It is now Wednesday and we are all off to the golf course and all set for the big week ahead. We all looked at the course yesterday for the first time. The forecast is for the wind to blow on Friday for Day 1.
What do we take in? The fairways are generously wide and soft at the moment following recent rains. What I noticed most was the rough around the greens, it is what they call these days ‘sticky.’ This means it is thick, moist and strong, but not especially long. Chipping will be a test and will only suit those on their game.
That’s the ‘technical’ bit.
Any signs of nerves or weaknesses in chipping could be exposed and we may see some brilliant and very poor short game shots this week. It could be the difference between winning and losing matches. The bunkers are brutal and we all remember that Dustin Johnson’s ‘incident’ at the 2015 PGA Championship at this venue where he incorrectly grounded his club in a waste bunker and was penalised.
I am unsure if all the bunkers are defined as ‘through the green’ which is the norm at this venue following that ‘incident,’ and I am sure all captains and players will all be ‘ruled up’ by the time the first shot is struck on Friday morning.
The greens are not fast and can never be fast as the property is exposed to the elements, especially the wind, sitting on the edge of Lake Michigan.
We are hearing that the wind will change on Friday, so everyone will be playing a different course to practise, so no advantage to either team.
The last four holes are very challenging and these hole — 15 to 18 — will require strong play to get pars, let alone birdies, and will undoubtedly guarantee exciting and dramatic finishes.
I have been to Whistling Straits for the last two US PGA Championships with winners Martin Kaymer and Jason Day.
I have conflicting interests as my Team US boy Brooks Koepka is fit and healthy. With Rory McIlroy and the others on my books, it means I am not permitted to either team room.
I cannot predict the result, but it will all come down to the singles on Sunday.