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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Twofer Tuesday: PGA Championship

First, congrats to Steve Stricker on his first-ever major, the Regions Tradition on the Champions Tour. Stricks started the last round with a two-stroke lead and won with a six-stroke lead. That just might give him enough confidence to finally get a PGA Tour major at the PGA. Maybe.

But it doesn't get him a Twofer Tuesday pick. Sorry, Stricks.

Defending PGA champ Brooks Koepka

The PGA Championship will be played at Bethpage Black (here's a video guide to all 18 holes) and the defending champion is Brooks Koepka. In a way I feel sorry for Brooks because, with the restructuring of the Tour season, he hasn't even had a full year to enjoy his win. That's a bit of a bummer in my opinion. Just because you won two majors last year is no guarantee you'll get another this year, let alone defend one you just won.

However you feel about that, it brings us to the purpose of this Twofer Tuesday, which is me picking a winner and a Top10er for the PGA Championship. Last year I was just picking five players that I thought the winner would come from, which was a lot easier -- although, admittedly, my record wasn't all that good. But at least I felt like I had a better chance.

And the weather hasn't made it any easier. The recent rains have really opened up the scoring possibilities at the Black, since shorter hitters can get their longer shots to hold on the softer greens. But does that mean I'm taking some shorter hitters?

Not necessarily.
  • My Top10 pick is Dustin Johnson. I guess this is my "DJ or Brooks?" pick since it's hard to make a pick this week without taking one of the two. If I was picking five players like last year, I'd have both men in my picks but, since I'm not, I'm taking DJ over Brooks. While there's been a lot of talk about Brooks feeling slighted, I think DJ is probably feeling it as well. Don't you think he's tired of hearing how Brooks has three majors and he has only one? I do, and I also think he's in better form than Brooks. They may have tied for second at Augusta but, in my opinion, that T2 was a better indication of where DJ is than where Brooks is.
  • My pick to win is a bit outside the box though. I'm loving me some Rahmbo this week! While Jon Rahm is a bit down the list for most fans -- and I've heard few analysts pick him -- I like the way Rahm is playing. While it's easy to discount the team win with Ryan Palmer, Rahm has more Top10s this season (8 in 12 events) than anyone but McIlroy (8 in 10 events). If he continues to channel his emotions as effectively as he has so far this season, I like his chances to break through at the Black.
For the record, I would finish out my old "5 to Watch" picks with Tiger and Tony Finau. Tiger has played well in the last three majors, and Tony seems to be learning what he needs to know very quickly.

The big thing you need to remember this week is that TNT and CBS are sharing the coverage this week. TNT's coverage begins Thursday at 1pm ET and PGA.com begins streaming coverage at 8am ET. Let the battle begin!

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