Hank Gola breaks down the field at the 101st PGA Championship at the Black Course at Bethpage State Park.
Koepka has the ability to overpower the Black the way Tiger Woods did in 2002 and his new “fairway finder” tee shot should keep him out of trouble. The course suits him and so does his major mindset.
The big hitters have a big advantage. Improvement in his wedge game will be a big factor in getting up and down for par if he ends up in the rough.
He’s the betting favorite for those betting with their hearts and he certainly has a chance to nab major No. 16. But if he has any hope of winning again at Bethpage, he’ll have to be more accurate with the driver than he was at Augusta.
Never on Sunday, except at the Players Championship this year. But coming into the Masters no one was playing any better. He likes what he sees at Bethpage.
One of the longest hitters on the Tour, he seems to be in contention at every major recently with four top 10 finishes in his last five starts. He’s been learning how to control himself each time. This could be his breakout.
He will win a major. It’s just a matter of time. His tie for second at Augusta was his fourth top-six finish in the eight majors he’s played since joining the PGA Tour.
His game showed some signs of picking up last week at the Byron Nelson but is still without a top-20 finish this season. If he keeps struggling with his swing, this is no place to scatter loose shots.
He would get more consideration if he wasn’t making his Bethpage debut. Hot temper doesn’t bode well at a place that can wear on the nerves.
DeChambeau ppened with a 66 at Augusta and then fell off the map. He followed that with a missed cut at Hilton Head and three weeks off.
THE DARK HORSES
Keep an eye on the long-hitting Woodland, who was sixth last August at Bellerive. He’s playing well with eight top-25 finishes this season.
You never know. Mickelson loves playing in this area and his Bethpage record is good, with a pair of second-place finishes at the two U.S. Opens played here.
When he’s hot he can go low and he’s been on something of a roll, with two top-10s in his last two starts, excluding the two-man Zurich Classic, including a T-9 at Augusta.