Jack Nicklaus has labelled Tiger Woods as favourite but he believes the 2013 USPGA Championship is wide open as the world’s best golfers gear up for the final major of the season.
Oak Hill Country Club in New York will play host to the 95th staging of the USPGA, and Nicklaus thinks it’s a course that will suit a number of players in the field.
“You have so many good players today that I think will like Oak Hill, will enjoy playing the golf course and could have an opportunity to win the USPGA. To try and pick one is pretty difficult right now,” Nicklaus told ESPN.
“Tiger will adapt well to it. Mickelson will adapt well to it. I think there are a lot of guys that will adapt well to it.”
Oak Hill’s East is renowned as a tough driving course, but the summer conditions should enable many players to use the big stick sparingly.
Woods will be one of those, and Nicklaus believes the world number one is stands a good chance of breaking his five-year winless major streak.
“Obviously Tiger has had a very, very good year. He’s not finished off a couple of majors he’s had an opportunity to be involved in, but you’d be pretty hard pressed not to make him, if not the favourite, one of the favourites going into Oak Hill.”
That said, Nicklaus feels the course set-up, conditions and the USPGA’s positioning in the global golf calendar will bring many players into the tournament.
“At the Open, you can eliminate a lot of guys because of conditions, and the same goes for the US Open and the Masters,” said Nicklaus.
“But I think more people, because of the summer conditions and the nature of the USPGA Championship, it opens it up to more people having an opportunity to win.
“I think the USPGA is a pretty open ball game right now.”
The last time Oak Hill staged the USPGA Championship, world number 169 Shaun Micheel – a player that hadn’t won in 163 starts on the PGA Tour – hit one of the best pressure shots of all time to claim his first Major title.