by Jeff Skinner
The PGA Championship may be the least popular major among the casual golf fan (what do they know) but The PGA traditionally has a superb field and as the season’s last major always offers plenty of storylines.
The PGA has put together some very interesting pairings and thankfully avoided the three ring circus of a Tiger Woods/Adam Scott grouping.
John Daly, Mark Brooks, Jerry Pate. Despite his poor play John Daly is still a fan favorite (who knows why) and the 1991 PGA Champ is paired 1996 PGA Champ Mark Brooks and Jerry Pate who won the 1976 U.S. Open on this very course.
Matteo Mannesero, Adam Scott, Ryo Ishikawa. Scott is playing as good as anyone right now and this may be his best chance to date for his first major victory. Matteo and Ryo are the faces of the future of international golf.
David Toms, Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson. All three are past PGA Champions and all may be on the downside of their career. Toms won here in 2001 but that was before all the course changes. Phil has one win this season but has played poorly of late.
Alvaro Quiros, Luke Donald, Nick Watney. This grouping has two of the best golfers in the world. Donald is world Number One and Watney leads the PGA Tour in FedEx Cup points. Quiros’ length will certainly help him this week.
Davis Love, Tiger Woods, Paddy Harrington. With six PGA titles between them this is a heavyweight grouping. All three have seen better times as Paddy and Tiger search for their swings. Who would have thought that the Ryder Cup Captain would be playing the best of these three right now?
Martin Kaymer, Y.E. Yang, Shaun Micheel. Another threesome of PGA winners but all three have been invisible this season. Defending champion Kaymer will need to find his game quickly if he expects to go back to back.
Dustin Johnson, Rickie, Sergio Garcia. A very interesting group with DJ hoping to repeat last year’s performance, without the bunker incident, and be near the lead on Sunday. Rickie seems to be peaking with his second place last week and could be on the verge of a breakthrough. Is it possible for Sergio to cast off his major championship demons and finally win a major? Why not, we have seen far stranger happenings at The PGA.
Charl Schwartzel, Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke. Call it the “Major Grouping” or the “Chubby Grouping” whichever you like but this is an entertaining group. The three major winners playing together is one of the perks of the PGA Championship and this should keep us entertained for the first two rounds.
Matt Kuchar, Lee Westwood, Jason Day. Kuch hasn’t been on his game lately with two missed cuts in his last three events but Westwood and Day are ready to win their major. Day has seconds at The Masters and the U.S. Open and a fourth at The WGC, he’s playing as well as anyone. Quietly, playing excellent golf, Westwood has to be considered a prime contender here. He’s putting better and that may be the final piece of his major championship puzzle.
Graeme McDowell, Zach Johnson, Geoff Ogilvy. They all have majors on their resumes but have not been factors lately. McDowell has been searching for “it” all year, Johnson has been up and down and Ogilvy is only now looking like he has found his game.