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96th PGA Championship Preview

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96th PGA Championship Preview
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Jason Dufner won his first major at the PGA Championship in 2013. He's not the only player dealing …

96th PGA Championship


Valhalla Golf Club

Louisville, Kentucky

Valhalla Golf Club

Yards: 7,458 via the scorecard

Par: 71 (35-36)

Greens: T1 Bentgrass; 6,500 square feet on average.

Stimpmeter: 13+’

Rough: Kentucky bluegrass and fescue at 4”

Bunkers: 65

Water Hazards: With two ponds and Floyds Fork running through the property, water can be found in plenty of places.

Course Architect: Jack Nicklaus (1986); Jack Nicklaus (2011) redesign

Purse: $10,000,000

Winner’s Share: $1,800,000

FexExCup Points: 600 to the winner

Defending Champion: Jason Dufner won his first major last year at Oak Hill in Rochester, N.Y., as he defeated Jim Furyk by two shots.

Dates:  Aug 7 – Aug 10

Notes: There will be 156 players 136 TOUR pros and 20 club professionals who will play 36 holes. The top 70 and ties will advance to the weekend.

Recent History Lessons

After winning 31 of 40 tournaments in 2013, the USA has won 24 of 39 events in 2013-14 but none of the last four. Harris English, Jimmy Walker (THREE), Webb Simpson, Ryan Moore, Dustin Johnson, Chris Kirk, Zach Johnson, Patrick Reed (TWO), Scott Stallings, Kevin Stadler, Bubba Watson (TWO), Russell Henley, Chesson Hadley, Matt Every, Matt Kuchar, J.B. Holmes, Brendon Todd, Ben Crane, Kevin Streelman and Brian Harman have won for the USA.

Geoff Ogilvy joined Adam Scott, Matt Jones, Steven Bowditch, John Senden and Jason Day, all Australians, have cashed five victories. Hideki Matsuyama and Seung-yul Noh are the Asian representatives and Martin Kaymer, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy (TWICE) represent Europe and two of the three major wins so far this season. Angel Cabrera flies the flag for South America; Tim Clark flies it for South Africa.

S.Y. Noh, Steven Bowditch, Matt Every, Jimmy Walker, Kevin Stadler, Chesson Hadley Matt Jones, Brendon Todd, Hideki Matsuyama and Brian Harman are the first-time winners this season. There were 12, first-timers in 40 events last year and we’ve had 10 in 39 events in 2014. 

Young Guns Versus Prime Time Versus Old Guys

Jimmy Walker (34) started the season out on the right foot for the Prime Time guys and has since added two more wins to lead the FedExCup standings. Ryan Moore (30), Zach Johnson (37), Kevin Stadler (33) and Bubba Watson (35), Matt Every (30), Steven Bowditch (30), Matt Jones (33), all were victorious before Watson picked up victory No. 2 of the year at Augusta. Matt Kuchar (37), J.B. Holmes (32), Adam Scott (33), Ben Crane (38), Kevin Streelman (35), Justin Rose (33), Tim Clark (38) and Geoff Ogilvy, 37, have added to the prime-timers trophy case as the season moves along.

Scott Stallings (28), Patrick Reed TWICE (23), Chris Kirk (28), Webb Simpson (28), Dustin Johnson (29), Harris English (24), Jason Day (26) and Russell Henley (24) Seung-Yul Noh (22), Martin Kaymer TWICE (29), Brendon Todd (28) and Hideki Matsuyama (22), Brian Harman (27) and Rory McIlroy TWICE (25), are the twenty-somethings who have made large noise this year.

Australian John Senden (42) FINALLY has some company in the winner’s circle this year for the old folks as Angel Cabrera won at Greenbrier. Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk led the oldies last week with T15 finishes and Mickelson’s included a season-low 62 on Sunday. Well, then!

Turn Back the Clock

At this point in the season last year there were 11, first-time winners and just four players with multiple victories Woods, Mickelson, Kuchar and Snedeker. Only Kuchar has cracked the winner’s circle this year and all that took was a hole-out from a bunker on the 72nd hole at RBC Heritage!

This year, Walker, Reed, Watson, Kaymer and now McIlroy have won multiple times and there are 10, first-time winners.

Pay Attention: It’s FREE!

There will be 99 of the top 100 players in the OWGR teeing it up this week as only Dustin Johnson is not in the field. Tiger Woods, as of Monday afternoon, has NOT withdrawn.

Speaking of Woods, he’s the only player to defend a PGA Championship in stroke play and he’s done it twice (1999-2000; 2006-2007).

The PGA dumped match play for stroke play in 1958.

Woods is the last player to win a TOUR event the week before a major who has gone on to win the following week. Mickelson won on the European Tour last year before claiming The Open Championship. McIlroy has won his last two events, The Open and the WGC-BI.

McIlroy is looking to join Woods as the only player to have won The Open, WGC-BI and PGA Championship in the same season. Woods did this in 2000 and 2006.

Jason Dufner became the 85th American to win the PGA last year. Only 10 foreign-born players have lifted the Wannamaker trophy.

Y.E. Yang began the streak in 2009 at Hazeltine as four of the last six winners have been foreign-born.

Here are the winners since the epic Bob May-Tiger Woods playoff here in 2000:

2013: Jason Dufner         

2011: Keegan Bradley    

2010: Martin Kaymer      

2009: Y.E. Yang              

2008: Padraig Harrington         

2007: Tiger Woods 

2006: Tiger Woods 

2005: Phil Mickelson 

2004: Vijay Singh 

2003: Shaun Micheel 

2002: Rich Beem 

2001: David Toms 

2000: Tiger Woods 

David Toms holds the lowest total with 265 at the Atlanta Athletic Club and Woods and May share the record total in relation to par as they were 18-under-par in 2000 at Valhalla.

Half of the last 14 championships have been decided by a one shot or a playoff.

The other seven events have been essentially blow outs.

Heading back to Padraig Harrington, the last player to win back-to-back majors in 2008, 15 of the last 21 players to win have won their first major championship.

The first three major champions of 2014 are repeat offenders as Bubba Watson took home his second Masters. Martin Kaymer added a U.S. Open to his PGA title at Whistling Straits and Rory McIlroy has fulfilled three legs of the career grand slam with his victory at Royal Liverpool.

McIlroy holds the largest margin of victory in stroke play as he won by a stunning eight shots at Kiawah Island in 2012.

Of the last 14 winners at the PGA, eight of them have been first timers, including four of the last five.

There are only 14 players to win a major and a WGC title as Rory McIlroy joined the party last week at Firestone.

Julius Boros, 48, is the oldest winner and Gene Sarazen was 20 when he collected the hardware in 1922 as the youngest winner.

Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Steve Stricker all have over 60 major starts without a win.

Just eight of the 95 winners have won the PGA on their first try.

This Will Win You a Bar Bet

Only Francis Ouimet, Ben Curtis and Keegan Bradley won the first time they ever teed it up in a major.

Inside the Ropes

Playing at 7,458 yards and par-71, the PGA returns to Valhalla for the first time since 2000 when Tiger Woods defeated Bob May in a playoff. The first crack at the big time was the 1996 PGA championship were Scott Brooks defeated hometown hero Kenny Perry in playoff. After that championship, the PGA bought a share of the golf course. After Woods’ victory in 2000, they bought the rest of it. Today, it’s all theirs as they set up their third PGA Championship on top of two Senior PGAs and, of course, the 2008 Ryder Cup demolition of Europe.

The course was originally designed by Jack Nicklaus in the mid-80s as Louisville didn’t have a signature course. Nicklaus developed two different nines as the front runs in a flood plain and the back is routed as parkland. As with many courses throughout the 90s, Valhalla was in need of a facelift to keep up with the demands of new technology and equipment. With the 2008 Ryder Cup looming, over 300 yards were added to its original 7,100 to stretch it out.

After the Senior PGA here in 2011, all of the greens complexes were rebuilt from top to bottom and new T1 Bentgrass was put in to handle the complex heat and humidity of Kentucky. After 15 years rebuilding greens isn’t out of the question and Jack Nicklaus came back and did just that especially for the PGA in 2014. Slopes had to be softened in most cases to give the greens multiple hole locations. Drainage was also a problem and that was addressed. Bunkers and closely mown areas were also added here and there.

If you’re wondering how much of an advantage it will be to guys who played the Ryder Cup on this track, team member Kenny Perry suggested in an article in the Louisville Courier-Journal that one might as well take any notes from 2008 on the greens and throw them away. Adam Scott remarked Monday afternoon that there will be plenty of birdies this week so that doesn’t suggest difficult anything. Steve Flesch, another native Kentuckian along with Perry, suggested on Twitter that this course isn’t long and three-wood can get the players around.

Jack Nicklaus courses USUALLY have nice, wide landing areas off the fairway but that’s not going to be the case this week. There are areas to land the golf ball but there is also four inches of Kentucky bluegrass lining the fairways and bunkers have been added both in the landing areas and near the greens. The greens play over 6,500 square feet so they are by no means smallish in nature. But they are big enough to attack if players miss the fairway from the tee.

Nicklaus loves him a good, tough par four and he has plenty of tough ones this week including No. 2 which was played as a par four in 2000 and at the Ryder Cup. Now, it’s over 500 yards and a par four that gets the players attention early in their rounds. As three of the four par threes sit at 215 yards players will be tested with their longer irons or their short games to make pars and get out. With only three par fives players will have make do with a double fairway on No. 7, an end-of-road fairway on No. 10 on top a cliff and a gettable par five coming home at No. 18.

Remember, the winning score here last time was 18-under and that was with burned out, sloping greens. Now, everything has been rebuilt, replanted and “softened” so it will be very interesting to see how low scores go this week. From the 2000 PGA, 23 players return and 18 of the 24 Ryder Cuppers will also take the stage. If the weather cooperates, I’m guessing they can trick it out quite nicely but if there is rain, I’m not sure how much of a fight it will be able to put up.

Call to Order

Here they are, ranked for your pleasure.

Yahoo! group in ( )

Rory McIlroy (B): With only one start on him left in Yahoo! there is really no time like the present to burn it on a guy who’s won his last two events on TOUR. One was a major, The Open Championship and the other was a WGC event. He’s beaten the best two fields in golf his last two times out. Asking him to do it a third time in a row is ridiculous but so is his talent level. Graeme McDowell was asked what makes his iron play so good. He answered: his driver. So true, so true…He’s looking for PGA title No. 2 as he won his first at Kiawah Island in 2012.

Sergio Garcia (C): He’s been automatic in Yahoo! C for the last three outings and has rewarded the loyalists with T2, T2 and solo second at the Travelers, The Open Championship and last week at WGC-BI. He has T3 or better in five of his last seven starts on TOUR. Bueno.

Adam Scott (A): Another great subplot from last week is that the Aussie needed T5 or better to keep his world No. 1 ranking but he bogeyed three of his final five holes to fall out of the top five and fall to No. 2 in the world. I’m anxious to see how he rebounds and I bet he would prefer a tougher layout than the one he was talking about on Monday. More birdies lets plenty of the field have a chance for a bit but Scott has proven at TPC Boston and Firestone that he can take it low with the best of them as well. His last five starts on TOUR has seen him win and finish four other times in the top 10 and he STILL ISN’T No. 1 in the world. He’s finished T15 or better in 11 of his last 12 majors. #automatic

Justin Rose (B): I don’t think there is much of an argument at the moment that outside of Jim Furyk, the “rest of the world” is peaking at the right time in the season. Rose is a testament to this as he’s won half of his last four starts on the planet and was T4 last week at Firestone. Guys that hit plenty of GIR have plenty of chances to make birdies. He made NOTHING last week and finished T4. He also doesn’t hate Jack Nicklaus courses as he won the 2010 Memorial and was T8 in 2011 and eighth in 2012.

Jim Furyk (B): Gamers have expressed their frustrations because he hasn’t been able to seal the deal this season. I casually remind them that this has been the case since 2010 after he won the FedExCup Playoffs. In his last four majors he’s finished second, T14, T12 and fourth. I can’t get angry at that. His T15 last week followed his solo fourth at Royal Liverpool and his solo second at Royal Montreal. Let’s just call this track Royal Louisville this week and he’ll post another top four!

Rickie Fowler (A): He’s the only player on the planet, and first since Tiger Woods in 2005, to finish the first three majors in the top five. That’s truly amazing for a guy who came off just an awful stretch before FESJC (T13) and the U.S. Open (T2) saw him bounce back. He kept bouncing right along as his T2 at Royal Liverpool and T8 at WGC-BI showed us he’s on fiyah. Mayjah fiyah. He adds those finishes to his solo third at WGC-Match Play and T5 at the Masters and that’s a hell of a season. All of this is taking place as he and Butch Harmon fiddle with his swing.

Marc Leishman (A) : I’m playing form over function this week as no player is going to have any horse-for-course advantage due to the rebuild greens. Leishman’s nice, high ball flight should suit this track and he’s been on absolute fire as of late. Since THE PLAYERS he’s made eight of nine weekends and seven of those have been T23 or better. His only MC is when he was my OAD. He backed up his T5 at The Open with solo third last week. The world of golf is on FIYAH.

Graeme McDowell (C): In his last six PGA appearances he’s been T15 or better in the four cuts he’s made including T11 at a brutal Kiawah and T12 at a thinking man’s Oak Hill. His game translates anywhere as evidenced by his victory in France earlier this summer and he’s gone on to back that up with three straight top 10s at The Open, RBC Canadian and last week in Akron. With the baby on the way shortly his game is laser-focused at the moment.

Keegan Bradley (B): The 2011 champ’s game is perfect for the PGA set up as he kills it off the tee, hits great long irons and can putt slick greens. His first-ever PGA resulted in a win and he followed that up with T3 at Kiawah even though he fired 77 in the second round! He closed last year with 66 at Oak Hill to finish T19. He’s finished T4 in three of his last six starts on TOUR including his last one, last week in Akron.

Matt Kuchar (A): With only two top 10s in his last eight, gamers are wondering what’s wrong with Kuchar. THAT is how high he’s set the bar over the last few years with his stellar play. The only trophy that’s missing from his collection is a major. Entering the week off T9 in Canada and T12 last week, Kuchar has played four of his last eight rounds 65-65-65-66 on two demanding golf courses. With demanding fairways, largish greens and a requirement for making birdies, Kuchar should be licking his chops.

Zach Johnson (B): With top 10s in three of the last five PGAs, Johnson shows that the shorter hitters also have a chance, which should be the case in all majors. All facets of the game should be tested and Johnson is quite solid as he sits ninth in the all-around ranking. He’ll hit every fairway and green and his short game is way better than average. His current form is the question as he comes off T47 at The Open and T23 last week at Firestone. I like that he closed 68-69 last weekend with only one bogey so that shows me he’s rounding into form.

Henrik Stenson (A): His T39 was his worst finish in his last seven majors and his first outside of T21. Stenson will have no problem carving up Valhalla from tee to green and has three top-six finishes in his last four PGAs. He was in it on the back nine at Oak Hill last year but couldn’t catch Dufner. He’s looking to become the first MALE major champion from Sweden.

Ryan Moore (A): I asked the question earlier in the season after Moore won in China about him stepping up in the bigger events. This spring he did not but this summer he’s found a very steady, happy place inside the ropes. After a late winter and spring of not cracking anything better than T17 in 10 events, Moore has now rattled off four events in the last month T12 or better. He opened with T5 at the Travelers to begin summer and has added T7 (JDC), T12 (The Open) and T8 last week at WGC-BI. The first two results in the streak didn’t surprise me; the final two have been a huge boost to Moore’s and his fantasy owner’s confidence moving forward. I’m omitting his less-than-stellar majors record and riding this new wave!

Phil Mickelson (A): This has disaster written all over it this week but there is one thing I have learned with Phil: once he finds something, hop on immediately and try and take advantage of it. It’s hard to believe that he only has two top 25s in his last six PGA appearances and none of those have gone for a top 10. He’s usually disinterested after The Open (bad luck until last year) – Firestone (bad course form) and it has shown at this event. With a Ryder Cup all but locked up after Dustin Johnson and Tiger Woods issues, I can see him relaxing and letting it loose this week. He closed with 10 birdies and 62 Sunday at Firestone and that’s impossible to ignore.

Hideki Matsuyama (B): His worst major of 2013 was his T19 at Oak Hill as he added that to T10 at the U.S. Open and T6 at The Open. 2014 hasn’t been as kind in the majors for the Japanese star but he did pick up his first TOUR victory at Muirfield, a Jack Nicklaus design, back in June. He followed that up with T35 at Pinehurst and T39 at Royal Liverpool but his 65-68 weekend at Firestone is telling me to ignore that and focus on the now.

Brandt Snedeker (A): Another who is dying for Ryder Cup attention, Snedeker left his coach Todd Anderson and has begun working with Butch Harmon this summer. The changes have been as he’s posted five T25 or better in his last six with the only hiccup T58 at Hoylake. He’s posted seven of his last eight rounds under 70 entering this week and he needs a big week to get into that conversation.

Next Best

Bubba Watson: Bombing and gouging might just be what the doctor orders this week. He makes tons of birdies, hits tons of GIR and hits it a mile. He’s fourth in the all-around yet his recent form is off-putting but not to the point of omission.

Robert Karlsson: Another player who hits it a mile and a mile in the air, the other Swede to keep a close eye on this week has T20, T16, T4 and MC in his last four attempts at the PGA. His T12 at Royal Liverpool extends a six event run with four finishes of T12 or better.

Lee Westwood: If I’m going to take a look a Mickelson’s 62 when the pressure was on then I can’t ignore Westwood’s 63 on Sunday either. He has had no form the entire summer before dialing in that performance on Sunday. He is trying to play into Ryder Cup shape like did this spring with a seventh at the Masters and a victory in Malaysia back in April.

Kevin Na: He closed with a 64 at the Memorial earlier this year before falling in a playoff to Matsuyama. Last week at Firestone his weekend was 66-67 to finish T23. He’s quietly 11th in the all-around ranking this season.

Brendon Todd: Each week I have a harder and harder time leaving him off the preview column and T39 at Hoylake in his first Open and T45 at his first WGC isn’t scaring me off this week. I love that he grinded it out all four rounds in each of those events. That’s a fantastic attitude moving forward. Since his victory he hasn’t missed a beat as he’s played every weekend in all six events with a cut. He was T8 at Memorial earlier in the year if that is a connection that appeals.

Jimmy Walker: Go on and smash it down there as far as you can, wedge it on the greens and putt like he does. He’s finished T8, T9 and T26 in the big boys this year and added four rounds of par or better last week to finish T26 at Firestone. He’ll make plenty of birdies this week.

Victor Dubuisson: Another youngster enjoying his taste of golf at the highest level, Dubuisson has shown he’s not bothered by the size and depth of these fields to contend. His solo second at Match Play should have been the clue gamers needed. His P2 at the Nordea Masters after returning from injury should have cemented a place in memory banks. His T9 at Hoylake in just his third-ever major should have confirmed all suspicions. He’s already in the Europe squad for the Ryder Cup. #KeepUp

Charl Schwartzel: With T7 at The Open and T4 last week at Firestone I’m going to have to bite, AGAIN. He’s ninth in scoring and ninth in birdies and has a nicely balanced game. He also has had success at the Memorial so that just reinforces him for me this week. It didn’t hurt that he opened with 65 and closed with 64 last week either!

J.B. Holmes: Can’t have a list without a hometown hero on it in a major! The UK grad won earlier at a big, long Quail Hollow so this little 7,458 won’t bother him! He had it working last week before a final round 73 at Firestone did him in.

Bill Haas: His last two top 10s were at Doral, which was completely overhauled and Memorial. If a top 25 is needed, look no further.

Off the Radar

Ryan Palmer: He’s long, hits plenty of GIR and destroys par fours. He quietly sits 12th in the all-around but has a chilly summer. Nice sleeper if his usual trusty putter can come around.

Scott Piercy: He’s quietly snuck back into the groove of playing after a shoulder injury knocked him out of the early part of the season. A couple of starts on the web.com were followed by T25 at Royal Montreal that included 66 and 65 on a course he had never played. Yes, please.

Charley Hoffman: His best finish in a major is T27 if curious as to why he’s down “here”. It doesn’t help that the last two times out he was T67 and MC but those were at Royal Liverpool and Royal Montreal. Hoffman excels by bombing it and finding GIR, the perfect recipe for PGA success.

Scott Brown: Another who played well at the Memorial and is coming off T5-T20 in his last two, Brown is 22nd in total putting and ranks inside the top 30 in fairways.

Ben Martin: If the majors are supposed to test every facet Martin should be an excellent dark horse this week. He led the web.com last year in the all-around category and is now 25th in the big league. He, obviously, is a very solid ball-striker with a very solid short game. His three, T3s prove that as one was at a resort course in Puerto Rico; one was at a classic shot-makers course, Harbour Town; and his most recent was at the beast known as Congressional.

Patrick Reed: With T11, T26, MC and T4 in his last four events, I’ll excuse his first Open Championship as a negative. He closed with 65 on Sunday and has shown in the past he can get hot in a hurry.

Brian Harman:  After winning at the JDC and T26 at Hoylake, he bottomed out last weekend with 75-76. A course that needs birdies should sharpen him right back into form.

Geoff Ogilvy: He ran away with the proceedings at Jack’s Montreux Club last week to win the Barracuda Championship. There are worse options.

Wait Until Next Time, Next Month, Next Year...

Hurt, sick or just out of form, I’m not going near any of these guys this week this late in the season.

Tiger Woods: No, thanks

Jason Dufner: Sadly for gamers it didn’t look his neck responded to treatment last week so I wouldn’t expect much better this week.

Luke Donald: If there is no form or course form there is not a chance I’m going this way unless he there LATE.

Ian Poulter: He was bitten by a horsefly last week and sent to the hospital before his T52. After his MC at The Open, I’m out of patience.

David Toms: PGA buffs will recite his recent successes. He WD after making the cut last week at Montreux with a back injury.

Steve Stricker: Folks, it’s over. Bolton said it would happen right before our eyes. It has. Lovely man but coming down the stretch in fantasy golf is no time to “hope” he snaps out of it.

Jason Day: When he’s 100%, he’ll be in the first section, not the last…

Angel Cabrera: I’m not sure why folks are on him week in and week out. He’s played 14 PGAs and never finished inside of T19. That was at Valhalla in 2000.

Jordan Spieth of the Week Last Week

The column was taken over and thrashed by the kid from Texas last year. Out of respect, I’m not changing the title of it for 2013-14. It will remind me just how good Spieth was in the last three months of the season. This year, we’ll still identify an up-and-coming player and/or rookie that fantasy players should have on their radar.

Frys.com: Hideki Matsuyama, T3; Brooks Koepka, T3; Max Homa, T9.

SHCO: Ryo Ishikawa is only 22, don’t forget, T2; Chesson Hadley, T5.

CIMB: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, 24, might have enough money after this week to earn Special Temporary Membership. Pay attention!

WGC-HSBC: Jordan Spieth was 17th. Tommy Fleetwood (T18) is only 22 and plays in Europe. Matsuyama WD with a bad back.

McGladrey: Scott Langley turned 24 last April and is in his second season on TOUR. He finished T22 last week and No. 124 last season. #slimpickinngsthisweek

OHL Mayakoba: Harris English turned 24 last July. He won.

HTOC:  Er, Jordan Spieth, solo second.

Sony: Hudson Swafford and Will Wilcox both finished T8. Both played on the Web.com Tour last year and are rookies on TOUR this season.

Humana: Patrick Reed won. He’s 23. You need to pay attention.

FIO: Ryo Ishikawa, 22, bagged another top 10 finish. That’s his sixth in his last 10 events on TOUR or the Web.com Tour. He’s an alternate this week as of Monday afternoon.

WMPO: Hideki Matsuyama is 21. In 11 events the last two years, he’s hit the top 25 in NINE of them, including T4 last week. #ALLRIGHTYTHEN

Pebble Beach: Er, Jordan Spieth, T4. Patrick Reed, 23, finished T13 and he’s won twice since August. Golf is good hands, again.

Riviera: Harris English won’t be 25 until July. He was T10; Spieth was T12.

WGC-Match Play: Victor Dubuisson is 23 and was second. Jordan Spieth was T5. #youthmovement

Honda: Russell Henley is now the fourth player on TOUR under 25 with two wins. He joins Patrick Reed, Harris English and Rory McIlroy in this very elite club of pups.

WGC-CC: Patrick Reed is 23. He’s now won three times in eight months on TOUR.

Puerto Rico Open: Rookie Chesson Hadley, 26, took home his first title on the big boy circuit.

Valspar: Chesson Hadley backed up his first win with T14 on a tough, tough Copperhead Course. Scott Langley, a second year player from Illinois (see above) was third.

API: The young Japanese lad Ishikawa racked up another top 10 (T8) this week. Yep, he’s still just 22.

Valero: He’ll be remembered for all of the wrong reasons but Andrew Loupe, 25, finished T4 in only his eighth start on TOUR. #slowgolfclap

Shell Houston: Russell Henley’s T7 shows him heating up before heading back for another crack at Augusta.

Masters: That Jordan Spieth guy was T2.

RBC Heritage: John Huh, T3, is a TOUR winner but is only 23 years old. Remember?

Zurich: The winner was 22-year old Seung-Yul Noh. He fits this column to a T.

Wells Fargo: Defending champ Derek Ernst was T30. He’ll turn 24 on May 15.

THE PLAYERS: That pesky Spieth was tied for the 54-hole lead and finished T4.

HPBNC: T16 was the best the youth could muster with John Huh, who turns 24 on Wednesday.

Colonial: Second-year player David Lingmerth poked his head up again with T5 to lead the youngsters. Hideki Matsuyama, who co-led after 54-holes, finished T10.

Memorial: Matsuyama must be a quick study. He was the 54-hole leader at Colonial yet finished T10. He took it deep this week with his first victory on TOUR, in a playoff, nonetheless. #impressive

FESJC: Brooks Koepka continues to rack up non-Member points and his T19 this week added to that.

U.S. Open: For the second consecutive week Koepka has the spotlight and deservedly so after T4. With Matsuyama, Spieth and Koepka, the future looks quite bright for the TOUR.

Travelers: Bud Cauley (remember him?) and Scott Langley were T11. Langley held the 36-hole lead.

Quicken Loans: Spieth and Reed both were T11. John Huh was T19.

The Greenbrier: Even though it is his third year on TOUR, Cauley is just 24. No point forgetting about him now as he’s bagged T11 and T4 in two of his last three.

JDC: Er, that Spieth guy again, T7.

The Open: Frenchman Victor Dubuisson is having some 12-month run. He turned 24 in April. #payattention

RBC Canadian Open: Jamie Lovemark, 26, has battled multiple injuries over the years but he could be one to keep an eye on in off-week fields. T12.

WGC-BI: Patrick Reed was T4.

 

Coming Later TUESDAY Afternoon

Playing the Tips will be up and running this and every Tuesday afternoon and will list all of the Rotoworld experts picks in the GolfChannel.com game, the Yahoo! Fantasy Golf game and my One-and-Done feature. Look for it around 6ET every Tuesday for the rest of the season.

Coming Wednesday

And the analysis doesn't end here. Rotoworld's Rob Bolton and I will be co-hosting a one-hour live chat Wednesday at NOON p.m. ET. We will be breaking down the field at the PGA Championship and answering your questions. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter.

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