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PGA Championship Preview – A New “Day” On The Horizon

Martin Kaymer
Stuart Franklin, Getty Images

The PGA Championship is the final major tournament of golf’s calendar year. With almost 100 years of rich history, the PGA is played at different courses throughout the United States and typically features one of the strongest fields of participants in golf.

The winner of this tournament receives a replica of the famous Wanamaker Trophy, named after Rodman Wanamaker, one of the founding fathers behind the first tournament nearly a century ago. Walter Hagen and Jack Nicklaus hold the record for most PGA Championship titles, with five each, while Tiger Woods has won the event four times. German-born Martin Kaymer won the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, winning his first major after a playoff against Bubba Watson.

This year’s tournament is being held at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Duluth, Georgia, which will play very hard, after a Rees Jones redesign that toughened the bunkers and added 254 yards. Many of golf’s hottest players heading into the PGA Championship have also recently tweaked their games, in order to adapt with the changes to the course.

Jason Day
Sam Greenwood, Getty Images

Naturally, a lot of eyes are going to be on three players: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and defending champion Martin Kaymer. However, I believe there is 1 player that people need to look out for this weekend, and that’s Jason Day.

The 23-year-old Aussie credits his improved short-game stats in 2011 to smarter practice habits. “It’s not about hitting 50 more balls than you used to hit,” Day says. “It’s about … practicing the way you play on the course.” He now cycles among 10 chips, 10 bunker shots and 10 shots from the rough and says the stunning 45-hole bogey-free stretch he conjured at the U.S. Open depended largely on his scrambling. This kid’s next stop is superstardom.

Now Day has only 1 career win on the tour, which came at the Byron Nelson Championship in May of 2010, but he has been impressive in his last 4 appearances in Majors.

  • 2010 PGA Championship – tied for 10th
  • 2011 Masters – tied for 2nd
  • 2011 U.S. Open – 2nd place
  • 2011 Open Championship (aka British Open) – tied for 30th

Jason Day is a young golfer who is hungry and on a mission. It is only a matter of time before he takes home his first victory in a Major, just like Rory McIlroy two months ago in the U.S. Open.

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