PGA Championship 2013: Complete Guide to the Tournament

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistAugust 5, 2013

PGA Championship 2013: Complete Guide to the Tournament

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    Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y. is the site of the fourth and what could be the most dramatic major of the year.

    The PGA Championship features Tiger Woods enjoying one of the best seasons of his career. He is coming off a spectacular seven-stroke victory in the Bridgestone Invitational, his fifth triumph of the 2013 golf season. While Woods searches for his first major title since 2008, Phil Mickelson is also red-hot. Lefty won the Scottish Open and British Open in back-to-back weeks in July.

    Oak Hill has hosted major tournaments since 1949. The 2013 PGA Championship marks the third time it has hosted that major. It has also hosted three U.S. Opens and the 1995 Ryder Cup.

    The action starts Thursday morning, and we want to make sure you are fully prepared for the last major of the season. Course facts, key pairings, major storylines and a viewing guide are just a few of the things we offer up in the next few slides.

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Oak Hill Country Club History

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    The golf world is once again coming to Rochester, N.Y. for one of its biggest events.

    Many of the biggest names and biggest events have played out at Oak Hill. In 1956, Cary Middlecoff, the former dentist, held off golfing legend Ben Hogan to win the U.S. Open. Hogan's last win in a major had been at the 1953 British Open. He had Middlecoff in his sights, but he could not run him down.

    Lee Trevino earned the first victory of his career at the U.S. Open in 1968 at Oak Hill. Trevino broke through with the spectacular win when many thought it would be difficult for him to make the cut.

    Jack Nicklaus had a spectacular triumph in the 1980 PGA Championship at Oak Hill. He shot a six-under 274, capping a season in which he also won the U.S. Open.

    The European golf team rallied to beat the U.S. in the 1995 Ryder Cup at Oak Hill in a showdown that only added to the storied rivalry in one of golf's most thrilling events.

    Another memorable moment that occurred at the club came when Sergio Garcia defeated Matt Kuchar in a famous 1998 U.S. Amateur quarterfinal round match at Oak Hill.

    The club was established in 1901 and was designed by Donald Ross. It has since been re-designed three times.

     

The 2013 PGA Championship Viewing Guide—On the Tube and Across the Web

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    TNT Sports and CBS will combine to televise the majority of the PGA Championship over the four days of the tournament.

    TNT will come on the air at 1 p.m. ET on Thursday and Friday to televise the first two rounds. That means that much of the morning rounds will not be televised.

    The PGA Championship can also be viewed online at PGA.com.

     

    Thursday and Friday (First and Second Rounds)

    *All times Eastern

    Television

    1 p.m to 7 p.m.—TNT Sports

    Internet

    http://www.pga.com/pgachampionship/multimedia/video

     

    Saturday and Sunday (Third and Final Rounds)

    Television

    11 a.m. to 2 p.m.—TNT Sports

    2 p.m. to 7 p.m.—CBS Sports

    Internet

    http://www.pga.com/pgachampionship/multimedia/video

Oak Hill's Top Storylines

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    The story that is at the top of the list at every major: Will Tiger Woods break his dry spell and win his first major event since 2008?

    It's starting to sound like one of sports' most well-known numbers. Put it in a category with Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point night or Hank Aaron's 755 career home runs. Tiger Woods has 14 career majors and he has been looking for No. 15 since he won a playoff over Rocco Mediate in the 2008 U.S. Open.

    Woods is trying to catch Jack Nicklaus, who won 18 majors over his career, to cement his status as the greatest golfer of all-time.

    Woods' storyline may be the biggest, but there are others. Can Phil Mickelson pick up where he left off after winning the British Open?

    Can Brandt Snedeker, who is having a spectacular season, break through and win a major for the first time in his career?

    Whatever happened to Rory McIlroy? He won the 2012 PGA and was the No. 1 player in the world a year ago, but is in a deep funk and does not appear to have a legitimate chance to defend his crown.

Marquee Groups at Oak Hill

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    Golf fans will get a chance to see some very interesting groupings over the first two days at the PGA Championship.

    Those who are at the golf course or watching on television will be able to see the following players grouped together on Day 1:

    (All times Eastern)

     

    7:45 a.m. — Steve Stricker, Jason Dufner, Hideki Matsuyama

    7:55 a.m. — Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar, Sergio Garcia

    8:05 a.m. — Ernie Els, Graeme McDowell, Bill Haas

    8:35 a.m. — Tiger Woods, Keegan Bradley, Davis Love III

    1:05 p.m. — Bubba Watson, Lee Westwood, Tim Clark

    1:25 p.m. — Rory McIlroy, Vijay Singh, Martin Kaymer

    1:45 p.m. — Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Justin Rose

     

Weather Forecast

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    While the weather forecast for the Rochester area is somewhat shaky for the practice rounds in the days before the tournament, the weather looks ideal for scoring over the final two days of the event.

    Look for moderate summertime temperatures over the weekend. The temperature should not top the 80-degree mark.

    Thunderstorms could impact Thursday's opening round. If they are severe enough, they could cause some delays.

Keys to Success at Oak Hill

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    The top golfers in the world will compete on the 7,145-yard, par-70 Oak Hill Country Club East Course.

    This course requires accurate driving off the tee and the distance to get the ball past the many hazards that line most of the holes. The first hole is a perfect example of this.

    This is a 460-yard par four and the key is to get the drive 260 yards down the narrow fairway where golfers can take advantage of a downhill slope that will provide another 30 to 40 yards of carry. There are trees on both sides of the fairway and out-of-bounds area on the right.

     

Underdogs to Watch at Oak Hill

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    Underdogs in the PGA Championship? You don't get a chance to play in this major unless you are one of the best golfers in the world. However, if you are not in the World Golf Top 10 rankings, you can be considered an underdog.

    Hunter Mahan: He has three top-10 finishes this year, and was on fire in the first two rounds of the RBC Canadian Open in late July when he shot 67 and 64. However, Mahan did not have a chance to go for the title because he withdrew from the event when his wife went into labor for the birth of the couple's first child. If Mahan can pick up where he left off, he has a chance to cause problems for the rest of the field.

    Hideki Matsuyama: The 21-year-old Japanese golfer is off the radar for many golf fans, but he has a precise game and he could contend if he gets off to a good start. He is solid with his irons and an accurate ball-striker. If his putting is on and he doesn't get hit with a slow-play penalty, Matsuyama could cause problems for the field.

    Thorbjorn Olesen: This talented young Danish golfer announced his presence at the Masters when he closed with back-to-back rounds of 68 that allowed him to tie for sixth in the tournament. Olesen has all the elements needed to contend, even if few list him as one of their golfers to watch. Keep your eye on the underdog known as "Thunder Bear."

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Favorites to Watch at Oak Hill

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    On its surface, this looks like it could be a showdown between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Both men should have a lot to say about the tournament, but they are not the only golfers who will be among the favorites to win.

    Tiger Woods: The best golfer in the world based on his ranking and the way he has played in 2013. However, Woods has to bust out of his major funk and win before he will get full credit from the golf establishment. If there's one area of his game to worry about, it's his driving. Even though he won the Bridgestone Invitational by seven strokes, his driving was not pristine.

    Phil Mickelson: A superb year for Mickelson highlighted by his British Open Championship. If he could pull off two majors in one year, he would almost certainly run away with Player of the Year honors.

    Brandt Snedeker: One of the best golfers on tour this season, Snedeker has two titles and two second-place finishes to his credit. He has never won a major as he seems to have problems with anxiety in the biggest events. That is usually not an issue in other tournaments, so he has a major hurdle to overcome if he wants to win at Oak Hill.

    Matt Kuchar: If he can improve his accuracy off the tee, Kuchar could find a way to win the PGA Championship. He has the distance, accuracy with his irons and is a strong putter. He should be in contention for the duration of the tournament.

     

     

And the Winner Is: Matt Kuchar

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    It's time for Matt Kuchar to win a major. He has had an eye-opening season, as he has won twice and also has two second-place finishes this season.

    Kuchar was victorious in the WGC-Accenture World Match Play Championship in February and he also won the Memorial in June. Both of these are high-level tournaments that rank just behind the majors.

    Kuchar has never won one of the Big Four titles, but it's about time. He has a smooth swing and the short game needed to win at Oak Hill. If he can handle the pressure of playing well in the final round, he has a chance to steal the championship from Tiger and Lefty.