Of the setups for golf’s three majors in 2020, this week’s PGA Championship is by far the biggest wild card. TPC Harding Park, a municipal course just outside of San Francisco, is set to host this year’s PGA, the course’s first major championship in its 95-year history.
While Harding Park has hosted PGA Tour events and the Presidents Cup, questions remain about how this week’s setup will play for the pros.
GOLF’s Alan Shipnuck documented the wicked, thick rough and tight fairways on-site at the start of the week, and Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz took the conversation even further with a special edition of Subpar. The pair broke down their predictions for the week, including how tough they think the first-time major host will play.
“It is a big boy golf course,” said Knost, who is on site. “I was going through the yardage book. There’s yardages where all the sprinkler heads are, right? Well, this place has so many sprinkler heads outside where the fairways are. They’ve brought the fairways in so much.”
Knost says the narrow fairways should play a factor regardless of the rest of the course, but if the conditions are right, we could see players struggle heavily.
“If this place gets firm, Harding Park has a lot of doglegs where you can choose to cut it and stuff, but if you have to worry about it running through, this could place could play very, very difficult this week,” Knost said. “From everything I’m seeing, the wind’s supposed to up quite a bit, so this place could be very challenging this week.”
Even for how narrow the course is playing, distance has been a point of concern for golf fans hoping to see golfers challenged to defeat both the field and the course. With Bryson DeChambeau and others participating in golf’s great distance proliferation, Harding Park’s short setup seems exceedingly vulnerable.
But Knost isn’t worried about distance impacting this week similarly to how it has recently on Tour.
“The weather in San Francisco is perfect to grow deep, nasty rough,” Knost said. “People might look at the scorecard and see it’s only 7,234 yards, but it is a par-70. And yeah, that yardage is short for today’s standards. But in San Francisco where the air is so heavy and the fog can roll in, that plays extremely long.”
You can watch the rest of Knost’s predictions for golf’s first major in the video below, including his thoughts on Tiger Woods’ chances of contending this week.