Power Rankings: PGA Championship
Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, is serving as the backdrop for the PGA Championship for the first time, but those who have competed on the treacherous track before might feel like it's already hosted a major. Of the 156 golfers in this week's field, 101 teed it up in at least one edition of the Wells Fargo Championship from 2003-2016. Counting Rory McIlroy twice (2010, 2015), nine winners are on site to attempt to translate that success to this stage. Since Quail Hollow last hosted the PGA TOUR 15 months ago, it's undergone what isn't hyperbole to describe as a massive renovation done in part both for the 99th edition of the PGA Championship as well as the 2021 Presidents Cup. For more on the changes and the challenge, be sure to scroll past the ranking. It's his time. Fresh off that tee-to-green clinic at Firestone where he locked into another gear, he's poised to make history as Japan's first major champion. Two-time champ and all-time earnings leader at Quail Hollow. Course- (61) and tournament-record (267) holder. Top fives in last two starts. Seamless transition of caddies. The 2012 champ at Quail Hollow finished T4 last year. Currently pacing the PGA TOUR in strokes gained: putting. Five top 10s in last seven starts worldwide. Putting it all together at a perfect time. En route to solo second at Firestone – his third straight top 15 – led field in strokes gained: putting. Logged 38 rounds at Quail Hollow. Can't quantify imagination or guts except in results. Not the most accurate but fifth on TOUR in GIR from off fairway. Oh, and he's chasing the career grand slam. No biggie. Continues to rapidly build a profile as a big-game performer. Trades inconsistency with firepower, so he's dangerous everywhere. Four top fives on TOUR in six months. The 40-year-old was a threat at Riviera, Bay Hill and Firestone among other tracks this year. Do not tell him to lay up or that he can't win the PGA Championship. Peppering leaderboards is a regular thing for the recently turned 40-year-old. T5s in two of last three starts; five top 10s in last nine. Average putting is mitigated by new greens. First-timer at Quail Hollow has finished T6 (Open) and T17 (WGC-Bridgestone) since U.S. Open win. Brawn shrouds fact that he's 10th on TOUR in strokes gained: putting. Flashed strong tee-to-green work in Canada (T8) and terrific putting in Ohio (T17), but he remains palpably distant from world-crushing form of early 2017. Just might be the paper favorite when you combine tee-to-green proficiency (including ranking fourth in GIR from off fairway) and a series of leaderboard appearances all year. Admittedly performing just short of expectations, but has no reason to complain. Ranks 17th on TOUR in strokes gained: tee-to-green and 10th in adjusted scoring. His affinity for Quail Hollow is well-documented. He's also second in all-time earnings here without a win, but has 11 top-12 finishes. Eleven top 25s this season. The learning curve applies to all. He's "still" chasing his first top 20 in a major. Combination of power and precision carries greater value on new grass in his Quail Hollow debut. Surprisingly poor record at Quail Hollow (2-for-6 with no top 55s) where his game should shine, but this is a major and he's grinding through the slightest of slumps well. First opportunity to turn the page after Open Championship disappointment. Hasn't rested since a T4 in Scotland the week prior. Five top 10s worldwide since the Masters. Sublime balance slots him 13th in the all-around ranking and fifth in adjusted scoring. The Aussie has nine top 20s in 2017, the last a T6 at Royal Birkdale. Fearless Swede has five top-15 finishes worldwide since a solo 10th at THE PLAYERS, including a win at Wentworth, one of five victories in the last 13 months. Records so many top 20s – seven in last 13 individual events worldwide– that he deserves a spot here on consistency alone. Greenside game has been on the upswing, too. The 26-year-old settled for a T27 at The Open in his hometown, but strung together four top 10s before that, including a solo fourth at Erin Hills and a win in Paris. POWER RANKINGS: PGA Championship RANK PLAYER COMMENT Defending champion Jimmy Walker, Masters champ Sergio Garcia, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose and Quail Hollow member Webb Simpson will be among the notables includes in Tuesday's Fantasy Insider. Quail Hollow has been at the center of so many conversations that it can be tough to decide where to begin, but it gets that attention because it's a favorite among PGA TOUR members. Long, demanding and never fearful to evolve, Quail Hollow will play as a par 35-36=71 at a cool 7,600 yards. Save an extension of 36 yards at the par-4 11th, holes 6-18 are essentially the same. It's the first five on which those with experience on the course may wonder if they made a wrong turn en route. The first two holes were blended to form a 524-yard par 4 as the new greeting. Holes 2 and 3 are the old 3 and 4, respectively, while Nos. 4 and 5 are brand new. There is a total of four new greens, but all have been regrassed with Champion G-12 Ultradwarf Bermuda. (MiniVerde Ultradwarf Bermuda had replaced the old bentgrass surfaces after the 2013 edition of the Wells Fargo Championship.) Even when Quail Hollow played as a par 72, its scoring average landed +0.953 strokes to par, second-highest among all non-majors in 2016. It ranked inside the top 10-toughest in both fairways hit (51.01 percent) and greens in regulation (57.95 percent), while standing stingiest against all approaches, yielded a season-high average of 43 feet, nine inches, in proximity to the hole. Five of the par 4s exceed 480 yards, including the endpoints of The Green Mile otherwise known as holes 16, 17 and 18. They averaged +2.936 strokes to par as a group over four rounds last year. At +0.481, the 18th was the hardest finishing hole of any course in both 2014 and 2016. It was the fifth-hardest par 4 on TOUR in both seasons. There is a mountain of success for those who can move it at Quail Hollow, so distance off the tee is meaningful as long as there is control and course management clutching the reins. In that sense, the host of the season's final major presents as a source of potential redemption for the series of notables who missed the cut in the U.S. Open at Erin Hills. Precision on approach and putting will also matter, as they always do in this most equitable of championships. Inclement weather is almost certain to impact the tournament. A reasonable threat for rain and possible storms exists throughout. Generally warm and humid conditions will blanket the course with little relief from light winds. ROB BOLTON'S WRITING SCHEDULE PGATOUR.COM’s Fantasy Columnist Rob Bolton will be filing his usual staples leading up to this week’s event. Look for the following columns this week. MONDAY: Rookie Ranking, Qualifiers, Reshuffle, Medical Extensions, Power Rankings TUESDAY*: Sleepers, The Confidence Factor, Fantasy Insider WEDNESDAY: One & Done THURSDAY: Ownership Percentages in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf and One & Done presented by SERVPRO * - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO, which also publishes on Tuesdays.
Share the details of Power Rankings: PGA Championship with your friends: