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Opinion & Analysis

Could the 2010 PGA Championship predict this year’s U.S. Open winner?

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Picking a winner in golf is far from easy. I have dabbled in some small golf wagers over the years and the first time I put some dough on a pick it turned out quite well. Let’s just say I was the only one in my 2011 Masters pool to pick Charl Schwartzel.

I’ve yet to back up that wizard-like pick, and it has caused me to see once again how hard it is to call the winner. I’m feeling better about my picks for this year’s U.S. Open, however, because I foresee parallels between this year’s leaderboard at Pinehurst No. 2 and the 2010 PGA Championship leaderboard at Whistling Straits.

Sound far-fetched? Here’s a list of 9 of the top-12 finishers at Whistling Straits, who also have the backing of many experts this week at Pinehurst:

  • Winner: Martin Kaymer (11-under, won in playoff)
  • Runner-up: Bubba Watson (11-under)
  • T3: Zach Johnson (10-under)
  • T3: Rory Mcllroy (10-under)
  • T5: Jason Dufner (9-under)
  • T5: Dustin Johnson (9-under)
  • T10: Matt Kuchar (7-under)
  • T10: Jason Day (7-under)
  • T12: Phil Mickelson (6-under)

The 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits was monumental in terms of what could have been. Everyone remembers Dustin Johnson unknowingly grounding his club in a hazard on the 72nd hole, resulting in a two-shot penalty that kept him out of a playoff that could have earned him his first major championship. Bubba Watson also blew his first chance to win a major when he didn’t take enough club to reach the green in the playoff, allowing Martin Kaymer to two putt for a bogey and the win.

Watson, McIlroy have Dufner have all claimed major championship since 2010, leaving Johnson, Kuchar and Day as the only players on this list to have not won a major. Those three golfers are also thought to be three of the best golfers to have not won a major in their careers, and they are playing well so far in 2014 and are inside the top-20 in the Official World Golf Rankings.

The only question mark is Day, who after winning the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship has struggled with a thumb injury. But the 26-year-old says he’s healthy, and with two runner-up finishes in U.S. Opens the last three years, golf fans have little reason to doubt him.

No two major championship venues other are exactly alike with the exception of the Masters, which is held each year at Augusta National, but it appears that Pinehurst No. 2 and Whistling Straits are more similar than they are different. They’re both long golf course with lots of sandy areas, and length and strategy will be equally important as golfers try to make birdies this week and keep big numbers off their cards.

Is this the year that what could have been becomes what should have been? Nothing indicates future success in major championships more than close calls, and Johnson, Kuchar and Day have more of them than most golfers. And with Whistling Straits and Pinehurst No. 2 looking somewhat similar to each other, I like their chances this week.

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Oliver Berg is a golf fanatic whose roots in the game were formed in the rugged and rocky golf links of Southern Ontario, Canada. By putting the pen to paper, or more appropriately, his fingers to the keyboard, Oliver turned his passion for ‘talking golf’ online by starting The High Fade Golf Blog. Oliver works in the digital marketing space in the fashion industry in Toronto and has applied what he’s learned from social media marketing to his own Instagram golf account - @thehighfade. Having grown up in a family of golfers, Oliver was given a special gift at young age from his grandmother -- a pillow that reads “Life’s a game, but Golf is serious” is something that he sleeps beside every night, and he pretty much lives by that!

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Pat

    Jun 16, 2014 at 9:56 am

    Looks like this article was pretty spot on!

  2. Joon

    Jun 13, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    Kaymer is kicking butt. now whatdo you have to say Ross?

  3. RussT

    Jun 13, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    Well, well, what do you know?! Kaymer with the 36 hole lead, by 6 strokes.

  4. Keith

    Jun 12, 2014 at 12:42 am

    The Aussies will play very well here. Scott, Day, Ogilvy and Senden. This track is very much like the Sandbelt Courses in Melbourne. If the wind blows, very much an ozfest.

  5. tbomb

    Jun 11, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    The thing I struggle with about your theory, along with PgaTour.com and the other U.S Open prediction picks posted on Wrx, is the fact that Only 3 Americans have won this Championship in the last 10 years. I think the leader board with see on Sunday with be the opposite of the one posted above; 2 Americans and a bunch of Europeans.

  6. Ross

    Jun 11, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    That has got be the worst article I’ve ever read. It’s like saying that beacause Valentino Rossi Finished 2nd at a race in 2010 at whatever track that he will win his next Moto GP race because both tracks are made of tar and the lines are painted white at both race tracks.
    Nothing like a close call in 2010 to motivate you to win at a completely different event in 2014.
    Makes sense right?

    • Ben

      Jun 11, 2014 at 2:35 pm

      Ross, I think the implication is that the course setups resemble each other to a certain extent thus the players mentioned in the article MAY have games better suited to this layout as well.

      • Ross

        Jun 11, 2014 at 2:56 pm

        Ben, I get that. Form however plays a much bigger role in a players chances of winning a major, rather than slight similarities to a course played 4 years ago

    • AJ

      Jun 16, 2014 at 5:34 am

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

      Apology now due, methinks.

      • Ross

        Jun 16, 2014 at 2:03 pm

        I have to eat my words with my tail between my legs. Well played to Kaymer and apologies to Oliver

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Club Junkie

Club Junkie: Reviewing KBS PGI iron shafts and an updated what’s in the bag!

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The PGI graphite iron shaft is new from KBS and it is a great playable option for any player. The PGI comes in multiple weights and launches mid/high for soft landing shots into the green. Easy to square up and hit straight, even in the heavier weights. Finally, it is time for an updated WITB since a few things have changed over the summer.

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: Lessons from the round of a lifetime

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To all of us “senior golfers,” the notion of shooting our age is one that carries great appeal. It answers the burning question:

“Can I keep my skills sharp enough to withstand the hands of time?”

Earlier this year, I had made the proclamation to my golf buddies that my goal was to shoot my age before I turned 70 next March. That meant I needed to work on my game a little more, given that I had let my handicap slip up to 5 at the time. Over the past few months, I’ve brought that down to 2.5. My ball-striking has been solid, but have struggled with the greens at my new club since moving to a great little coastal town of Rockport, Texas. And I lose my mental focus too many times in each round.

So, I hope you don’t mind me sharing with you this week that Sunday was the most glorious round of golf I’ve played since my 20s. Not only did I shoot my age, but I shattered that goal with a six-birdie, no-bogey 65 – a round of golf that was remarkably “easy” as I experienced it and as I look back on it.

And of course, being the analytical type that I am, I have spent time reflecting on just what happened to allow me to shoot the lowest score I’ve carded in over 40 years. I believe I have come to understand what caused the “magic” and want to share that with you this week. Maybe these tips can help some of you to a career round soon.

  1. One of my favorite movie lines comes from Mel Gibson in The Patriot, when he tells his young sons “aim small, miss small.” Because I had a guest who hadn’t played this course before, I was giving him very specific target lines off the tee. Instead of “the left side of the fairway,” I was pointing out “those two trees that make a ‘y,’” “that child’s playset in the back yard straight away.” And that made me focus on smaller targets, too. Sometimes, we can forget those things we know. Aim small, miss small.
  2. A new flatstick. Well, new to me anyway. I had not been putting very well, so I went to the bullpen and drew out one of my personal favorite putter designs. It’s a little Bullseye-inspired brass blade with some technology weighting; I designed it in the early 1990s for Ben Hogan, who marketed it as the Sure-In 1. The point is, sometimes a fresh look gives your putting new life.
  3. Stay in the moment. With every shot, I found myself more focused because of the guidance I was giving my friend, and that allowed me to stay more focused on each shot’s execution. I don’t recall any shot where my mind wandered.
  4. “See it. Feel it. Trust it.” Another line from a great golf book and movie, Golf’s Sacred Journey – Seven Days in Utopia. Robert Duvall’s Johnny character extolls our hero to do just that with every shot. And that’s what I was doing. Seeing the shot, feeling that I’ve hit it many times before, and trusting that I could do it again.

Thank you all for indulging me in telling my story of shooting my age. I’m sure this isn’t my “new normal,” but it was certainly lightning in a bottle for an afternoon. And as we all should from every good shot or good hole, or good round, I’m going to carry that feeling with me the best I can for as long as I can.

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Golf's Perfect Imperfections

Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: A new way to line up your driver for center ball contact

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Fine-tune your driver and tighten up your impact and your dispersion with these awesome references.

 

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