The Caddie Line: 2018 PGA Championship

Justin Thomas, Jimmy Johnson
Justin Thomas and caddie Jimmy Johnson had the winning formula in the PGA Championship a year ago. Can they do it again this week? Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to believe, but the season’s final major championship – the PGA Championship – is upon us this week at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis.

This marks the last time that: 1. The PGA Championship is played in August; and 2. The PGA Championship is the final major of a season.

Beginning in 2019, the PGA Championship will have a new May date and will be the second major of the season after the Masters in April and the U.S. Open in June. The Open Championship becomes the new final major of the year in its typical July slot.

RELATED: For Jimmy Johnson, it’s been a career of dream jobs and, finally, a major

Justin Thomas is the defending PGA Champion after capturing his first major one year ago at Quail Hollow. And he comes into St. Louis red hot with a victory on Sunday in the Bridgestone Invitational, his first World Golf Championships title.

But then there’s also World No. 1 Dustin Johnson. There’s Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Jason Day, Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka and others.

Who’s going to win the last major to be played until April 2019?

We asked three caddies who are on the ground at Bellerive this week that very question.

MORE: Caddie photos from Bellerive | Kenny Harms with an insider’s look at Bellerive

To protect their identity, the caddies have submitted their five respective picks anonymously… and, by the way, our caddies have picked a winner in each of the last three weeks.

Let’s take a look at who they picked this week and why:

Caddie 1

  1. Rory McIlroy, “This one is simple for me. The course is wet, and everything slopes right to left, perfect for Rory’s draw. He’s been building toward another major win. He tied for second at the Open Championship and finished T6 in Akron. I think he’s easily the favorite.”
  2. Bubba Watson, “Again, it’s a right-to-left course and that plays to Bubba’s fade. They’re also playing on the same grass he’s won on multiple times at Riviera.”
  3. Tommy Fleetwood, “The Englishman is good on any course. His record over the last couple of years shows that. He’s always in the mix, it seems. A major win feels like the next step and the PGA Championship has been kind to first-time major winners.”
  4. Rickie Fowler, “He’s too good not to have a major. He’s a solid pick anywhere because he has no weaknesses in his game.”
  5. Jason Day, “This is a bomber’s course. That’s Jason’s strength. His worst finish in his last three starts is a T17. His game is in form and this is a tournament he’s won before.”

Caddie 2

  1. Dustin Johnson, “Duh.”
  2. Justin Thomas, “No. 2-ranked player in the world, won last week, is the defending champ this week and he bombs it.”
  3. Rory McIlroy, “Bomber who is due for another major.”
  4. Brooks Koepka, “Bombs it. Can you see the theme here? Bellerive suits the bombers.”
  5. Justin Rose, “He’s fresh after pulling out last week in Akron. He’s a major winner and his last four starts look like this: win, T6, T10, T2.”

Caddie 3

  1. Brooks Koepka, “It’s one thing to be long. But Brooks isn’t just long. He’s also straight and – best of all – fearless.”
  2. Dustin Johnson, “He’s No. 1 in the world. Do you really need another reason to pick him?”
  3. Rory McIlroy, “He’s long and his right-to-left ball shape will fit Bellerive beautifully.”
  4. Tony Finau, “Tony is another big hitter and he’s got a great streak going in the majors with top 10s in all three so far this year. He’s going to bring a lot of confidence into this week.”
  5. Jason Day, “He’s long, he’s a major winner and I think these greens are well-suited for him.”

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