You heard it here first. And if you dont like Shingo, then how about Ian Poulter? Or what about Alex Cejka? How does Geoff Ogilvy sound? Anybody have a problem with David Howell? OK, fine, then lets go ahead and make way for some more appealing names like Briny Baird or Tim Petrovic.
Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen will no doubt be there to provide some reality television. Heck, theyve been right there on Sunday in the last two links championships.
But itll be one of those guys who holds the Rodman Wanamaker Trophy. And for those of you who dont know much about Rodman Wanamaker ' heres his background.
Wanamaker was a department store owner who saw the merchandising opportunities in a professional golfers organization. So he rallied some prominent players and other leading industry representatives for a fancy lunch in New York City. It happened on Jan. 17, 1916. And among the 35 individuals sat the legendary Walter Hagen.
This exploratory meeting resulted in the formation of the PGA of America.
Now, 88 years later, the PGA Championship heads to Wisconsin for the most anticipated major in years. Anticipated by fans, players and PGA of America brass as well.
Its the most anticipated major I have seen, said PGA of America C.E.O. Jim Awtrey. And hes right.
The course, Whistling Straits, runs out at about 7,600 yards. And as 2003 PGA Championship winner Shaun Micheel put it: I may need the 4400 volunteers to help look for my golf ball!
Walking 18 holes at Whistling Straits has been likened by the tour professionals who have played it to walking 54 holes on any other course. And thus, fitness will play into the weeks winner.
For the record, the trip to Wisconsin is not the first for a mens major. It will be the second PGA Championship to be played in Dairyland. History buffs will remember Gene Sarazens 1933 PGA Championship win at Blue Mound Country Club in Milwaukee. Back then, the PGA Championship was a match-play event.
History aside, wed be well served to gear up for the upset once again. The names I threw out are simply a reminder that great golf is played beyond the small inner circle of Tiger Woods, Mickelson, Els, Vijay Singh and Goosen. On a given day, we must begin to understand that Todd Hamilton has as good a chance to play HIS game BETTER than Ernie Els does HIS.
And so, Shingo Katayama had better be prepared for a coronation in a few weeks. One-hundred and sixty countries and territories are now sufficiently warned that it might just happen. Households totaling 371 million worldwide will be watching you take aim at Mike Weir, Sergio Garcia and the gang.
And on a course that Micheel says could (given the right weather conditions) require driver on EVERY hole, wed better be ready for Rory Sabbatini or Bo Van Pelt.
For those who will remember this venue as the one created when Pete Dye went wild with a bulldozer, wed better be ready to see Ted Purdy plow his way past Tiger, making him go another year without a chance to call himself golfs Big Cheese.
Funny, the possibilities, arent they? Youd better start thinking about them. Ben Curtis shocked us into believing that Rich Beem wasnt a fluke. And then Micheel told us that Beem was far better than we thought. And now, Royal Todd has let us in on the secret Micheel is just as deserving as Weir was.
Go ahead, Shingo ' make it your week. And if you dont want it, I can start at No. 56 (Hamilton prior to Troon) and start heading south in search of someone whos not afraid to make it theirs.
Wheres my plane ticket? I cant wait!
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