Describing himself as a “silent hunter,” the two-time major champ is primed to make more noise this week on a course that favors his particular set of skills – shotmaking iron play. Southern Hills is more of a second-shot course and the greens with false shoulders and tightly cropped run-offs should play right into his hands.
With his chance to close out a career slam, Spieth is perfectly positioned coming off a win and runner-up finish in his last two starts. The trickiness of Southern Hills’ greens is something Spieth should be able to handle, and it’s got width off the tees and expected winds familiar to any native Texan. He’ll have the spotlight playing with Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy the first two rounds.
World No. 1 and still hitting on all cylinders with four wins this year including the Masters last month, Scheffler calls Southern Hills one of his favorite courses having played a couple of collegiate and amateur tournaments here. He proved unflappable at Augusta and he already had two top-eight finishes in his only previous PGA starts.
Southern Hills is characterized by a lot of creeks weaving through the property and well-sloped green complexes. Gil Hanse upgraded an already classic Perry Maxwell course, adding new strategic elements. Here are three holes that could play a key role in the outcome.
Tucked into a far corner of the property, players will have to hit long irons into an extremely shallow target that brings OB not far behind the green into play. PGA might take pity some days and use a shorter tee making it a more friendly challenge.
The longest par-4 on the course is typically a par-5 for the members. It could be a real brute hitting into the wind, potentially bringing a small water hazard short and left of the small crowned green into play considering the longer clubs players will be hitting on approaches.
One of the hardest finishing holes in major golf, only Tiger Woods and Tommy Bolt among seven major winners at Southern Hills to close out with a par on it. The creek now extends across the fairway near landing zone. Ask Retief Goosen and Stewart Cink about the severely tilted green.