Which Australian this week?
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2011 US PGA Championship | Preview | 09 Aug 2011
Nine Australians have a start at this week’s PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club and we take the opportunity to assess their chances in the final major of the year.
If an Australian was to win the PGA Championship this week he would become the fifth Australian to do so, surpassing the four individual Australians who have, admittedly, won a collective nine Open Championship titles.
Jim Ferrier, David Graham, Wayne Grady and Steve Elkington have previously done Australia proud in this event and given current circumstances there is a genuine chance for another to be added this week.
Day has already displayed the game and the constitution to contend and eventually win major championships. This will be only the 6th major championship that Day has played and already he has been runner-up twice, one 10th and has not missed a cut. He had a very good week last week when 4th in Ohio although he was let down at crucial stages by an old putter he had decided to use last week. He seems to handle the heat (weather) ok which he will need to this week. He is well placed to win the first of what will likely be several majors.
Scott reminded us all last week just how good he is. The planets have been aligning for Scott over the last few months. The change to the long putter just prior to the Masters, his great effort last week, a new coach and last but not least the addition of Steve Williams to the mix has Adam Scott in the best place he has been – possibly in his career. It will be fascinating to see how he backs up such a great week but he appears up to the task.
Ogilvy needs something special now. He sits on the cusp of a Presidents Cup Captain’s pick and if those selections were made today he would probably get one but a continuation of his recent indifferent form and that might not be the case. He did finish 4th at the Canadian Open a couple of weeks ago but he needs a good finish in a big event to be assured of playing his way onto the team for Royal Melbourne. In nine events since his great week at Augusta National he has been inside the top ten only once, further emphasising the need for a something special this week.
Allenby is in a similar place to Ogilvy although perhaps in an even worse place as far as his Presidents Cup chances are concerned especially with Ryo Ishikawa having done so well last week. Allenby needs a big week this week or at least soon and this week is as good as any. There have been glimpses of his best this year at Riviera and more recently at Aronomink but he has been distracted by off course issues.
Baddeley did well last week but the concern is his poor record in major championships. In 23 major championship starts Baddeley has yet to record a top ten and has missed 15 cuts but there was a lot to like about his effort last week when 11th at Firestone on a quality golf course against a similar standard field.
Green so nearly won the Irish Open two weeks ago following an Open Championship which saw him as the leading Australian. He followed it up with a reasonable week at the WGC event last week when 37th. He has made four of five cuts in this event but never really featured. He is playing well at present however and a good week is not beyond him.
The PGA Championship and Steve Elkington just seem to get along. He was the last Australian winner of the event in 1995, has also finished runner-up once and twice third and at the age of 47 last year was very much in contention before finishing 5th. His 6th place finish in Reno last week suggests that he is not too far from where he needs to be to produce yet another great PGA Championship week.
Jones has had six weeks away from the game for the birth of his second child so to say the least he arrives in Atlanta a little underdone. The Canberra golfer, who plays most of his golf in Japan, was right in the mix late in the tournament two years ago before faltering over the closing stages. His problem however is the lack of golf he has played of late.
Senden recorded his best finish in a major championship in this event when 4th in 2007. He is having a very solid if unspectacular season on the PGA Tour in 2011, missing only two of his last 16 cuts. Two weeks ago he finished 14th at the Greenbrier Classic although was not eligible to play last week’s WGC event.
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