PGA Championship Live: The second Major Championship of the year has arrived. The 2021 PGA Championship will begin on Thursday, May 20 at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island.
Checking in at 7,849 yards, the Ocean Course will play the longest of any major in PGA TOUR history. In addition to the length, Mother Nature also figures to play a pretty big impact this week as there is some wind in the forecast.
The first is that growing up in windy Warrnambool, he learned early how to flight his ball with a low trajectory that can’t be impacted as much by the breeze. So many of today’s top players launch their approach shots into the air, which works just about anytime there isn’t a two-club wind. Those high-arcing shots won’t look so impressive when they’re getting blown off target, though.
The second thing I like about Leishman is his length. I know what you’re thinking: He only ranks a lowly 148th in driving distance this season. Ah, but length should not be measured with a driver alone. You won’t find it in the stats, but the Aussie hits his low- and mid-irons longer than most other players, which should serve him well on this course playing 7,800-plus yards.
And lastly, I believe that scrambling is going to be extraordinarily relevant this week, as GIR numbers will be lower than at most other events. When he’s on with his wedges, Leishman can get up-and-down from the proverbial trash can.
Leishman joined SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio’s “Gravy and the Sleaze” last week and said of Kiawah, “I think it actually sets up as good as one will for me.”
Last but not least, he’s also in form, finishing top-30 in his last three individual starts and winning the Zurich Classic alongside Cameron Smith. I mentioned above that I bet Leishman two weeks ago, but nothing that happened at the AT&T Byron Nelson changed my mind.
In fact, a T-21 result during which he played solidly but didn’t have to expend the mental energy needed for a serious title contention is exactly the type of precursor I’m seeking for major championship picks.
I know the knee-jerk reaction is to play the big boys on a big course at a big event, but I think there’s a lot of value just a little bit further down the board, and Leishman is the epitome of this value.