PGA Championship Predictions 2012: Bold Projections for Tiger Woods and More
The PGA Championship doesn't boast the traditional immaculacy of the Masters. It doesn't have the U.S. Open's grandiose distinction as a national championship, and it doesn't possess the storied history of the British Open.
But it is the annual last chance to win a major.
That means something.
Actually, the PGA Championship means a lot.
Tiger Woods gears up for yet another chance to snap the longest major drought of his career, a time to let the detractors know he's capable of challenging Jack Nicklaus' all-time record.
The rest of the star-studded field will look to conquer one of the demanding courses to host a PGA Championship in recent memory—Kiawah Island in South Carolina.
Will Keegan Bradley defend his title, or will one of the other 12 former PGA championship winners claim victory for the second time?
Maybe we'll get yet another first-time major winner.
As will be the case for the remainder of his renowned career, all eyes will be narrowly focused on Woods this week in South Carolina.
When he's been striking it smoothly, his touch on the greens has faltered and vice versa.
Because so many golf fans want Woods to be "back," it's easy for fans to find reasons as to why he'll finally break through at every major.
Realistically, it'd be foolish to predict a win for Woods at Kiawah, but it'd be even more foolish to expect him not to be in weekend contention.
How will Tiger Woods fare at the 2012 PGA Championship?
Even when he's playing badly, relative to what we remember a decade ago, he hangs around with the rest of the field. Though club-throwing and curse words after a bad shot indicate otherwise, no one's better at taking a shot-by-shot approach than Woods, and he understands the 72-hole difficulty of a major championship as well as anyone
It'd come as a shock if he finishes outside the top 10, and don't be shocked if he's in one of the final groups on Sunday. Woods' putter will decide his fate.
Prediction: Finishes second
His strong showing at this week's WGC-Bridgestone will give him much-needed confidence heading into the PGA as the defending champion.
Ultimately, the extremely difficult course will get the best of Bradley, as he'll finish outside the top 10. That's not a blatant knock on Bradley, his game or his ability to contend at another major—Tiger Woods is the only player to repeat as champion since 1928.
He undoubtedly has the talent to win at Kiawah, and he has a PGA Championship on his resume. But without any momentum heading into the event whatsoever, it'd be surprising if Mickelson made a realistic run at his fourth career major title.
Prediction: Narrowly makes cut
After a catastrophic and psychologically devastating end to the British Open, Scott must regain his composure to give winning his first major title another go.
He now famously was quoted saying the following about this year's PGA Championship venue (via Chicago Tribune): "It's two different nine holes. The front nine is a really nice, playable golf course — and then the back nine is not."
Scott has the natural skill and experience to win at Kiawah; it'll just be a matter of keeping his nerves calm for four days.
Prediction: top-5 finish
Last year, Dufner lost to Bradley in a three-hole playoff after Bradley trailed by five shots with three holes to play in regulation.
However, his low-key demeanor and serene air is ideal to withstand the pressure felt by everyone on a major championship Sunday.
He's third on the tour in ball-striking and is sixth in greens in regulation percentage.
If he gets hot with the putter, he's my favorite to win the 2012 PGA Championship, but he'll deal with plenty of deserving competition.
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