It’s the second major of 2021 and Dave Tindall has three choices for the US PGA Championship, which will be held on Thursday Kiawah Island begins …
« After winning major events at Bay Hill and Wentworth and two consecutive Alfred Dunhill championships on the Scottish coast, hopefully this is his time. »
Tyrrell Hatton accepts entered this week’s US PGA Championship as number nine in the world. And yet he is 45/1 to win and Viktor Hovland is 18s. Don’t write this off Hovland as I really like his chances; In fact, I already have him on the page after he put the Norwegian at 44.043 / 1 in my US PGA guide in early May.
Rather, it highlights the outstanding value Hatton has in the search for his first major title After a T25 at that event in 2015, he defied expectations the following year by finishing T5 in the Open Championship and T10 in the US PGA.
In 2017, he missed the cut in all of them four, but struck back in 2018 with T6 at the US Open and another T10 in the US PGA.
For the second time in a row, he made the cut in all four in 2019 and rounded off with T6 at the Open Championship. Then came another dud year with three out of three MCs in 2020.
The main negative in a majors career that clearly had promising moments was his Masters record: up to that year his results were MC-44- T56-MC. That was unusually bad for a player who had climbed to the top of the rankings.
Luckily a corner was turned this time and last month he was battling to finish T18: not an amazing feat on one level, but quite a breakthrough on another.
However, his best majors are the Open Championship and the US PGA, as four of his five top 10s made it into them. The other was the US Open Top 10, which came Link-style at Shinnecock.
If only he could play a US PGA on the coast. That would be perfect, wouldn’t it?
Well, Hatton’s wish will be granted this week: Welcome to the 2021 US PGA to be played on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort.
Hatton will certainly not miss it how good British players were when this course was last played in 2012. That year, Rory McIlroy ran away to an eight-shot win, David Lynn was a shock runner-up and two more England’s Ian Poulter and Justin Rose took third place.
Add Jamie Donaldson in T7 and it were five British players in the top 7. A few other Europeans, Carl Pettersson and Peter Hanson, also made the top 10.
Hatton did well in my 10 year trend preview as he wasn’t a big winner in his 20s (he’s 29) and had a top 20 in one of his two most recent starts (T18 Augusta). But he hasn’t had a win in America this season.
He does, however, have a win in 2021 after winning the prestigious Abu Dhabi European Tour Championship in January. That came after a month’s break at Christmas and this time he had a little break after T39 in Hilton Head, where he drove in laps two and four and T8 alongside Danny Willett at the Zurich Classic Pair event ’66.
His form was not as good as he would have wished for in 2021, but in addition to the victory in Abu Dhabi there was Top 25 in the Dubai Desert Classic, the WGC Workday Championship and the Arnold Palmer Invitational, in which he defended and the champions.
There was also a sixth place finish in the Saudi International and that gains a little more meaning as it came up on paspalum greens with the putting surfaces in use this week. He putted them well enough (28th SG: putting) and was sharp around them.
First, Kiawah is a creation by Pete Dye and Hatton was third in the RBC Heritage 2020 on another course of the design legend, Harbor Town.
Second, don’t be too impressed by the length of 7,800 meters. Teas are pushed up some days. It was a long year in 2012 and a lot of intermediate and shorter players have done well. Hatton is just over half of the PGA Tour’s driving distance stats (296.1) and that’s fine.
The final point is that Hatton had to retire from the Valspar Championship after a positive COVID test. Check out his Twitter timeline for the past few days, however, and he’s clowning around the track, running into a driver on the run, and basically looking full of beans.
Hopefully this is his time after winning major events at Bay Hill and Wentworth as well as two consecutive Alfred Dunhill Championships on the Scottish coast.
For many of the reasons above, I will add a second Englishman and go with Tommy Fleetwood at 45/1.
With 10 seats each way, that’s a decent price for the Southport man, especially considering what he’s done in majors on the coast. Let’s recap.
Fleetwood was slow to boil at these big events, but made the big break with a solo fourth at the 2017 US Open in Erin Hills.
First, he shot a second round of 66 and then a brilliant 63 to finish second, and just one residue from Brooks Koepka at the 2018 US Open in Shinnecock (where Hatton was T6).
He was finished at the 2019 Open Championship at Royal Portrush of 18, 36 and 54 holes in the top three before finishing second on an inspired Shane Lowry.
He had to deal with a bit of bad weather on both occasions, and although the forecast on Kiawah Island does not suggest anything extreme Wind is always a factor and Fleetwood has the skills to handle it.
It’s fair to believe the 30-year-old hasn’t had his best things lately, but there are indications that he is peaking at the perfect time reached.
Fleetwoo d reached the quarterfinals of the WGC match play at Austin CC (another Pete Dye design) and missed the cut at Hilton Head after a modest Masters (despite having a hole-in-one). There he shot a second round of 65 and last time he reached the top 15 in a strong field at the Wells Fargo Championship.
In Quail Hollow’s stats, he had positive SG numbers in all major categories and his short game was much sharper after it let him down in Augusta.
Between the legacy and Wells Fargo, Fleetwood returned to the UK and that also gave him a boost.
He said, « I was just very happy, going home. Everything feels good when you are home. And I haven’t been home in a long time. So I just enjoyed it a lot. «
» I kept working on things, on I’ve worked and tried to improve that. And the game is fun. Sometimes you feel like you’re doing so many things well, but you don’t seem to get good scores and there are weeks that you do that Feel like you played well and you have the third or vi A third place is occupied, and that’s the game.
« I feel like I do a lot of good things and do the right things. I just have to keep going and hopefully more good results will come. »
Fleetwood is a strong performer on tough tracks and fits well to Kiawah Island. As for other shapes on Pete Dye courses, he finished fifth and seventh on two of his last three visits to Sawgrass, and was T13 on his only appearance (2019) at the River Highlands.
A quick visit to the front end of the market and Rory McIlroy is 10/1 favorite ahead of 12/1 Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.
They all fall into the « I can’t rule them out » category, but nobody jumps at me from the side. </ Bryson DeChambeau came out as my trend pick and I'm glad to have him on the team. The stats like him, though there must be some doubt that a coastal PGA is their best chance at major stardom. A calmer weather forecast will help him.
Shane Lowry and Lee Westwood have the oceanfront expertise to do well in the 50s and 80s while looking at Robert MacIntyre but not getting the triple digit price I got I was hoping for.
However, there is someone at 100/1 I like and that’s a third English guy – Matt Wallace.
World number 52 seems to like this event and already has that at Bethpage third and 19th in Bellerive. He was also tied 12th at the 2019 US Open so majors can hit high.
Wallace shot 65s Thursday and Saturday to sit in fourth place at 18 and play in Harbor Town last month (he slipped on T18) – an achievement that indicates good current form and is able to play Pete Dyes.
There are a bunch of them for this current form. He was T18 at Bay Hill, third at the Texas Open, T34 at the Masters, T18 at RBC Heritage and T6 at Wells Fargo.
A confident player said at Quail Hollow: « I’m playing really well now . I’ve been on a nice track since Bay Hill. I’m in good mental space. Anything I want to achieve. » On the golf course, I know what to do to make that happen, and yes, we’re in a good place.
« I think your golf game has to travel with you if you play well. I’ve got it on won the PGA Championship in Bethpage. I played well there and came in third. «
Wallace took 1st place in both SG: Tee-to-Green and Approach in Texas, so the statistics speak for themselves and he has the inner faith to thrive in elite society.
If Andy Sullivan (300/1) and Tom Lewis (400/1) stick to an English topic, they are not without hope of making the top 10
I like Marc Leishman and Keegan Bradley (third here in 2012) at 60/1, but I’m happy to go into battle with a trio of Englishmen in Hatton, Fleetwood and Wallace.
Previous Tyrrell Hatton E / W @ 46.045 / 1Back Tommy Fleetwood E / W @ 46.045 / 1Back Matt Wallace E / W @ 101.0100 / 1
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