USPGA Championship Form Guide
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2012 US PGA Championship | Preview | 07 Aug 2012
The PGA Championship at Kiawah Island just south of Charleston in South Carolina brings to an end the major championships of 2012 but despite being the last and perhaps the least regarded of the major championships there are still plenty of storylines to ensure the event is the main focus of golfing attention this week.
Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course plays host to the tournament for the first occasion although in the past the Pete Dye designed layout has also played host to the Ryder Cup and the World Cup amongst other significant events.
The exposed nature of the layout (ten holes border the Atlantic Ocean) adds a new dimension to the event and makes the already difficult task of picking a potential winner even more so.
iseekgolf’s Bruce Young takes a look at the leading hopes and assesses their chances.
Woods deserves to be favourite because of who he is and because he has won three times on the PGA Tour this season. His third place finish at the Open Championship was followed by a perhaps disappointing week at the Bridgestone on a golf course on which he has won seven events although his strong weekend in that event was encouraging enough when considering his chances this week
Donald still carries this stigma of being a non major winner despite his great standing in the game. He keeps putting himself into a position to win and surely that must pay off with a victory at the absolute elite level before long. His effort at the Bridgestone was good enough when he finished 8th and prior to that was 5th at the Open Championship, his best ever finish there.
McIlroy has been inconsistent of late but at his best he is capable of winning anything. He gave an indication last week at the Bridgestone that he is closing in on his best once again with a very good tournament. After a slow start to the event he finished in a share of 5th position and would appear to have found something with his game. If he can build on this form next week he has a great chance.
Like Donald, another great player without a major to his name but Westwood possesses a game more than capable of winning one. He has not been at his peak in recent weeks however and a third round of 81 at the World Golf Championship event in Ohio and another poor effort on day four gives little confidence in his chances.
Simpson has played sparingly since his US Open win due to the pending arrival of his second child. That happened two weeks ago and he will play the PGA after missing the Open and the Bridgestone. There is no reason why he can’t play well and given the form he has been in this season it would not surprise to see him contending.
Scott hardly set the world on fire at the Bridgestone when defending the title he had won twelve months earlier and in his first week back since his late demise at the Open Championship. Scott has generally played very well this season however and is playing well enough to get back on the horse and contend again. The question remains as to whether he can get the job done if he does put himself in the position he found himself in at the Open Championship again but he has the ability to at least be there again.
Watson lost a playoff for this event two years ago at Whistling Straits but broke through for his first major championship at the Masters this year. The layout at Kiawah has a bit of Whistling Straits look about it and if he can find some of the form which saw him win at Augusta and finish runner-up at the Travelers then his chances are good. A very good final round of 67 at the Bridgestone has improved his chances.
Dufner announced to the world in this event last year that he was a much better player than had been thought when runner-up to Keegan Bradley. Since then Dufner has joined the elite of world golf missing only one cut in 2012, winning twice and putting together plenty of solid tournaments. He had a very good lead-up event at the Bridgestone tournament when finishing 7th. Another week like last year therefore will not be the surprise it was then.
Like Donald, Westwood, Scott, Johnson, Kuchar and one or two others, Rose is one of the game’s best players without a major championship to his name. After a horror start to the Bridgestone he worked his way into contention before finishing inside the top five. Rose was disappointing at the Open Championship but his form prior and since makes him a a player well worth considering this week.
One of the game’s most consistent players and has not missed a cut all year. No major to his name as yet but he is definitely a player good enough to win one. Very solid last week especially over the final two rounds including his last round of 66 to finish 8th and two starts earlier was 9th at the Open Championship. Birdies at his last four holes at Akron provide him with good momentum.
McDowell has played the majors well in 2012, finishing 12th at the Masters, runner-up at the US Open and 5th at the Open Championship. In theory this is a venue which should suit him being alongside the ocean and exposed to the elements. He has played well at such venues. He faded a little over the last 36 holes last week but it was a solid enough hit out.
Els confirmed his resurgence in world golf with his great victory at the Open Championship before perhaps understandably missing the cut at the Canadian Open. Last week at the Bridgestone he improved as the week went on and will be ready for another big week on a golf course which should suit him.
Mickelson is a former winner of the event but his form at present suggests it might be very difficult for him to contend this year. His most recent starts have given no indication that he is playing well enough to win and event of this status.
So nearly won this event two years ago but was penalised on the final hole and cost himself a chance in the playoff. His form has been good this season including his win in Memphis and has been generally very consistent. Played a lot of golf in this area during his college days so might be one of the more familiar with this layout.
Mahan won twice earlier this season and although he has not gone close since he has continued to play well enough. He was perhaps a little disappointing last week at Firestone but is still a realistic chance at slightly longer odds to contend.
Bradley’s chances of defending his surprise victory in this event last year looked slim until his great week at the Bridgestone last week when a last round of 64 gave him victory. It had been eleven starts since his last top ten but the victory over Jim Furyk at Firestone gives him great momentum.
There are many factors to suggest Oosthuizen is well placed to challenge for his second major championship. He might not be at quite the peak he was at when so nearly winning the Masters in April but he played well at the Open Championship and recorded a great week last week at the Bridgestone when contending until the death and finishing 4th.
Furyk will need to recover from his last hole demise at the Bridgestone if he is to contend. After letting a great chance at the US Open slip from his grasp he did the same last week when he double bogeyed the final hole to lose to Bradley. Furyk is made of tough stuff however and should bounce back quickly and possibly contend for what would be only his second major championship.
Harrington’s game is building towards a big victory. He was 4th at the US Open and it was on this golf course in 1997 when he and Paul McGinley won the World Cup of Golf for Ireland. He is one of the few in this field therefore who can boast success over the Ocean Course layout. Harrington was not eligible for last week’s event in Ohio and instead played in Reno Tahoe where he had a solid warm-up to the event.
Stricker won early this season and has continued to play solidly enough since. Stricker played well at last week’s Bridgestone where he finished tied for 2nd and although he too is without a major championship to his name if he was to add one few would be surprised. He is one of the game’s most consistent players and that is unlikely to change this week.
Johnson has won twice on the PGA Tour this season in addition to being runner-up at the Players Championship. At the recent Open Championship he finished in a very meritorious 9th place, then although he played ordinarily last week at the Bridgestone his overall game right now is in great shape.
Snedeker won earlier in the season but it was his great third place finish at the Open Championship that suggests he could contend at Kiawah Island. The Ocean Course is not a layout that will suit everyone but Snedeker has proven to be very adaptable. His final round of 75 at the Bridgestone was a little concerning but don’t discount him completely.
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