Location of event: The Ocean Course, the Kiawah Island Golf Resort, South Carolina
Course length: 7,676 yards
Date: August 9-12, 2012
Prize Money: $1.4 million for the champion, $8 million overall
The 2012 US PGA Championship is upon us and so the golfing fraternity’s crème de la crème have gathered up in South Carolina to decide who will claim the final Major of the year. Over the next four days, 155 players will be trying to claim the defending champion Keegan Bradley’s title at Kiawah Island’s spectacular Ocean Course.
The playing area of this Pete and Alice Dye-designed golf course has been specially extended for this tournament and its current length of 7,676 yards makes it the longest course in the history of golfing Majors. This also makes it one of the most difficult challenges on the international golf calendar.
The PGA Championship was played for the first time in 1916, and 92 editions of this tournament have been played since then. The inaugural tournament was won by British golfer Jim Barnes and he claimed the event’s second edition too in 1919. After those early European triumphs, American golfers caught up and started to dominate this home tournament.
Veteran Jack Nicklaus is the most decorated player in the PGA Championship history with five titles. Next in line is the four-time champion Tiger Woods, who will attempt to win his first Major title since 2008 this week. The 36-year-old’s job won’t be easy though, as his record on courses designed by the Dyes isn’t too outstanding and experts believe that the Ocean Course may not be a great fit for his driving game, which still has its problems.
European golfers haven’t been able to match their usually high standards this season and so they will be keen to improve their record with a win at Kiawah Island. Graeme McDowell’s second and fifth-place finishes at this year’s US Open and the Open Championships have boosted his confidence significantly and he is expected to be a contender for the PGA title. Northern Irish youngster Rory Mcllroy will be hoping to build upon his recent run of improving results, while English duo of Luke Donald and Lee Westwood is also being tipped for a positive showing by some experts.
There is some bad news on the weather front, as thunderstorm and rain has been predicted this week in Kiawah Island. The intensity of wind is also expected to have a significant say in the outcome of the PGA Championship as it directly affects the teeing positions on several holes at Ocean Course.
US PGA Championship Odds
Jason Dufner: He suffered a tough loss at the 2011 PGA Championship but that setback spurred him to take his game to the next level. He already has two titles on the PGA Tour this season and is now regarded as one of the elite golfers on the circuit. The Ohio-born golfer’s outstanding ball striking ability is no secret and that aspect of his game could help him do one better than his last year’s runner-up finish. BetFred give him Odds of 22/1 to win the Championship, well worth a punt we think!
Dustin Johnson: He is at his best on Dye-designed courses and that makes him a dark horse for the US PGA title. His college day connection with the Kiawah area should get him a lot of local fan support too, which is another plus. The 28-year-old South Carolina native managed a ninth-place finish at the Open last month, meaning that he is in decent form too. BetFred give Dustin odds of 20/1 to come out on top this year.
Steve Stricker: He has done consistently well on the tour for several years and his ability to keep his cool in tough situations could be his trump card this week.
It is very tough to predict a winner in this one due to the amount of unknowns involved but we have a feeling that Woods might end his Major drought and equal Nicklaus’ PGA record at the weekend, most bookies agree with this and BetFred have nice odds of 5/1 that should grab your attention!