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PGA Championship Preview

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Editor’s Note: Be sure to follow Dan Daly's spontaneous and entertaining comments on VegasInsider.com and Twitter@_Dandaly

I will be a guest on KVCE 1160 AM in Dallas during the Texas Links on the Air show this Saturday Aug. 10 from 1:00-2:00 p.m. CST breaking down the PGA Championship (right before Saturday leaders tee off) and all things golf.  You can also Listen Live at www.kvceradio.com/sports.  Be sure to tune in, it should be an entertaining hour.

Before I get to Tiger and the PGA I have to go somewhere I never go…women’s golf.  First of all, just when I thought the LPGA couldn't be any worse, they cancel a round at the Old Course because of high winds. Are you kidding me? I honestly thought that was a joke at first. That’s like canceling the Winter Olympics because it’s snowing. Google the 2002 British Open at Murfield, watch the videos from their Saturday round, and tell me I’m still supposed to take women’s golf seriously.  On that note, I’m so glad that horrible story has gone away about the Park chick and her quest for a fake Grand Slam.  Surely the Golf Channel will now go back to regular golf coverage and stop wasting my time.  Moving on. 

It sure was nice to bet on Tiger for the first time in a while and watch him win me all of my money back (and then some).  It was just like old times. 

As for his week at Firestone, people by and large are idiots.  I really don’t know how else to say that any nicer.  Tiger shoots 61 Friday, wins the WGC by 100 shots and he gets criticized.  Are you kidding me? 

“The old Tiger would have shot 59.”

 Really?  The “old Tiger” never shot 59 in his heyday, in fact his 61 tied his career-best on tour back when he was the “old Tiger.” 

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“He really struggled over the weekend compared to Thursday/Friday just like he always does.  He’s not a closer anymore.”
 Seriously?  He had a frickin’ seven-shot lead going into Saturday, still had a seven-shot lead going into Sunday and won by seven.  Yeah, total meltdown over the weekend…idiots.   

“Who cares, it’s not a major, wake me up when he does it in a major.”  Dude has won five times this year, including two World Golf Championships and The PLAYERS.  While I agree majors are what really matter, and Tiger definitely feels that way, every player on Tour would sign up for that résumé in about .0001 second. Hell, that’s a career for a lot of players.  As I said a few weeks ago, he will win a major sooner or later and when he does the pressure will be off and he will win a handful.  The question is when, not if.   

And yes, I saw Tiger use his son Charlie as a prop after he won this weekend to show that he is a father just like Phil.  It all needs to stop ASAP, we get it. 

Tiger’s win this weekend leads to several good subplots going into the PGA Championship. 

First, I might be the only person that sees the irony here but I will point it out anyway.  The week of the British Open, Mickelson was asked if he thought winning the Scottish Open would make it even harder to win the British.  Mickelson responded, "It's difficult to win the week before a major then the week after. Then again the last person to do it...you're looking at him."  Again, Tiger was actually the last to do it when he won the WGC and then the PGA the following week in 2007.  And then after winning the Scottish Open and British Open Mickelson actually does hold that distinction.  The irony of course being that he might not even last a month with that distinction now that Tiger once again has won the WGC and is heavily favored to win the PGA this weekend.

The other subplot is the PGA Player of the Year is very much on the line this week between Tiger and FIGJAM Mickelson.  If Tiger wins, he locks that up.  If Mickelson wins, he locks it up.  If neither win the PGA Championship it will be very interesting to see who it goes to between the two of them (assuming Rose and Scott don’t win).  Pending the FedEx Cup playoffs of course.  Mickelson would seem to be the favorite, but again people are quick to write off Tiger’s year because he hasn’t won a major despite his overwhelming résumé otherwise.  More on both of them in a minute.

As for who to bet on this week (or not to bet on):

Justin Rose (15/1) and Adam Scott (20/1) – I think both will play well but I just don’t see either of them winning two majors in the same year.        

Rory McIlroy (30/1) – In my 2013 Preview I thought Rory would have it figured out by now and repeat this week.  Now…I wouldn’t take him at 30/1 to win the Oak Hill CC Club Championship, much less the PGA Championship.  He did show signs of improvement at Firestone this week, just like he did last year before he went off at the PGA, and no one flips a switch like Rory…but not this year. 

Brandt Snedeker (25/1) – He will be a popular choice this week and rightfully so.  The putter is the greatest eraser ever made when it comes to a scorecard, and outside of Tiger at Firestone no one has putted better on tour as of late than Sneds.  He was one nine-hole stretch away from seriously contending at the British Open.   

Jason Dufner (40/1) – I still can’t believe he didn’t win the 2011 PGA Championship, and he won’t win the 2013 version either but I fully expect him to be near the top of the leaderboard.  I just want him to win the Wanamaker Trophy at some point to see how long it takes to fill it up as a spittoon. 

Rickie Fowler (50/1) – Last I checked he still only has one win on tour, wake me up when he actually contends in another tournament, much less a major. 

Henrik Stenson (50/1) – I actually think his odds are way too high.  He’s playing too good to be that long on odds and I have to imagine they will go down quite a bit during the week.  He won’t win of course because he no longer has Fanny Sunesson on the bag, but if you want to throw your money away on someone with inflated odds he’s your guy. 

Lee Westwood (25/1) – This is still a major and he is still Lee Westwood right?  Fool me once shame on you, fool me 62 times, shame on me.   

Sergio Garcia (30/1) – This is still a major and he is still Sergio Garcia right?  I repeat, fool me once shame on you, fool me 60 times, shame on me. We are long since removed from the lovable Sergio we met at Medinah Country Club at the 1999 PGA Championship.  

Jason Day (25/1) – He’s like Angel Cabrera, only not nearly as cool.  He just shows up in majors.  He hasn’t broken through yet and probably won’t this week either, but he will be up there come Sunday and sooner than later he will win a major or two.

Shaun Micheel (A Trillion/1…or close to it) – He may be the defending PGA Champion at Oak Hill CC (2003) but I think it’s safe to say he won’t win again this week.  On Sunday he actually said, “They always talk about the best players to never win a Major.  I’m just glad they never talk about the worst player to ever win a major because I would be on the top of that list.”  Well said Shaun, well said.     

John Daly (N/A) – Former PGA Champion not able to compete this week due to injury.  Missed but never forgotten.  See you next year at Valhalla old friend. 

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I have Woods at 5/1 (and sure to go down) and Mickelson at 12/1 as the two clear-cut favorites this week at PGA Championship.  In fact, I’m calling my shot right now. Tiger and Phil will be paired together in the final group on Sunday at Oak Hill.  At some point it has to happen right?  We are owed that as fans.  While I always hoped it would take place at Augusta, I actually think this week would be even better with all the side plots that would come with it.

One vs. Two…
The not so secretive rivalry…
Player of the year up for grabs… 


The list goes on.  Not to mention it would be the highest rated golf round ever (unless it was Tiger and Sergio, which would actually top it).      

At 43-years-old, Mickelson is somehow playing the best golf of his life and his weekend at Firestone means nothing to me.  He has never played well there and his whole career at this point is all about majors.  As for Tiger, he clearly has his swing in check, his short game is back and more importantly he is making everything in sight.  Of course that has been the case almost all year and he has yet to close the deal over the weekend at a major…but I like his chances this week to break through (again, I know).

May the best father that uses their children as props win.    

In case you were curious, in the 2003 PGA Championship held at Oak Hill CC, Mickelson finished T23 after having a share of the first round lead while Tiger finished T39 playing all four rounds over par. 

Finally this is a big week off the golf course as well.  It’s Shark Week and they have aired this commercial for two weeks on the golf channel and it makes me laugh every time.   
Wishing everyone a happy final major week of 2013.

Until Next Week,
Dan Daly

  
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