The 2017 USPGA will take place from the 10th August at Quail Hollow Golf Club in North Carolina, and much like Jordan Spieth, I’m looking to bag myself another major!
It is a course that will be familiar to players having hosted several USPGA Tour events over the years and it has twice seen victories for Rory McIlroy in his career, including his first ever victory on the USPGA Tour back in 2010.
In this preview of the tournament, we are going to have a look at the past champions of the event since the year 2000, together with a little information about the tournament itself and the course on which it will be contested.
Then to finish, we will take a look through the prospective field and see if we can tip which golfer will join Sergio Garcia, Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth as the Major tournament winners for 2017.
USPGA Tournament Preview:
Previous USPGA Winners List:
- 2000 – Valhalla Golf Club – Tiger Woods (US)
- 2001 – Atlanta Athletic Club – David Toms (US)
- 2002 – Hazeltine National – Rich Beem (US)
- 2003 – Oak Hill Country Club – Shaun Micheel (US)
- 2004 – Whistling Straits – Vijay Singh (Fji)
- 2005 – Baltusrol Gold Club – Phil Mickelson (US)
- 2006 – Medinah Country Club – Tiger Woods (US)
- 2007 – Southern Hills Country Club – Tiger Woods (US)
- 2008 – Oakland Hills Country Club – Padraig Harrington (Ire)
- 2009 – Hazeltine National – Yang Yong-eun (S.Kor)
- 2010 – Whistling Straits – Martin Kaymer (Ger)
- 2011 – Atlanta Athletic Club – Keegan Bradley (US)
- 2012 – Kiawah Island Golf Resort – Rory McIlroy (Ire)
- 2013 – Oak Hill Country Club – Jason Dufner (US)
- 2014 – Valhalla Golf Club – Rory McIlroy (Ire)
- 2015 – Whistling Straits – Jason Day (Aus)
- 2016 – Baltusrol Golf Club – Jimmy Walker (US
Up until the early 2000s, the USPGA event was dominated by US-based winners. In its early years that tended to be because very few players from other tours played in it, but since 2007, there have been just three US-based winners of the event.
In that time, Ireland have had as many winners (McIlroy twice and Padraig Harrington), while the likes of Australia, Germany and South Korea have all seen players win this event.
One thing which is for sure is that this years USPGA Champion will be the richest ever in the history of the event with a record $1,890,000 in prize money for the winner, which is more than double what Tiger Woods first earned when he won it at Valhalla Golf Club back in the year 2000.
Quail Hollow Course Preview & Analysis:
Quail Hollow will certainly be a familiar course to many of the players at the USPGA Championship. For many years it was the venue for the Wachovia Championship, the Quail Hollow Championship and most recently in its new iteration, the Wells Fargo Championship. It is a course that will therefore be familiar to most players on the tour.
However, with that comes a proviso in that since it was last used on tour back in 2016, the course has undergone moderation to make it to the standard for the USPGA Championshops. In a 90-day renovation earlier this year, four holes were modified and in addition, a switch from Rye Grass to Bermuda Grass on fairways and greens has changed the character of the course.
So while this will be a familiar course to many players, it will offer a different test to anything that players have faced here before. While the lengthening of holes is one thing, the change of grass has been seen as being most important with many feeling it could make the course more difficult for players to control their shots on.
This is chiefly because Rye grass will hold the ball up and allow more spin to be imparted into it, while Bermuda grass tends to let the ball roll further and doesn’t take the spin quite so well.
The new course now measures 7442 yards long and it will be interesting to see what the players make of it once the tournament gets under way. Longer hitters are going to have an advantage, especially at par threes, none of which are under 208 yards in length. The tournament will likely be decided over the “Green Mile” – the last three holes on the course reckoned by many to be one of the sternest finishing stretches in professional golf.
USPGA Tips & Predictions: Winner & Each Way
As for who I’d back, it’s difficult to pick at the moment, I’d love Rory to claim a Major this year, but his lack of consistency with the driver is a worry. Johnson probably deserves one given his year but I feel he is just starting to blow a little cold at the wrong time.
Therefore, I can’t really back anybody other than Jordan Spieth to follow up his Open Victory with another top level performance here. I think he’ll be massively motivated to complete the career grand slam and after the nature of his win at the Open, he will laid a few demons to rest with the way he bounced back after a poor start to his final round.
Each Way Prediction:
For a solid each way option, take a look at the in form Alex Noren from the European tour. He is in outstanding form at the moment and finished inside the top 20 at the Open. At 70/1, he is a solid choice for an each way punt.