The 103rd PGA Championship is set to be played between 20 and 23 May at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina. The tournament is always one of the highlights of the golf calendar, testing each player’s mental strength and skill to the absolute limit.
The good news is that after spectators were barred in 2020, a crowd of 10,000 will be present on each of the four days. This is bound to add to the drama and the field is looking extremely strong as well.
With several established stars coming into the tournament in fine form and many upstarts looking to prove a point, you may be struggling to select a favorite. If so, do not worry as we are here to help. We have sifted through the field with a fine-tooth comb to find the players most likely to secure the $1,980,000 prize pot at the end of May.
After finishing runner-up in last year’s competition, world number one Dustin Johnson will be chomping at the bit to secure his first PGA Championship title in May. His 2021 has been quiet so far by his own high standards with February’s Saudi International – a European Tour event – his only victory so far. Do not let that fool you into thinking Johnson is not the favorite going into the PGA Championship, though.
Blessed with one of the longest drives in the tournament, he is especially well equipped for the Ocean Course’s 16th hole, which is a 555-yard par five. His 2020 Masters win, where he shot a record 20 under par 268, proves he relishes the big occasion as well. Simply put, he will take some stopping in May.
The player best positioned to deprive Johnson of his maiden PGA Championship crown is Jon Rahm. Rahm recently celebrated the birth of his son, but he will be raring to go when the tournament kicks off in the spring. Currently ranked as the third best golfer in the world, the Bilbao native has recently held top spot and will want to wrestle it back from Johnson.
One thing missing from Rahm’s incredible career is a major championship win. Many are tipping him to end this wait in May, with golf betting fans everywhere finding it hard to look past him and Johnson as their winners. We would tend to agree with this assessment, although as ever there are many other players who might have something to say about it.
One of Johnson’s and Rahm’s rivals is Justin Thomas. The world number two won this tournament back in 2017 when it was held as Quail Hollow Club, a course that has several similarities to this year’s venue. Thomas made light work of the field as well, finishing strong each round and eventually winning by two strokes.
Since then, he has carved out a reputation as one of the most consistent players around. Despite being just 27, he has secured 16 professional wins and comes into the PGA Championship in good form having won the Players Championship in March by one stroke. Although the stakes will be higher in May, starting the year strongly bodes well for his chances of securing his second major.
Perhaps the only player at the PGA Championships with a more impressive drive than Justin is Bryson DeChambeau. After bulking up considerably in 2020, the American is now well suited to the Ocean Course’s tricky par fives.
There is more to DeChambeau’s game than power, though. As his U.S. Open win last year showed he is an extremely well-rounded golfer who handles pressure well. Like Thomas he also goes into the tournament fresh off a great win. At the beginning of March, he edged out Lee Westwood to clinch the Arnold Palmer Invitational by a single stroke.
If he gets the rub of the green, there is nothing stopping DeChambeau springing a surprise and securing his second major win in May.
Everyone loves a good redemption arc and what a story it would be if Rory McIlroy ended his seven year wait for a major tournament win at the event in which he became a household name. The last time that the PGA Championship was held at the Ocean Course in 2012, McIlroy blew away the competition.
The Northern Irishman won by a record eight strokes and went to repeat the trick two years later, this time winning by a single stroke. His 2014 victory was McIlroy’s last major championship win and although competition will be fierce, we would not put it past him to thrive this year on a course he knows well.
Sporting free flowing locks and a cheeky northern English charm, Tommy Fleetword is one of the most recognizable players on the PGA tour. Anyone who does not know him is bound to have heard of him if he manages to defy the odds and secure his first major.
Although he is yet to prove himself at the highest-level Fleetwood is clearly a talented player, boasting eight professional wins to his name. Saying that, it would take a minor miracle for him to finish top of the pile in May. Then again, stranger things have happened, and he does have a habit of getting holes in one.