We venture into uncharted territory as we get set for the year’s final major, the PGA Championship, coming less than two weeks after the conclusion of the British Open. In the modern era of golf, there has never been such a short turnaround from one men’s major championship to the next. In turn, if you think predicting a winner of the event is already a fool’s errand, this one becomes even more of a guessing game.
Case in point: How will Open champion Henrik Stenson fare next week at Baltusrol Golf Club? One could argue he has to have the most momentum of anyone in the field after the way he tore apart Royal Troon. In the same breath, though, you could equally claim that the 40-year-old Swede must be mentally if not physically spent after playing the most impressive golf of his career in Scotland. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Who knows?!?
The good news is that this all leads to some healthy debate in this week’s Golf Digest Podcast. In previewing the PGA, Golf Digest editors Sam Weinman, Alex Myers, Matthew Rudy and I explore how the truncated schedule impacts various players, identifying some who it would seem to help (Rory McIlroy), those it would seem to hurt (Jordan Spieth) and those who we’re not entirely sure (Phil Mickelson).
Over the course of the discussion, another topic arises: What’s the identity of the PGA Championship? Our “esteemed” foursome doesn’t always agree on things, but with this there seemed to be some consensus at least in the PGA of America’s ability to set up the golf course to create what’s often is the most entertaining men’s majors every year.
“What the PGA has discovered,” Rudy says, “is that if you make some challenging set-ups that have choices for players to make and variety of options for them to hit shots and you reward good shots, No. 1 the players enjoy playing in that tournament and No. 2 the best players win the tournament.”
As you listen to the podcast, here’s hoping that’s the case again next week in New Jersey.
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