Bellerive Country Club outside of St. Louis was the lucky recipient of the 100th PGA Championship that gets underway this Thursday.
One of the many storylines will be Jordan Spieth seeking a career Slam, having already won the Masters, US and British Opens before his 25th birthday.
Another will be the weather, usually hot and steamy in St. Louis in mid-August. The forecast is actually quite good – high 80s, wind below 10 mph, chance of rain just 10 percent, sunny skies basically all four days.
The 100th edition is also significant with Tiger Woods playing the PGA tourney for the first time since 2015. The first time Bellerive hosted a major was back in 1965 when Gary Player won the United States Open. Good news for Spieth. Player’s victory completed his career Slam.
Bellerive also hosted the 1992 PGA won by Nick Price, one of the premier ball-strikers of his era. History says watch for three key holes that could determine this year’s winner.
No. 6, par 3, 213 yards: According to Bellerive head pro Mike Tucker, if fans want to see good challenges and potential train wrecks, this would be the hole to see. In 1965, the hole played to a 4.02 stroke average.
No. 10, par 4, 508 yards: The drive is critical on this hole, which plays to a par 5 for members. Wide green surrounded by a creek.
No. 17, par 5, 597 yards: Likely the last hole players will have a chance to make a significant move. The majority of the field should get on in 2 so we’re likely to see a bunch of eagles.
The short list: You always have the usual cast that seem to make the first page of the leaderboard on the back 9 Sunday – Tommy Fleetwood, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy and Spieth.
The overdue list: McIlroy with no major wins since 2014. Rickie Fowler with no major wins period. Jon Rahm has gotten plenty of hype in the past year and of course Tiger of which so much is expected.
Westgate odds: Johnson 9-1; Thomas, McIlroy 12-1; Spieth Woods, Day, Fowler, Rose, Koepka 20-1. Molinari, Fleetwood, Woods, Rahm 25-1.
Worthy longshots: Patrick Reed and Tony Finau 30-1, Paul Casey, Henrik Stenson and Patrick Cantlay 40-1, Alex Noren, Bubba Watson, Wade Simpson and Xander Schauffele 50-1, Matt Kuchar and Bryson DeShambeau 60-1.
Poke and hope: Marc Leishman 50-1, Phil Mickelson 60-1, Sergio Garcia 80-1, Branden Grace 80-1, Adam Scott 100-1.
36-hole threats: Kevin Na, Luke List, Kyle Stanley and Ryan Moore 150-1.
You’ve got to be kidding: Davis Love III 500-1, John Daly 1000-1.
Winner: We’ll go with that short list. Tiger still hasn’t shown in his comeback that he can finish. Kuchar close but no cigar guy.
Encore: British Open champ Francesco Molinari did not factor in Akron, but has been either first or second in five of his last seven starts.