The 2021 PGA Championship launched this morning at Kiawah Island In South Carolina at the Ocean Course.
The course is a beautiful beast that has already gotten into the heads of some of the tour’s best pros. The absence of Tiger Woods is always notable and detracts from the marketability and magnificence of the vent, but there are still some storylines involving some players who are forever chasing the legacy of golf’s Black GOAT.
Does anyone remember Dustin Johnson? How will he fare this weekend?
The world No.1 has been a non-factor on the PGA Tour this calendar year, including a missed cut at The Masters. But the guy is so flammable he’s always one good round from being a threat again.
With his ball flight, he’s particularly dangerous in windy conditions, which are pretty much guaranteed at the Ocean Course. Johnson, who has finished runner-up at the last two PGA’s, turns 37 next month.
The window is not closing just yet but he needs to win a couple more majors to enjoy a career total on par with his massive talent.
Which Rory Mcllroy will show up this week?
The return to Ocean Course is a referendum on the last decade of McIlroy’s career. His eight-shot romp at the 2012 PGA, when Rory was a tender 23, inspired Padraig Harrington to say it was Mcllroy, not Tiger Woods who posed the biggest threat to Jack Nicklaus and his record 18 major championships, even though at the time Tiger led by a whopping (14-2) margin.
For Rory, it has been a wild ride ever since, to say the least, with flashes of brilliance compromised by inexplicable slumps. Mcllroy arrives with a new swing coach, the confidence of a recent win, and the burden of history, as he has been stuck on four majors for seven long years.
Rory has already accomplished enough to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but the repeated failures in the majors lead to an inevitable sense of what could’ve been. McIlroy needs to bust out and win one more — which would tie the career hauls of mega-talents Seve Ballesteros, Byron Nelson and Phil Mickelson — to kickoff a triumphant second act to his career.
What better place than a big ballpark like the Ocean Course, already the site of one career-altering triumph.
Are Jordan Spieth fans emotionally ready for him to contend until the end?
Spieth is back. The statistics (16th strokes gained approach, 14th around the greens) prove it, as does his recent win at the Texas Open. But he won’t be back back until he’s in another dogfight at a major championship.
Even at his best, Spieth was golf’s most unpredictable high-wire act this side of Phil Mickelson. (Who can forget Jordan’s 71st hole double bogey at Chamber’s Bay or wild bogey from the driving range at Birkdale,(two majors he’s actually won).
If Spieth has a chance as the tournament approaches the treacherous closing holes at the Ocean Course, golf fans everywhere are going to need an intervention, or at the very least maybe a drink or some hookah.