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PGA Championship tips 2021
Kiawah Island Ocean Course

This year’s 103rd PGA Championship will be played on the famed Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina.

The PGA Championship is organised by the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) of America. It is an official money event on the PGA Tour, European Tour and the Japan Golf Tour.

PGA Champions are automatically invited to play in the other three majors for the next five years and are exempt from qualifying for the PGA Championship for life. Winners also receive membership on the PGA and European Tours for the following five seasons and invitations to The PLAYERS Championship for five years.

The PGA Championship features the strongest field of any of the majors based on the Official World Golf Ranking, with 156 players competing annually for the Wanamaker Trophy.

This year’s host course is the world famous Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort.

Course Overview

“There’s no other golf course in the Northern Hemisphere that has as many seaside holes.”

Pete Dye

The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort was designed by Pete and Alice Dye. It has ten holes that hug the coastline and as part overall design, the course was raised to give players unobstructed views of the ocean front.

The Ocean Course first came to prominence when it hosted the 1991 Ryder Cup. Dubbed the ‘War on the Shore‘, the United States team won by 14½ to 13½ points to win the cup for the first time since 1983. They won the tournament on the final hole of the final match when Bernard Langer missed a six-foot par putt. Had the German made the putt, he would have won his match and clinched a 14-all tie and retained the Ryder Cup for Europe.

The Ocean Course also hosted the World Cup of Golf in 1997 and again in 2003. Ireland won the 1997 edition of the tournament with Pádraig Harrington and Paul McGinley. When the tournament returned in 2003, South Africa won with Trevor Immelman and Rory Sabbatini.

The PGA Championship was played at the Ocean Course in 2012 with Rory McIlroy winning by a record eight strokes. That year the tournament was played in August. Playing in May should mean cooler temperatures and windier conditions which should ratchet up the challenge a notch or two.

Ocean Course Kiawah Island
Par 3’s198238217
Par 4’s390514467
Par 5’s547569578

The scorecard is intimidating with the Par 72 layout measuring a colossal 7,849 yards. Three of the Ocean Course’s Par 4’s measure 447 yards or less and the other seven averaging out at over 490 yards. The stock Par 3’s are no bargain either with three of the holes playing over 200 yards. Put simply, the Ocean Course has a lot of real estate to cover.

Course management looks to be key this week with scoring opportunities hard to come by. If wind conditions are favorable it will be important to take advantage of the Par 5’s. Greens are undulating so putting will be extremely challenging particularly if players fail to hit the proper target on the green.

It is imperative to keep an eye on the weather as Mother Nature will no doubt have a role to play in the outcome of the 103rd PGA Championship

Solid play from the tee will be crucial to keep the ball on the short stuff. Playing from the fairway will present the best chance to set up scoring opportunities. Those players who drive the ball long and well should prosper.

Bogeys will be made around the Ocean Course so patience will be key. Good strategy, hitting the right parts of the green and avoiding the ‘card-wrecker‘ will all be important factors.

It goes without saying that Major Championships are not tournaments to arrive at trying ‘to-find-your-game‘. History tells us that excellent Current Form is key this week. With this in mind, it is worth having a closer look at the Wells Fargo Championship and the Valspar Championship for clues as to who might do well.  

2020 PGA Championship | Collin Morikawa

Venue Harding Park

Winning Score -13 (267)

Collin Morikawa
SG Category
Strokes GainedFinishing Position
(SG Category)

Last year, 23 year old Collin Morikawa won the PGA Championship in only his second Major appearance. At one point during the final round there were seven players in a tie for the lead. However, Morikawa emerged from the pack to win on a score of -13 (267), two strokes clear of Dustin Johnson and Paul Casey.

The California native produced the shot of the tournament with a magical drive to within 8ft on the 296 yard Par 4 16th. He sank the eagle putt that ultimately secured the title.

“As an amateur, junior golfer, turning professional last year, but to finally close it off and come out here in San Francisco, pretty much my second home where I spent the last four years, is pretty special.”

Collin Morikawa

Morikawa excelled with the putter around Harding Park topping the pile in the Strokes Gained Putting category. This translated to a gain of 8.076 strokes or just over 50% of his overall strokes gained for the week. Other stats include 5th for Driving Accuracy, T53 for Driving Distance, T8 for GIR and T15 for Putts per GIR.

2019 PGA Championship | Brooks Koepka

Venue Bethpage Black

Winning Score -8 (272)

Brooks Koepka
SG Category
Strokes GainedFinishing Position
(SG Category)

Like the previous year, it was a ball-striking master-class from the tee and on approach that laid the foundation for Koepka’s back-to-back PGA Championship wins. He finished 1st in the Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green stats gaining a staggering 17.354 strokes on the field average for the week.

A little over half Koepka’s overall strokes gained on the field came from his approach play, topping the pile in GIR. He finished 1st for Birdies racking up a total of 19 for the week. Other stats for the week include T44 for Driving Accuracy, 10th for Driving Distance and 46th for Strokes Gained Putting.

2018 PGA Championship | Brooks Koepka

Venue Bellerive CC

Winning Score -16 (264)

Brooks Koepka
SG Category
Strokes GainedFinishing Position
(SG Category)

Koepka delivered a ball-striking master-class around Bellerive CC gaining almost 12 strokes on the field average in the Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green category. This accounted for almost 75% of his shots gained for the tournament.

Koepka also drained his fair share of putts finishing 18th in Strokes Gained Putting. He finished 3rd for Birdies racking up a total of 22 for the week. Other stats for the tournament include T14 for Driving Accuracy, 2nd for Driving Distance, T15 for GIR and 3rd in Putts per GIR.

2017 PGA Championship | Justin Thomas

Venue Quail Hollow

Winning Score -8 (276)

Justin Thomas
SG Category
Strokes GainedFinishing Position
(SG Category)

JT’s game tee-to-green was solid all week finishing just outside the Top 10 for the Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green category. In particular his approach play was strong delivering almost a quarter of his overall strokes gained for the week. However, it was a hot putter that sealed the deal for Thomas.

He finished 4th in the Strokes Gained Putting stat which equated to almost half his overall gain. He finished 1st for Birdies racking up a total of 20. Other stats for the week include T62 for Driving Accuracy, 1st for Driving Distance, T17 for GIR and 2nd in Putts per GIR.

PGA Championship Winning Formula

The following table details the breakdown of the Average Strokes Gained in each of the strokes gained categories for the past four champions of the PGA Championship.

SG CategoryWinner’s Average
Strokes Gained
Average Finishing
Position (SG Category)

In summary, this week is all about distance accuracy, holding the green, three-putt avoidance, keeping big numbers off the card and trying to convert chances when they present

Golf Betting Tips: PGA Championship

Victor Hovland golf betting tipsViktor Hovland 18/1 (E/W) – this is his second appearance in the PGA Championship, finishing T33 on his debut last year at Harding Park. Has 11 x Top 25 finishes from 16 starts this season including a victory at the Mayakoba Golf Classic. He also has runner up finishes in both the Farmers Insurance Open and WGC Workday Championship. More recently, his professional debut in the Masters yielded a T21 and backed it up with a pair of T3’s in both the Valspar Championship and Wells Fargo Championship. A rock solid all-round game puts the Norwegian professional inside the Top 30 in this week’s Stats Analysis. He is also 6th on Tour for Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green and 1st for Scoring Average. The 23 year old continues to manufacture one superior performance after another. Stand-out pick.

Daniel Berger golf betting tipsDaniel Berger 28/1 (E/W) – owes nothing from last week’s place in the AT&T Byron Nelson, so sticking with the Florida native again this week. Finished T13 in last year’s edition of the PGA Championship at Harding Park. He also finished T12 when the tournament was played at Bellerive CC in 2018. Has 5 x Top 10’s from 14 starts this season including a win at the AT&T Pebble Beach. He also finished T3 in last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson so will be arriving to South Carolina in buoyant mood. Places 5th in this week’s Stats Analysis which is noteworthy considering the field depth for the year’s second Major. His game has transcended to new elevated levels and coupled with his ability to play in windy conditions makes him an excellent fit for this week. Ticks a lot of boxes.

Patrick Reed golf betting tipsPatrick Reed 30/1 (E/W) – finished runner up in the 2017 edition of the PGA Championship when played at Quail Hollow. He also finished T13 twice when played at Baltusrol GC in 2016 and again last year at Harding Park. Has 9 x Top 25 finishes from 13 starts this season including a win at the Farmers Insurance Open. Recent results include a T8 in the Masters and a T6 in his last outing at the Wells Fargo Championship. Features in the Top 15 in this week’s Stats Analysis, he is also 9th on Tour for Birdie Average and 2nd for Strokes Gained Putting. His short game skill set will stand him in good stead this week. Already a Major winner so he knows what it takes to get it done on the big stage.

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