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How much do 2012 results matter?

The file books in golf run deep, chock filled with nooks and crannies that may produce a litany of bar trivia questions or present fodder for stumping the opposite gamers in your foursome. But one of many extra head-scratching queries of the final decade is gaining some traction forward of the 12 months’s second main: who completed second to Rory McIlroy on the 2012 PGA Championship?

That’s the final time the event was staged at Kiawah Island, which this week as soon as once more hosts one of the best within the recreation. Back then Luke Donald was world No. 1, with Tiger Woods in shut pursuit. Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson, every newly-minted main champs, helped to spherical out the highest 10.

That week is finest remembered for blustery winds, some wild climate and an eight-shot romp by McIlroy as he received the second of 4 main titles. But the person who scooped second-place honors? That could be David Lynn, an unheralded Englishman who by no means received on the PGA Tour and was out {of professional} golf by 2015.

The two males who flanked McIlroy within the remaining group will not be round this week, both. That Sunday he performed with Carl Pettersson and Bo Van Pelt, every established Tour veterans again in 2012. Neither has recorded a top-10 end since 2015. The remaining three teams additionally included Peter Hanson, a Ryder Cupper that 12 months who has fallen to No. 1845 on the earth, and Trevor Immelman, who now works extra with a microphone than his golf equipment.

Looking again at that remaining leaderboard is akin to stepping right into a time machine – and never simply because McIlroy’s face was rounder and his hair was longer. In inspecting this week’s return to the South Carolina shores, can any of what occurred the final time round show helpful?

“It’s nine years ago,” defined Ian Poulter. “The game has moved on a little bit in nine years.”

Poulter is aware of that of which he speaks. He’s among the many swath of gamers on this week’s discipline who battled these windswept situations again in 2012, and he really performed fairly effectively – a final-round 69 gave him a share of third place. But he is additionally now 45 years previous, having spent the final decade or so counting on innate ability and surgical course administration whereas making an attempt to maintain gamers half his age at bay. And he is unsure that wealth of expertise will assist much this week on what’s being billed because the longest course in main championship historical past.

“I quite like Pete Dye golf courses, personally. I’ve got a reasonable record on them. But to be honest, this new crop of players, they don’t care who designed it,” Poulter stated. “320 (yards) down the middle is 320 down the middle, regardless of the stamp of whoever designed it. It’s irrelevant. It’s a golf course.”

2012 PGA Championship Leaderboard

-13 Rory McIlroy

-5 David Lynn

-4 Keegan Bradley, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Carl Pettersson

-3 Steve Stricker, Jamie Donaldson, Blake Adams, Peter Hanson

There’s at all times a secret sauce in relation to handicapping a serious championship, including further components to account for the grandeur of the stage and the pressures that include the chance. Just two years in the past at this occasion, Brooks Koepka estimated that he solely needed to beat about 35 individuals in a 156-man discipline, with the remainder taking part in or pondering their manner out of rivalry. He backed up that assertion just a few days later by beating all 35 of them.

But this week’s occasion offers an outsized variable with a venue that gamers both have not seen in years or have not seen in any respect. Kiawah is not precisely a cookie-cutter format, both: brutal par-3s combined with a prolonged ending stretch, sandy visuals from each tee and paspalum grass on each inexperienced make for a problem that is a far cry from something that gamers have confronted in current weeks.

It’ll be model new to world No. 2 Justin Thomas this week, whereas Koepka admitted to counting on intel from his brother, Chase, who performed it in a school occasion shortly after McIlroy’s victory. Even McIlroy shared that he has not too long ago been watching replay movies of his personal triumph in an effort to re-familiarize himself with the course.

“I chipped and putted so well that week. I mean, that’s the one thing I remember,” McIlroy stated. “I got it up and down a lot, and my chipping and putting were really good.”

Almost all the things about this week will probably be totally different from the final time the event was staged on the Ocean Course. The occasion has moved from August to May. The wild climate situations, which ballooned second-round scores, soaked the grounds and precipitated third-round play to spill into Sunday, are unlikely to materialize.

So in relation to factoring in previous course historical past, how much inventory may be positioned within the leaderboard from 9 years in the past? As it seems, it relies on who you ask.

Last time round, Keegan Bradley confirmed as much as Kiawah because the defending champ. He had received the PGA the 12 months prior in his very first main begin, and he really ended up T-3 alongside Poulter in a greater than respectable protection of his title. But course situations and setup aren’t what he recollects from that week.

“I remember I played my first two rounds with Tiger,” Bradley stated. “I mean, I think you could go there and it could be a complete opposite wind and the course plays completely different. It could blow 30 mph, it could blow 0. I think the course prep is a little overblown. You’ve got to go out there and play. You can prepare all you want, but you’ve got to go out there and execute.”

Odds to win 2021 PGA Championship (through PointsBet Sportsbook)

+1100: Rory McIlroy

+1300: Justin Thomas

+1400: Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth

+1700: Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson

+2000: Viktor Hovland, Xander Schauffele

+2500: Collin Morikawa

+2800: Hideki Matsuyama

+3000: Daniel Berger

Wind is bound to be a big issue given the course’s coastal geography. But its unpredictable nature makes it tough to reliably issue, particularly provided that event officers can alter the course setup to reply to a given day’s forecast. Back in 2012, the scorecard yardage topped out at 7,676 yards nevertheless it performed between 7,451 and seven,668 relying on the day. This week the yardage will max out at 7,876 – probably the most ever in a serious, with the back-nine break up alone over 4,000 yards.

“Setup on a year-to-year PGA Tour basis, the consistency of the setup that we see, of course it becomes semi-predictable. Horses for courses and all that stuff,” stated Graeme McDowell, who completed T-11 in 2012. “But I think when you’ve got nine or 10 years between major championships, and different times of year as well, I don’t think you can really use that until we know exactly what the setup of the course is going to look like. Very, very hard to put any stock into what we saw last time.”

McDowell’s argument is well-reasoned, nevertheless it’s not shared by all who will tee it up this week. Phil Mickelson received his PGA title in 2005, and he completed T-36 at Kiawah in 2012. He arrives this week with one of the seasoned views of anybody within the discipline, and Lefty finds some worth within the what and the way from 2012.

“I think there is something to be said for playing a course well, being able to look at it and have a good feeling for it and have certain holes set up for shots that you like to hit,” Mickelson stated. “But then you also have to execute. So you want to have guys that are playing well at that time, and that’s hard to predict nine years later.”

“I mean, the bottom line is the cliche that anybody can win any given week. But there is something to be said about having confidence at a venue, where your feet are,” added Zach Johnson, who completed seventieth in 2012. “There is definitely something to be said for that.”

Paul Casey is hoping that the 2012 results do not have much impression this time round. The Englishman teamed with Justin Rose in a World Cup occasion at Kiawah again in 2003, ending second, however he missed the reduce on the 2012 PGA throughout what he referred to as one of many lowest factors of his profession. He’s since regained his footing in an enormous manner, however he is principally constructing a method from scratch this time round.

“If guys have got fond memories, that counts for something. It always does,” Casey stated. “Some will know it because they’re down in that part of the world and go play it every so often with buddies. But for me, even though I’ve played six tournament rounds out there, I basically don’t know it. I couldn’t tell you much about it. I don’t even remember the routing very well, I genuinely don’t. So it’s a clean slate for me.”

Casey could have loads of firm mapping out recreation plans over the following three days, as gamers who’re used to constructing a schedule round solely probably the most acquainted venues will probably be cobbling collectively a method on the fly for a novel format. Some of these efforts will repay this weekend; others could also be blown off target earlier than signing their opening-round scorecard.

Players could have some further weapons at their disposal to shorten the educational curve – rangefinders will probably be allowed for the primary time in main championship historical past, whereas Poulter extolled the detailed stage of yardage books in comparison with what professionals have been utilizing in 2012. Still, the problem this week would require a mixture of expertise, creativity and the flexibility to regulate on the fly when issues inevitably begin to go a bit sideways.

Some fond recollections from 2012 will not damage, both. But with a fickle panorama dominating the dialog and half the leaderboard from final time watching this event from the consolation of their sofa, it is clear that course historical past will not carry the identical weight because it does at locations like Augusta National or St. Andrews.

“The game of golf has been simplified,” Poulter stated. “320 (yards), that kind of gets it done in most fairways. Factor a little bit of wind, figure out how far you hit a 7-iron. Roll in a couple putts and I think you’ll do just fine.”

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