Form Guide: US PGA Championship
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2010 US PGA Championship | Preview | 10 Aug 2010
The Straits Course at Whistling Straits plays host to the USPGA Championship for the second occasion when the field of leading world golfers tees it up in the final major of the year this week.
iseekgolf’s Bruce Young analyses the chances of several of the leading candidates
Woods appears totally out of sorts at present and his chances seem slim of even contending never mind winning. Last week on what has been his most successful venue t the Firestone Country Club Akron, he failed to flatter and if there was ever a litmus test to the current state of his game that was it. If he was to contend this week it would take a huge turnaround.
Former winner and regular placegetter in this event, Mickelson, is perhaps man they all have to beat although his record on windswept golf courses is not all that good and conditions might get that way this week. His horror final round at the Bridgestone was almost too bad to be true. He did however finish 6th at this venue in 2004 after being even closer heading into the final round. He could easily bounce back.
Els finished 4th at Whistling Straits in 2004 and despite several missed cuts in recent weeks could still be a chance to do even better. He bounced back to form early last week before a poor final round.
Furyk had a shocker when he played at Whistling Straits in 2004 missing the cut by six shots that year. His form of late has been mixed, winning at Hilton Head and adding several top tens since but it has been hardly earth shattering. His last round of 64 at last week’s WGC event was, however, very encouraging.
Stricker won three starts ago at the John Deere Classic then although he had just an ordinary week at St Andrews he played well enough at the Bridgestone last week to be a genuine chance again this week. He has yet to win a major championship but there is no real reason why he could not contend this week. He had a very solid week last week when 9th after two good final rounds.
Donald has been in very good form in 2010 and although disappointing last week at Akron he has been outside the top twenty in only three of his last ten starts. Much earlier in his career Donald played quite nicely at Whistling Straits and has a genuine chance to live up to his reputation this week.
McIlroy finished 3rd in this event last year and proved with his win at the Quail Hollow event earlier this year that he can handle the strongest fields and the strongest courses. His third place finish at St Andrews was particularly impressive given his second round of 80. He was disappointing at the Irish Open but played well enough last week when producing four under par rounds at the Bridgestone for him to be confident of his chances this week.
Casey blew a great chance to win a major championship at St Andrews a month ago and followed that up with a missed cut at the Canadian open. Last week he finished midfield and missed the cut at Whistling Straits in 2004. He could show up however and is developing into a big event player to some extent. Earlier this year he was 4th at the WGC event at Doral and finished runner up to Ian Poulter at the Accenture so his credentials are good.
McDowell now plays with the knowledge that he can win major championships. He has been understandably below his best since his great victory at Pebble Beach as he waited for his feet return to earth. He played nicely last week and if the going gets tough at Whistling Straits it might well bring him even further into calculation.
Harrington is of course a previous winner of this event and is playing well enough in recent starts to suggest he will be a factor again. He was playing well at Whistling Straits in 2004 before a final round of 78 but clearly his credentials are much stronger now. Very good last round at Bridgestone gives even more hope.
Goosen has not won anywhere for 16 months or so but he has put together several very good tournaments in that time. His 5th placed finish at the Open Championship and his great week when third last week at Firestone suggest that he is not far from where he needs to be. His record at this event is poor with only one top ten in twelve starts but that is more coincidence than an aversion to the event. He has a real chance.
Kaymer has put together several very good tournaments against elite fields this season and I expect him to do well this week. He is a player who will win major championships before his career is out and if he contended again this week it would be of little surprise. He was 8th at the US Open and 6th at the Open Championship which suggests a top three finish here is not beyond him. He was good enough last week.
Kuchar’s professional career has taken a long time to take off but he has shown in 2010 that he has well and truly arrived. He has put together several very good finishes in big events this season including when 6th at the US Open and again last week in Ohio when he contended for much of the event. He has missed the cut on the two occasions he has played this event but he is such an improved player that his chances of a big week are good.
Johnson led into the final round of the US Open before imploding and finishing 8th. He has followed up with some encouraging efforts since and last week at the Bridgestone he was again in the thick of things. If he again finds himself in the position he was at Pebble Beach then it is unlikely he will falter in that manner again.
Bo Van Pelt
Van Pelt seems to be giving himself a lot of chances in tournaments in recent months including last week at the Bridgestone when he went very close. He is playing some of the best golf of his career in 2010 and while it might be a bit of a stretch to suggest he could win a major championship he is not as far from it as many might think. He played Whistling Straits in 2004 finishing midfield but is a significantly better player now.
O’Hair has not won in 16 months but he has often put himself in contention. He, along with Nick Watney, led the Americans at the Open Championship and of course played so well last week at the Bridgestone event when he finished 5th.
Watney has recorded top ten finishes at the Masters and the Open Championship in 2010 and if he was to make it three out of four top ten finishes in major championships in 2010 then few would be surprised. He had a good week at the Bridgestone and could easily back it up given his current form. He has missed the cut in his two PGA Championships to date but he is so much better now.
Oosthuizen showed why he is the Open Champion with two great rounds over the weekend in Ohio. He has understandably been quiet since his win at St Andrews but if he can replicate the form he showed there then there is no reason why he can’t contend.
Overton is developing into the game’s most consistent player in 2010. He has yet to win on the PGA Tour but he keeps putting himself into position to do so and at some stage the breakthrough will come. Five top three results in his last ten starts and one or two other good results in that time has been extraordinary.
Rose lost his way a little in his recent European campaign but his form prior was very good including wins at the AT&T and the Memorial. His final round of 67 last week in Ohio gave an indication he was back to where he was prior to leaving for the Open Championship.
Scott played well last week in Ohio when he finished in a tie for 9th. Apart from one stretch of five holes in the middle of his third round he played very well. Importantly for his chances this week is the fact that he produced one of only four top tens in 40 major championship starts when 9th at this venue in 2004.
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