With so many world-class players set to tee up in one of the year’s most unpredictable tournaments, anything could happen.
The nature of USPGA Championship golf courses, the qualification process and the tournament’s positioning in the global golfing calendar often combine to present somewhat unexpected results.
Over the last decade, Rich Beem, Shaun Micheel, YE Yang and Keegan Bradley have all triumphed in the USPGA Championship – all players that would have been considered genuine outsiders before the start of their respective triumphs.
This year, however, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see an established player taking home the Wanamaker Trophy, or to see this year’s three previous major winners adding to their 2013 tallies.
Adam Scott, Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson all have great chances at the USPGA Championship, for different reasons.
Rose and Scott’s games are, in my view, perfectly suited to Oak Hill. Both players are among the best ball strikers in the global game, and both rank inside the top 13 in the PGA Tour’s Total Driving ranking.
Oak Hill is a course that should reward such players. It’s a tight, tree-lined layout with a number of par 4s over the 450-yard mark. What’s more, the tough closing stretch – reminiscent of US Open host Merion – will play into the hands of those who have already experienced and come through the pressure of the final few holes on major championship Sunday.
Rose, Scott and Mickelson also played some solid golf at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, finishing 12th, 16th and 21st respectively, so their games seem to be in good shape. Scott and Rose should be well rested and if anyone can harness momentum and transfer it from one week to another, it’s Mickelson.
Yes, Tiger looks dangerous, especially after his sensational performance at the Bridgestone, but look out for a strong showing from this year’s three champions in the final major of the year.