PGA Championship Preview & Groups To Watch
We have reached the final major of the season and properly nicknamed "Glory's Last Shot", the PGA Championship is the final opportunity of the year for players to become a major champion. It's hard to believe it was just one year ago Martin Kaymer defeated Bubba Watson in a playoff while Dustin Johnson's penalty on the 72nd hole kept him from participating.
(Dustin Johnson didn't win the 2010 PGA Championship but all eyes were on him at the 72nd hole. Photo: Golf.com)
The 2011 PGA Championship has plenty of stories coming in. Can the top two golfers in the world, Luke Donald (1st) and Lee Westwood (2nd), win their first major championship? It's just a matter of time before one of these two wins a major. It looks like Luke Donald will be first but when these two are in event we expect one of the to win. After missing the cut at the British Open Lee Westwood will be looking to show he's a major competitor.
You can bet over the next few days we will be flooded with images and video (like the one above) of what happened last year to Dustin Johnson at Whistling Straits. Right now, Johnson is playing as good as anyone in the world and I can't think of a better way to avenge last years unfortunate debacle than a win here.
Tiger Woods return last week with a new caddy and Adam Scott winning the WGC Bridgestone Invitational with his old caddy created a new storyline. Woods was less than impressive and most of the talk as been about his former caddy and new Nike golf shoes than anything else. The focus has now shifted to the play of Adam Scott and the impact Steve Williams will have on his career. If it's anything like last week, Scott could walk away a major champion on Sunday.
Will the Americans ever win another major? Phil Mickelson was the last one to win and that came at the 2010 Masters. It's now been six in a row with South Africa claiming two and Northern Ireland claiming three. Who from the United States will put an end to this streak? We mentioned Dustin Johnson above but U.S. also has three players ranked in the top 10 in the world: Steve Stricker (5th), Mickelson (6th) and Nick Watney (10th). Mickelson is the only major winner but this week I'm picking Steve Stricker be a major champion.
Three Groups to Watch at the PGA Championship
3. Charl Schwartzel, Rory McIlroy & Darren Clarke: The three major winners from 2011 paired together caught my attention. Schwartzel looks like the favorite for PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year while McIlroy and Clarke look to bring another trophy to Northern Ireland. McIlroy has become a contender every time he walks on the course. No surprise if he wins here.
2. Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler & Sergio Garcia: Rickie Fowler is coming off a strong showing last week at the WGC event where he finished second and the British Open where he finished 5th. It's a good time to play your best golf of the year. See Dustin Johnson comments above. I think everyone has a soft spot for him this week. Sergio Garcia loves to finish in the top 10 at majors. I wonder if he will ever win one but you can be sure he will be near the top of the leaderboard.
1. Matt Kuchar, Lee Weswtood, & Jason Day: I feel myself pulling for Day every week. Second place finishes at The Masters and U.S. Open have made him a household name. It's now a question of when he will win, not if. Kuchar was Mr. Consistency but fell off the wagon at the British Open and the following week at the RBC Canadian Open. Missing back to back cuts dropped him out of the top 10 in the world, a place he's hungry to get back to. The #2 ranked golfer in the world, Lee Westwood, is in a race to his first major. A disappointing British Open, he's hungry for a major championship and to show he's the best golfer in the world.
Picks To Win
WAM Golf: Steve Stricker