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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

My 5 to Watch at the PGA

Well, it's finally here. It's the last major of the PGA Tour season...

And I don't expect Tiger to play. He may try -- he's stubborn that way -- but I don't think he should and so he doesn't even factor into my calculations this week.

Of course, this guy does.

Rory with 3 major trophies

Today I unveil my "5 to Watch" for the PGA Championship. At this point in the season, there aren't a lot of surprises left, are there? Most players have been focused on this part of the season -- next week is the Wyndham (just 30 minutes or so from where I live), then the FedExCup Playoffs, and then the Ryder Cup. If guys haven't found their games yet, it's hard to believe they'll find them now!

So let's see if I can still pull a couple of surprises out of my hat...
  • Of course, I'd have to be an idiot not to include Rory McIlroy in my picks. The new World #1 got to the top the old-fashioned way -- he took it! After back-to-back history-making wins at the Open and Bridgestone, you have to figure he's at least got a chance at winning three in a row. But Rory isn't my choice to win this week.
  • Rickie Fowler is the only guy in the field with 3 Top5s in the majors this year, and he's coming off a T8 at Bridgestone. I expect him to show up big again this week.
  • Likewise, Justin Rose posted a T4 at Bridgestone this past week. After an understandably flat month -- after all, he won two big events back-to-back just a month ago -- he seems to be picking up steam again.
  • My favorite for this week is Sergio Garcia. Maybe I'm just rooting for the story, but I was actually a bit relieved when he didn't win the WGC since going back-to-back with a WGC and a major would be tough. Sergio is playing so well -- and seems to be in such a good place mentally and emotionally -- that I really like his chances at Valhalla.
  • And my flier pick is none other than Colin Montgomerie. Monty has a couple of senior majors under his belt now -- US victories as well -- so the Monty teeing it up this week is a very different man from the one who struggled on the regular tour. Valhalla puts a premium on fairways and GIR, and those are Monty's strong suit.
I know many of you wonder why I'm passing on some strong players like...
  • Adam Scott: Adam simply doesn't seem to be putting well enough right now. And to be honest, I think he's a bit bummed out that he couldn't get a win to solidify his place at the top over the last couple of majors. He'll regroup but I don't think it'll be this week.
  • Bubba Watson: Bubba's game was perfect for Pinehurst, Hoylake, and Bridgestone... and he did nothing. I simply don't see him getting things together this week.
  • Phil Mickelson: That 62 on Sunday was big... but just not big enough.
  • Jordan Spieth: I think the emotion of his nonstop rise to the top echelons of the game have finally caught up with him. He needs a break to regroup before he breaks through.
And there are a dozen more who I think are just pressing too hard, either to make the Playoffs or the Ryder Cup.

It's hard to defend any major except the Masters because of the changing venues, so I don't expect "the Duff" to pull it off this time -- especially with the neck problem he's had lately. Despite including Rory & Rose in my picks, I'm convinced we're going to see another new major winner this week.

And I think it could be Sergio. We'll find out soon enough, won't we?

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