golf is his thing, and I think he’ll be the one to catch at Bellerive.
Steve: It’s probably about time DJ picked up another major, given how dominant he is week-to-week on the PGA Tour. He’s in great touch, arguably should already have the Wanamaker Trophy in the locker – although you could say that for DJ in every major – and I’d be surprised if Bellerive didn’t suit.
Dan: I’m not sure Bellerive (and Firestone for that matter) could be further removed from Carnoustie so let’s not worry about Open form one bit. We know the type of players who do well at PGAs and Johnson will certainly start as favourite for a reason. I am going to say it is Rory McIlroy’s time again though. I thought his tilt at the Open was pretty impressive and I have the feeling he is coming into form.
Alex: There are a few calls – including from our very own Colin Callander – for the PGA Championship needs to revert to being a match play event. Do you agree?
Steve: Don’t we want majors to be all about final day drama, with lots of players in the mix? That’s why The Open, which didn’t always see the highest quality of shot-making, was so compelling on Sunday at Carnoustie. I’m not sure focusing on only two players on what’s supposed to be a super Sunday, with all the breaks in play that would ensue, could create that tension – regardless of what happens on the course.
Dan: I love the idea of that but it’s not going to happen any time soon. The broadcasters hate matchplay because a) the best players can get knocked out in the first round, and b) the last round can be a damp squib between two less-than-box-office players. Colin does make the very good points that it would instantly give the PGA its point of difference and, by playing 36 holes of strokeplay first, you would be guaranteed to see a decent amount of all the players. I think it’s a great idea.
Mark: Probably not but that’s just because I don’t really like change. I also don’t like what they do with the match play now, with all these silly pods, so that puts me off. If it was a shoot-out of the best 128 players in the world then maybe but I think I’d just rather it was strokeplay but on more interesting courses.
So what do we think of Justin Thomas’s chances of retaining the Wanamaker Trophy? And will the move to May be good four the PGA Championship? Fourball continues on the next page…