Woods is playing better than he has done since revelations of extra-marital affairs surfaced in 2009. This year, he has risen to the top of the money list on the PGA Tour – thanks largely to three victories – and has the lowest scoring average per round. His bunker play, as well as his ability to navigate strong winds, will stand him in good stead at Kiawah Island.
Donald has been sitting atop of the world rankings since May 2011, except for a two week period when Rory McIlroy was at the helm. He is without a doubt the best player from sand in the world, giving him a huge advantage at Kiawah. He could struggle if the wind gets up, but his approach play and short game are always a joy to behold. He told Golf Monthly after the Open he was very confident heading to South Carolina. Let’s hope he can win that elusive first major, the only blight upon his stellar career.
One of the most gifted players in the game, Oosthuizen has the potential to be one of the world’s best. He has been fantastic on the European Tour so far this year, winning twice and notching the lowest scoring average per round. He has come close to winning his second major this season and could do so at Kiawah, a course that will suit someone with a strong all-round game.
Majors do not seem to faze him as he has finished in the top 10 four times in his past seven attempts, and he is finally living up to his immense potential. Hopefully his collapse at the Open won’t hinder him too much, and he need only look at Rory McIlroy – who recovered very quickly from a similar ordeal at the Masters – for inspiration. His mental fortitude is the only thing that can stop him from challenging for the win on Sunday.
Choi has dropped off the pace this season but has shown his poise in the past, especially when winning The Players’ Championship last year. The Tank possesses a lot of strength which could bode well for him in the gusty conditions, and his sand play, along with his supreme wedge game, are underrated. He is an outsider for the title but one who, with a bit of luck, could be vying for the Wanamaker Trophy come Sunday.
A perennial disappointment on the big stage, Poulter does sometimes seem more interested in the profits of his clothing line rather than the trophies he picks up. However, his putting stroke is exemplary, and he has finished in the top 10 in two of this year’s three majors. He appears to be swimming below the radar of fans and the media, and the Englishman is well placed to attempt to make true on his infamous comparison to Tiger Woods.