By Calum Chinchen
The final golf ‘Major’ of the year, the US PGA Championship, is seen by many as the least important of all four Majors. However, it usually proves to be the most exciting.
For the third time in its history, Whistling Straits in Michigan is hosting the event. Vijay Singh managed to win in 2004 and Martin Kaymer was successful in 2010. Both men claimed their titles in sudden death Playoffs.
The layout of Whistling Straits is nothing short of breath-taking. Pete Dye is the course designer, and his famous layouts generally test the modern golfer in every area single area of their game. The course is a rare American links that contains over 100 bunkers. If the wind blows then there is a chance that the winner’s score could be level par or even higher.
Rory McIlroy (11.50) is the defending champion after winning at Valhalla last year. He is still nursing the ankle injury that kept him out of the Open Championship.
However, it does look as though he will be fit after he announced he would be resting instead of playing at The Bridgestone Invitational. We just can’t see him contending on this demanding layout, especially after a month away from competitive action.
In-form man Dustin Johnson (14.00) has bad memories of Whistling Straits. The big-hitting American breached a rule involving club grounding on the 18th hole back in 2010, and ended up with a two-shot penalty, causing him to miss out on the playoff and potentially his first maiden Major Championship title – something he is still waiting for.
Jason Day (12.50) is also a man still waiting to break his Major duck. He possesses arguably the strongest all-round game in golf and always seems to contend in the Majors. He does have a terrible habit of struggling to hold onto a lead once in contention. However, we feel as though this trend has to stop at some point – maybe even this week.
Players Champion and Scottish Open winner Rickie Fowler (18.00) would have been the Player of the Year by a considerable distance if it wasn’t for his fellow young American Jordan Speith (7.20), who is stealing the limelight with success at The Masters and US Open.
Fowler seems comfortable on any style of course and seems to have very little weaknesses in his game. He is rarely out of contention on the PGA tour and we really fancy him to win this week. Speith is also a young man with a tremendously well rounded game.
However, he tends to rely more on his phenomenal putting ability than Fowler. We fully expect Speith to contend in Michigan yet, as with The Open, we feel he will be in the places rather than going on to win.
Paul Casey (70.00) has battled back from a lack of form over recent years. The Englishman is a product of the American collegiate system, but returned to the European Tour shortly after to hone his skills. This has allowed him to be one of the few players on the planet to be equally strong on either side of the Atlantic.
Casey finished in a tie for 12th at Whistling Straits back in 2010 and looked comfortable on the testy links, particularly when conditions worsened.
ONE FOR THE EACH WAY PUNTER: PAUL CASEY @ 70.00
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