2013 PGA Championship Preview: The Top 10 Contenders.

Golf - HSBC Champions TrophyFor me next week marks end of the golf season. I know there’s the Fed Ex stuff, but is anyone really watching after the PGA Championship? It’s only for the most hardcore golf fans. That said things are setting up for an extremely intriguing final major. Are we finally going to get that Tiger\Phil major battle, we’ve been waiting nearly 20 years for? Both players are coming in red-hot and look very much like co-favorites. The PGA Championship is being held at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, NY.

1a. Tiger Woods

Well that was a vintage Tiger Woods performance at this weeks’ WGC Bridgestone Invitational… Woods lapped the field en route to a 7 Shot victory over a world class field. Every part of his game looked in control, and his 61 this past Friday, was one of the best rounds this year. I’m not sure there’s any course in the world any more suited to Woods. He’s won this event a record 8 times. The question is not whether Woods can still play the best golf in the world, it’s whether he can play this kind of golf the weekend of a major. He should come in with huge amounts of confidence.

All Sports Discussion Odds of Winning: 10 to 1

1b. Phil Mickelson

Mickelson has won 2 of his last 3 tournament including his scintillating final round 66 at the British Open. He finished in top 25 this week at the Bridgestone Invitational despite the obvious distractions of his recent major victory. That’s really not a bad performance at all. Phil and Tiger simply have another gear of golf, that only maybe Rory Mcilory can match when he’s on. I really believe both will be on the leaderboard on Sunday, they are just coming in playing too well.

All Sports Discussion Odds of Winning: 10 to 1

3. Adam Scott

You have to put Scott 3rd on the list at the moment. He’s finished in the top 25 in 8 of his last 9 majors. He’s won a Masters and contended at the British Open before Mickelson’s epic final round charge. The 5th ranked player in the world is one of the best ball strikers in golf. If his putting holds up, he can certainly win. The last time PGA Championship was played at Oak Hill, Scott was in contention over the weekend until a Sunday fade.

All Sports Discussion Odds of Winning: 15 to 1

4. Brandt Snedeker 

Snedeker didn’t have an especially strong week at Firestone this week finishing 33rd, but Snedeker looks ready to win his first major. He won the Canadian Open the week before, and after a short June slump, he seems to be back in form. Snedeker has 3 top 20 finishes at the majors this year, and I’ll expect he’ll contend again this week.

All Sports Discussion odds of Winning: 20 to 1

5. Justin Rose

Oak Hill is expected to play like U.S. Open, so who better to contend than the most recent U.S Open winner Justin Rose? Rose is now ranked in the top 5 in the world, and is starting fulfill the potential he showed as a teenager in the 1998 British Open. He’s a major champion winner, and is coming off a top 20 finish this week at Bridgestone.  He’s an accurate driver of the ball, and I think that will be a big factor at Oak Hill.

All Sports Discussion Odds of Winning: 25 to 1

6. Matt Kuchar

Like Snedeker, Matt Kuchar looks ready to win his first major. Kuchar is having a fantastic season. He has 2 wins, 2nd place finishes, and 4 other top 10s. Just two weeks ago he had a 2nd place result at the Canadian Open. I don’t see any reason why Kuchar can’t contend this week.

All Sports Discussion odds of Winning: 30 to 1

7. Dustin Johnson

Am I overrating Johnson’s chances? He probably should have a couple of majors by now. Nobody questions his talent, but is he going to get that elusive first major? A couple of weeks ago he finished 2nd at the Canadian Open. When he’s on his game he can play anywhere in the world.  He has a couple of top 10’s at the PGA Championship.

All Sports Discussion odds of Winning: 35 to 1

8. Rory Mcilory

The only reason, I still have Mcilory on this list is you know his talent level. He won last year’s PGA Championship by a whopping 8 shots, but his results this year have been pedestrian at best. New clubs, young love… whatever the reason Mcilory hasn’t been right this season. Woods and Mickelson are the only other two other golfers on the planet that can turn things on at a moment’s notice, but honestly I don’t like Mcilory’s chances.

All Sports Discussion odds of Winning: 40 to 1

9.  Lee Westwood

How can you not put Lee Westwood on a major contenders list? 11 top 10’s in majors since 2008. I feel like I keep writing the same preview for Westwood. He’s one of the world best players. He gets himself into major contention and then… he just can’t close the deal. He started Sunday at the British Open with the lead, and Westwood happens. He’s improved his short game to a major championship level. It’s all in Westwood’s head now.

All Sports Discussion odds of Winning: 45 to 1

10. Keegan Bradley

I don’t think Keegan Bradley gets enough credit. He won a PGA Championship in 2011, and finished 3rd last year. He won the B-Flight of this week’s Bridgestone Invitational. Something about late July and August seems to work for Bradley. He seems to be finding his game at the right time, and he knows how to win this tournament. Keep an eye on Bradley this week.

All Sports Discussion odds of Winning: 50 to 1

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