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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

My 5 for the PGA Championship

Once again I tickle my keyboard's fancy with my predictions for a major -- in this case, the PGA Championship.

This year's PGA is being played at Oak Hill's East Course, a classic design by legendary designer Donald Ross. According to the PGA Tour post Ten Things to Know about PGA Championship:
Oak Hill didn't start hosting big championships until 1956, though it has staged some big moments. It's where Lee Trevino first emerged as a major champion in 1968, and where Curtis Strange went back-to-back in the U.S. Open in 1989. Europe turned the tide in the Ryder Cup with a comeback at Oak Hill in 1995. And even when it had a surprise winner in Shaun Micheel, he clinched the 2003 PGA Championship with a 7-iron to 2 inches on the last hole.
Add this little fact: Of ALL the majors played at Oak Hill, Jack Nicklaus (1980 PGA) holds the scoring record at -6. If Oak Hill stays true to form, we'll have a low-scoring major and perhaps an unexpected winner.

So here are my 5 picks -- the guys I believe are most likely to win the 2013 PGA Championship at Oak Hill:
  • Tiger Woods: I have to have Tiger on my list. Tiger is playing well tee to green and seems to be putting pretty well also.That's the recipe for a 15th Tiger major. Besides, he won the WGC-Bridgestone last week; why not a back-to-back win?
  • Phil Mickelson: Likewise, I have to give Phil a vote of confidence. He accomplished the never-before-seen back-to-back Scottish Open/Open Championship and, like Tiger, is playing as well as ever.
  • Angel Cabrera: It's hard to get a good hold on how Angel's playing at any particular time; he's a streaky player. But as evidenced by his 2007 US Open win at Oakmont, he's got cojones grandes when the going gets tough.
When it comes to picking possible surprise winners, I'm lost. To be honest, anybody but Tiger or Phil might be considered a long shot this year. But let's give 'er a go, shall we?
  • Matteo Manassero: Matteo may not be long enough for most short lists, but I like the way he's been playing this year. One good week of putting may be all it takes for him to grab his first major.
  • Steve Stricker: Perhaps the ultimate long shot. Why isn't Steve a favorite at every major? It's simple -- he doesn't really make that many birdies. In fact, he's one of the worst on Tour when playing the par-5s! Stricks desperately needs a great week with his wedge... but if he gets it, he could walk away with his first major.
Here's the TV schedule. Note that TNT is working with CBS for this major. All times are ET:
  • THU Aug 08: TNT 1:00-7:00p
  • FRI Aug 09: TNT 1:00-7:00p
  • SAT Aug 10: TNT 11:00a-2:00p, CBS 2:00-7:00p
  • SUN Aug 11: TNT 11:00a-2:00p, CBS 2:00-7:00p
There's a lot of storylines in the works this week. Who will finally fire "Glory's Last Shot"? We'll know soon enough!

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