Eight Australians will tee it up at the 2021 US PGA Championship this week where length off the tee will highly desirable.
Rory McIlroy was a runaway last time the PGA Championship was hosted at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island in 2012.
The eight-stroke victory was remarkable as it was done in imperfect fashion. McIlroy’s driver wasn’t behaving at all. It was some majestic recovery shots and work around the greens that showed it’s not all length off the tee that will get it done this week.
Perhaps Australia’s best chance at victory this week is the mulleted Cameron Smith who can take a stack of confidence from his victory alongside fellow countryman Marc Leishman last month. It’s Smith’s short game that will pull him into contention across the weekend.
Joining Smith are seven other Australians including the usual suspects Adam Scott, Marc Leishman, and a very out-of-form Jason Day.
Here is a quick rundown of all eight Australian golfers in the field, their last five finishes in strokeplay tournaments, at the PGA Championship, and their tee time grouping for the first two rounds.
Australia TV coverage of the US PGA Championship is on FoxSports/Kayo and begins at 3am Friday morning (AEST).
World ranking: 25
Last 5 events: (most recent) T9, T10, T17, T11, 4
Last 5 PGA Champ: T43, T54, CUT, T59, T4
Round 1 and 2 grouping: Justin Rose, Gary Woodland
If he’s ever going to give the PGA championship a shake, this is it. A big game off the tee and an exquisite short game will serve him well on the tight lies around the Pete Dye layout. Looked good at The Masters for a T10 and his win with Marc Leishman last month will have his confidence high.
World ranking: 37
Last 5 events: T21, T5, CUT, CUT, T39
Last 5 PGA Champ: CUT, CUT, T45, T27, T18
Round 1 and 2 grouping: Paul Casey, Garrick Higgo
Leishman missed the cut at Kiawah Island in 2012
World ranking: 38
Last 5 events: 54, T13, T48, T38, 10
Last 5 PGA Champ: T22, T8, CUT, CUT, T18
Round 1 and 2 grouping: Tyrrell Hatton, Rickie Fowler
Adam Scott finished 11th here in 2012 after going into the final round just four shots behind McIlroy. Scott’s recent form has been poor apart from a decent showing at the Honda Classic but Scott told AAP he’s changed his mindset ahead of this major.
World ranking: 56
Last 5 events: T37, T26, 1, T55, CUT
Last 5 PGA Champ: CUT, CUT(2018), T39(2016), T30(2015), T54(2014)
Round 1 and 2 grouping: Dylan Frittelli, Larkin Gross
Jones has played 17 major championships in his career with a T21 at the PGA Championship in 2015 still his best result. Jones followed his fabulous win at the Honda Classic with a solid T26 at The Masters. Also played the first two rounds of The Masters with Dylan Fritelli.
World ranking: 65
Last 5 events: CUT, CUT, CUT, T35, T31
Last 5 PGA Champ: T4, T23, CUT, CUT, T8
Round 1 and 2 grouping: Phil Mickelson, Padraig Harrington
Dropping back out of the world’s top-60 is an indication of Jason Day’s game at the moment. Day teased us with some low rounds over the past few months but hasn’t been able to put together four good rounds with three missed cuts in his last five events. Needs a good finish to earn a spot back in the world’s top-60 and a spot in next month’s US Open.
World ranking: 97
Last 5 events: CUT, CUT, T46, 70, CUT
Last 5 PGA Champ: CUT, T71
Round 1 and 2 grouping: Tyler Collet, Brendan Todd
Two MCs in his last two starts on the PGA Tour but Herbert has the long game to be in the mix here at Kiawah.
World ranking: 118
Last 5 events: CUT, T41, CUT, T41, 2
Last 5 PGA Champ: debut
Round 1 and 2 grouping: Stuart Smith, Emiliano Grillo
Five starts this season has seen Jason Scrivener put away a 2nd place finish in Abu Dhabi early in the year along with a couple of missed cuts. Just his second-ever major after a MC at the 2018 Open Championship.
World ranking: 127
Last 5 events: T26, CUT, T25, T69, T33
Last 5 PGA Champ: debut
Round 1 and 2 grouping: Chris Kirk, Pete Bello
By his own admission, Davis’ form has been scratchy of late but he has the length to compete at Kiawah. T26 last week was enough to give him some confidence heading into just his second-ever major championship.