The last of the four major championships of the pro golfing season takes place next week, in what will be the 99th outing for the event. The 2015 PGA Championship will be held at Whistling Straits’ links-style, par-72 Straits Course in Wisconsin, USA; one of two Pete Dye-designed 18-hole championship courses.
Described on its own website as an “unforgiving” course, The Straits is hosting the PGA Championship for the third time in its history with both previous winners determined by a playoff. As the PGA Championship features the strongest field in major championship golf, there’s no doubt this year’s tournament will be equally thrilling.
Top-ranked player in the world and defending PGA Champion Rory McIlroy will join an exclusive group of golfers if he was to win once again this year, though he’s yet to announce if he’ll be taking part after suffering an ankle injury last month. Only six others have won consecutive PGA Championships: Tiger Woods (twice), Denny Shute, Gene Sarazen, Walter Hagen, Leo Diegel and Jim Barnes.
With high stakes – last year’s total purse was $10 million – and a highly competitive field, even the world’s greatest players will need to pull out all the stops to stand any chance of appearing on the leaderboard this year. We’ve rounded up the top tips of three players hoping to take home the trophy.
The cross-handed putt: In a recent article for Golf.com, hot favourite Jordan Spieth discusses how changing his grip made a massive impact on his game:
“I switched from a conventional grip to cross-handed six years ago, and it’s made a huge difference in my putting. . . It truly is the best way to roll it. Placing your left hand below your right on the handle makes it easier to set the face square to the line at address and keep it square during your stroke.”
Wedge shots: Golf Digest contributor Bubba Watson offers his advice for hitting wedges like a pro:
“Off the tee, I’m always working the ball, and it’s no different with my wedges. The shot’s not going to curve as much in the air as a drive, but it’ll still move. And when it lands, it’ll spin that way, too. That’s something you’ve got to account for. If your natural shot is left to right, aim left and give it room to slide right. You’ll get yourself a putt you can make.”
Getting more distance: In his tips and tuition column for Today’s Golfer, Justin Rose discusses the foot stamp:
“The key with the foot stamp is how you get the left foot back down into the ground. I’ve found that this move gives me around 10 to 15 extra yards on a full shot which can come in very useful when you’re looking to bomb one long.
You simply allow your left heel to come up as you take the club back, which means that you are likely to swing the club slightly longer. As soon as you’ve completed the backswing, you need to stamp the heel back down to the floor as you pull down with the hands and arms.”
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