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Now it's time for a Major Championship
The restart of the PGA Tour season has been a success for many reasons. The Tour has had no major outbreaks of the Covid 19 virus and has been able to play its scheduled events with no problems. The public and players have gotten accustomed to not having spectators watching and cheering their every shot. Watching on television the interest and excitement is still there. The players know what is going on and we have seen some outstanding play. Now it's time for a Major Championship.
The PGA Championship will be played at Harding Park Golf Course in San Francisco without spectators. It will look and feel strange to have an important event without the backdrop of excited fans. But I guarantee the players will know it's a major championship. Being the first of the three major tournaments, there will be nerves on display. You don't have to have all the hoopla, you just have to know that you are chasing immorality if you win the Wanamaker Trophy and be forever labeled a major winner.
There are a number of young players ready to emerge victorious this coming week. Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau, Collin Morikawa, and Xander Schauffele are my top picks of non-major winners to breakthrough. This is a good golf course for Jon Rahm; I will be surprised if he isn't in contention on Sunday. The favorites should be Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas. Brooks seems to be rounding into top form. If he continues his aggressive play and makes a couple more putts a third PGA title could be his. Justin Thomas style of play and fearlessness fits Harding Park's character. Tough to win two in a row, but he could do it.
The other big names are there also, but none are peaking at the right time. Rory McIlroy has been too inconsistent ball striking and putting. Dustin Johnson is hurting and not at full strength. Justin Rose and Adam Scott haven't played enough or well. Tony Finau could challenge, but he has trouble finishing. Rickie Fowler, unfortunately, will find a way to disappoint and fade in the clutch. If the winner isn't Rahm, Koepka, Thomas or one of the young guns, don't be surprised if Webb Simpson doesn't pull off an upset. Of course you can never count out Tiger Woods, but these days you are never sure which Tiger will show up. With only one tournament under his belt in five months, it will be too much to ask for him to win. But it's Tiger, so you never know.
Harding Park will provide a stern test. The fairways have been narrowed to emphasize accuracy. The fairways and greens will be fast and firm. But the biggest problem for the players this week will be the rough. A few weeks ago it was at ankle length. They will cut it down, but the grass is wiry and tough to hit out of. A few will try to overpower the course, but they better be 100% on their game. On Sunday we will have our first major winner of 2020, but Harding Park might be the story and the winner.