I hope you like wind.
Expect high scores, frustrated golfers and extensive coverage as we get ready for the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course in South Carolina. Rory McIlroy (see my previous story) will enter the tournament as the favorite and he won the whole darn thing back in 2012. It’s extremely difficult to go back-to-back in majors nearly a decade apart – and the key to the entire weekend is the tee times of the first two rounds.
If it’s windy early and not late, the fellas in the afternoon get a major advantage. You can’t win the golf tournament on Thursday, but you can play your way out of it. We will see scores in the 80’s. When you mix a Pete Dye golf course with 30 miles per hour winds, you will get a scorecard that needs a TI-81.
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
Let’s start with the most important piece of information for you and me this week: TV times. I hope you already have ESPN +. I’d you don’t and you love golf, I Implore you to remedy that as soon as possible. ESPN + starts coverage Thursday at 7 AM and runs all the way to 1 PM where ESPN picks up the coverage. The streaming channel also boasts eight featured groups they will follow on Thursday:
7:38 AM – Rickie Fowler, Adam Scott, Tyrrell Hatton
8:22 AM – Xander Schauffele, Viktor Hovland, Lee Westwood
8:33 AM – Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka
8:44 AM – Collin Morikawa, Bryson DeChambeau, Hideki Matsuyama
1:14 PM – Phil Mickelson, Jason Day, Paddy Harrington
1:25 PM – Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Patrick Reed
1:58 PM – Jordan Spieth, Webb Simpson, Will Zalatoris
2:09 PM – Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Shane Lowry
ESPN + will also offer featured holes of 16, 17 & 18 all day, which is exciting to see how far behind the actually mail telecast is! Over the weekend, CBS will pick up coverage from 1-7 PM after ESPN+ starts at 8 AM. Needless to say that you can’t complain that you didn’t get a chance to watch the golf based on available coverage. It’s out there and it’s fantastic.
If anyone can predict a winning score in golf, then they should reside in Las Vegas because it’s improbable. Any change in wind hurts the player and inflates the score. I’m guessing a handful of players will break even over four days, but I’d be a liar if I told you to expect a birdie bonanza or an Open Championship setup with a ton of bogeys. We’ll see.
Here’s a look at the Comcast Business Tour Top 10: (potential #ad, cable friends!)
- Bryson DeChambeau
- Justin Thomas
- Viktor Hovland
- Xander Schauffele
- Sam Burns
- Cam Smith
- Stewart Cink (with two wins in 2021!)
- Jordan Spieth
- Patrick Cantlay
- Hideki Matsuyama (Masters champion)
Here’s a handful of helpful stats for filling out your fantasy golf team this week:
- Viktor Hovland (69.73)
- Justin Thomas (69.74)
- Xander Schauffele (69.77)
- Joaquin Neimann (69.77)
- Webb Simpson (69.78)
Just look how close the scoring average between spots one through five actually are. These guys? Yeah, they’re good.
Strokes Gained (Putting):
- Louis Oosthuizen
- Patrick Reed
- Brendon Todd
- J.T. Poston
- Zach Johnson
Keep an eye on Oostie. He’s been playing well in the last few months. So has his countryman Charl Schwartzel. Both have won majors.
- Bryson DeChambeau (322.0 average)
- Rory McIlroy (318.8)
- Cameron Champ (318.0)
- Wyndham Clark (315.6)
- Will Gordon (314.4)
Yeah, it’s nice to drive the ball for days like Bryson. You still have to putt as well.
So, where does this leave us? It’s a completely wide-open major at The Ocean Course. Rory will go off as the favorite and my pick, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see 30 guys win this thing. Not all at once – that’s not allowed by the rules. Keep this in mind: off all the majors, the PGA for some reason gives guys under the radar a chance to shine. John Daly, anyone? If I were to pick an under the radar selection, I’d take Luke List. I hope everyone enjoys the PGA Championship.
A veteran in television production here in Baltimore, Chris Dachille brings his 15 year experience of watching sports for a living to BSL. Dachille voted in the Associated Press Top 25 for six seasons. He enjoys all sports and hopes that pitchers continue to hit in the National League.