PGA Championship 2012: Latest Chatter Surrounding Tiger, Rory, Phil and More
As the world's best golfers prepare for the year's final major, the PGA Championship, the usual cast of characters are expected to dominate the headlines once again. If there's anything the past couple years have shown, it's to expect the unexpected.
Even though Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson are likely to steal the spotlight leading up to Thursday's tee times, recent history would suggest somebody else will be standing in the winner's circle on Sunday. The last 16 majors have been won by 16 different golfers.
With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the latest talk and more key information concerning the aforementioned trio of stars as they look to conquer the Kiawah Island Ocean Course.
It's been a rough summer for Mickelson. His results since early June include two missed cuts, a withdraw and no finish better than 43rd. While those finishes would be frustrating for any pro, it's especially hard on players like him who are used to competing for titles, not cuts.
Mickelson did make a change in an attempt to jump-start his season, though. He changed the blade on his putter, and it led to a more consistent round on the greens at the Bridgestone, according to Jeff Shain of the Orlando Sentinel. It will be interesting to see if he sticks with it moving forward.
The key for the fan favorite at the PGA Championship will be getting off to a quick start. He hasn't shot below 70 in an opening round since late March. Bucking that trend would give him the confidence he needs to get in contention for the weekend.
Which player will have the best finish at the PGA?
For any other player on the PGA Tour, matching the season Woods has had would be a massive success. But for him, the year will be marked incomplete without a major title, which means he must salvage his final opportunity this weekend.
It won't be easy, though. ESPN's Bob Harig reports it's the first time in more than three years that Woods will be trying to a win a major title on a new course. That means he faces a learning curve to go along with his frustratingly inconsistent performance.
He does have the game to win if he can bring it all together. He has finished in the top 10 in four of his past six starts, which shows his days of a contender are far from over. Fans still haven't seen the killer instinct that earned him 14 majors, however, and he'll need that this week.
It has appeared throughout the season that the burden of expectations has weighed heavily on McIlroy and has stopped him from playing as well as in the past. His scoring average at majors is over 73 and he has just one worldwide win in 2012.
But McIlroy believes he's getting closer to regaining his form, based on a report from Zac Jackson of Fox Sports Ohio. The Northern Irishman sounds pleased with his progress heading into the season's final major tournament.
Confidence is key for McIlroy, and he seems to endure more wild swings of it than almost any other golfer. When he believes in himself, he's easily one of the top two or three golfers in the world. His result this week will depend almost entirely on that belief factor.
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