Tiger Woods reckons Bellerive Country Club is suited to big hitters and that the tour’s big guns have the best chance of victory at this weekend’s US PGA Championship thanks to the soft, wet conditions forecast for the year’s final major.
Heavy rain in the last couple of days in St Louis, Missouri, mean that drives will not travel far on the 7,300 yard plus course giving long drivers such as Justin Thomas, Jason Day and two-time winner Rory McIlroy an advantage.
“It’s playing so soft … you need to get the ball out there,” Woods said.
“The ball is just plugging (when it lands), and if anything, it favours a guy who hits the ball high because we’re not going to get any run.
“Fortunately, I’m one of the guys who hits the ball high.”
2012 and 2014 champion McIlroy said that Bellerive is almost identical to Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky, the site of the Northern Irishman’s win four years ago.
“With the weather, it does remind me of Valhalla, where there’s a lot of mounding and it’s a big, long golf course,” McIlroy said.
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Other contenders include Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson, who have three victories apiece this year, while Australia’s former world No.1 and 2015 champion Day has two wins.
Jordan Spieth, who could complete a career grand slam should he win, was also aware how driving could hold the key to victory.
“There are some meaty holes out there where you really have to drive the ball well and hit a good long iron into the green,” Spieth said.
Form would suggest that the 25-year-old will struggle to achieve what only five other golfers have ever done, but Spieth added that he was not too worried about being written off before a ball has been hit.
“I like to come in in form, so in some sense I feel under the radar,” Spieth said.
“I’ve kind of felt that way a lot this year, I don’t mind it.”