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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My PGA Championship "5 to Watch"

Picking my "5 to Watch" this week is tough. Almost everybody seems a bit flat to me right now -- understandable, I guess, since there's been little time to rest in the midst of this season-ending stretch -- and it's a bit hard to guess who might suddenly catch fire.

Several players don't make my list... but just barely. Tiger is one of them; I'm a bit skeptical about his putting on these Pete Dye greens. I suspect Tiger's game will be back in competition shape by Masters time, but I don't think he'll get it done this week. I put Lee Westwood in this category as well; he really fits my definition of "flat" right now. Perhaps he's just tired from moving his family here to the U.S.

I'm also a bit skeptical about Bubba Watson. Since finishing up the adoption paperwork Monday, I suspect he may have a bit of trouble getting back into competition mode this quickly. The wind could work against him as well.

And there are a lot of players I think could win, I just can't find a reason why they should win, if you understand what I mean.

But enough about my "maybe nots." Let's get to my choices:
  • Keegan Bradley: I know it's rare for a winner to double up, especially when the second win is a major. But I think Keegan has found whatever it was that he had lost for a while, and I like the fact that he seems to have lowered expectations this week. If he finds himself in the thick of it Sunday afternoon, I like his chances to finish the job.
  • Louis Oosthuizen: King Louie has been on the verge of getting one for several months now. He's proven he can get it done in the wind, and he's hitting it long and pure. He's definitely under the radar.
  • Thorbjorn Olesen: I've mentioned liking the "Thunder Bear" before. He's not cowed by the spotlight, and I think he could very well be the next first-time major winner.
  • Luke Donald: This is a course that seems like a disaster waiting to happen for Luke... and that's exactly why I think he may play well here. And given his strong finishes in his last two big events, there's no reason not to think it may carry over here.
  • Rory McIlroy: Yeah, this one's a shocker because I haven't been on the Rory bandwagon for a few months now. But I really like what I saw from him last week and think he may have turned the corner.
And while I'm not putting him on my short list, I think Tommy Gainey could be a dark horse. Being from South Carolina, this is a home game for him so he might have a little extra inspiration to play well this week.

That's my "5 to Watch" at the PGA Championship. If I have to narrow it to one, I'll pick Louis Oosthuizen. I really think he's overdue to break through, and I see no reason why it shouldn't be for his second major.

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