Glory's Last Shot: USPGA Championship
All roads lead to Rochester New York this week for the 95th US PGA Championship. Oak Hill Country Club is the venue for its 6th major championship. Famous amongst Irish golf fans for being the venue for the 1995 Ryder Cup where Philip Walton won his crucial singles game to win the trophy for Europe and also where unknown journeyman Shaun Micheel shocked the golf world when winning the 2003 US PGA Championship with a stunning approach to the 72nd hole.
For different reasons this year it is all about the two best players of their generation Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Can Tiger make a very good year excellent? Can Phil produce his best golf again in another major?
After another dominant performance at Firestone Tiger is a hot favourite at 4/1. His second round 61, impressing everyone but himself, was the catalyst for an easy weekend of hitting greens and lagging putts. It will not be as easy at the Donald Ross design this week as the rough is punishing and the targets are narrow!!! Phil and Tiger have both been at their best recently when taking the Driver out of their hands and for this reason they will both contend this week. Head Professional Claude Harmon thinks players will not hit the big dog more than 5/6 times in each round and precision will be the name of the game. I'm going to make my picks based on solid ball striking and methodical play.
Matt Kuchar 30/1 Oak Hill should suit him perfectly as it is a tight tree lined course. He has made 22 consecutive cuts this season including 7 top ten finishes. One win and two seconds in his last six starts.
Hunter Mahan 35/1 Has been in the final group on Sunday at the last two majors so hopefully he can do it again at a track that will suit his accurate style. 19th in ball-striking.
Jason Dufner 35/1 Tied 4th last week at Firestone, he picked up his second such result in his last four starts (U.S. Open). Ranked T19 in total driving last week; also T16 in GIR, 12th in proximity to the hole and 11th in scrambling.
Henrik Stenson 22/1 Runner-up at Firestone; no worse than a Tied 3rd in his last three starts worldwide. Ranks sixth on the PGA TOUR in fairways hit, second in greens in regulation. No.2 in ball striking.
Obviously Woods and Mickelson can never be ruled out but their prices do not offer any value so for the time being I’m willing to stake a few quid on these four!
I’ll try to give my thoughts on Saturday night/Sunday morning