Power Ranking the Top 25 Golfers Heading into the 2013 PGA Championship
The fourth and final major tournament of the 2013 PGA Tour takes place this week at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y. The PGA Championship starts Thursday, Aug. 8 and features the game's greatest players.
Through more than 30 weeks of the season, we've learned a lot about the Tour's top competitors. Based on the track records they've established so far, here's how we ranked the top 25 players, while taking a look at their chances in Rochester.
25. Jim Furyk
Previous Rank: N/A
Best of 2013: Jim Furyk strung together three sub-70 scores on his way to a third-place tie at the Valero Texas Open in April. It remains his top finish of the season.
Why He's Here: After missing the cut at the U.S. Open and Open Championship, it seemed Furyk's year was doomed. He's responded with consecutive ninth-place performances at the Canadian Open and Bridgestone Invitational.
PGA Championship Prediction: Major tournaments have been ugly for Furyk this year, but he appears to be playing the best golf of his season, so anticipate him making the cut this time around.
24. Dustin Johnson
Previous Rank: 24
Best of 2013: Dustin Johnson opened the 2013 Tour in strong fashion, finishing first at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. The January victory gave him an early boost of confidence.
Why He's Here: Johnson has four Top 10 finishes this season. He placed second at the Canadian Open in July, following that a tie for 33rd at Firestone.
PGA Championship Prediction: Johnson is capable of hanging with the lead pack through Friday. Expect him to fall back into the 20-30 range by Sunday afternoon.
23. Luke Donald
Previous Rank: N/A
Best of 2013: Luke Donald demanded attention with his hot start at the U.S. Open. He logged an opening-round 68, sitting atop the leaderboard on Friday at Merion. Donald finished eighth in the event.
Why He's Here: With four top-10 finishes in 12 Tour starts, it's clear that Donald is competing consistently regardless of the tournament. After missing consecutive cuts at the Open Championship and Canadian Open, he tied for ninth at the Bridgestone Invitational.
PGA Championship Prediction: Donald owns two top-10 finishes at this event. His performances have been hard to predict lately, considering his shakiness at the Open, but he should vie for a spot among the Top 15 at Oak Hill.
22. Rory Mcilroy
Previous Rank: 19
Best of 2013: The highlights have been few and far between. McIlroy placed eighth at the Players Championship, fueled by a first-round 66. It's one of the few marquee events where he truly challenged in 2013.
Why He's Here: Although his spot in the Official World Golf Ranking has only dropped from No. 1 to No. 3, Rory McIlroy continues to tumble down our power rankings. He was miserable at the Open, missing the cut by a wide margin, and tied for 27th at Firestone.
PGA Championship Prediction: It's really hard to like McIlroy's chances at Oak Hill. The defending tournament champion is lacking in confidence, can't find a consistent driver and simply isn't competing among the elites for titles right now.
21. Webb Simpson
Previous Rank: 21
Best of 2013: Webb Simpson was excellent on Sunday at the Travelers Championship, posting a 65 to claim fifth place at the tournament.
Why He's Here: Simpson shot an opening-round 64 at Firestone, but rough rounds on Friday and Saturday sent him sliding and he finished tied for 14th at the Bridgestone Invitational. It's his 10th top-25 performance of the season.
PGA Championship Prediction: Simpson has proven capable of catching fire for stretches, but hasn't yet strung that kind of effort together for 64 holes. He could break into the top 10 this weekend.
20. Bubba Watson
Previous Rank: 23
Best of 2013: Bubba Watson claimed his third top-10 finish of the year at the Travelers Championship. He posted an opening-round 63, setting the tone for a fourth-place performance.
Why He's Here: Watson has finished outside of the top 20 in his last four starts. He hasn't missed a cut since early May (Wells Fargo Championship), but he's been largely average this season.
PGA Championship Prediction: He finished second at the PGA Championship in 2010 and placed 11th last year, so Watson does own a quality track record here. He'll snap his streak and place among the top 20.
19. Billy Horschel
Previous Rank: 15
Best of 2013: His early-summer success was highlighted by a fourth-place finish at Merion. Billy Horschel finished fourth at the U.S. Open, spearheaded by a second-round 67.
Why He's Here: The 26-year-old has seemingly hit a wall in recent weeks. He missed the cut at the Open Championship and followed that performance with consecutive over-par efforts at the Canadian Open and Bridgestone Invitational.
PGA Championship Prediction: Horschel's best golf of the year may be behind him. It wouldn't be a surprise to see him slip outside of the top 30 at Oak Hill.
18. Sergio Garcia
Previous Rank: 13
Best of 2013: Sergio Garcia secured third place at the Cadillac Championship. A second-round 72 tripped him up a bit, but he rebounded nicely during the weekend to challenge for a title.
Why He's Here: Garcia hasn't cracked the top 10 at a tournament since May. He finished tied for 45th at the U.S. Open and settled for a 40th-place tie at Firestone.
PGA Championship Prediction: He is still searching for his first major title, but it's going to be a tough task for Garcia to make noise this week. Although he has four top-10 finished on the Tour this year, there's been a fade in his performance during the past month.
17. Jason Dufner
Previous Rank: 20
Best of 2013: Jason Dufner finished fourth at the U.S. Open with a late charge. He posted a 67 on Sunday to salvage an otherwise unimpressive tournament.
Why He's Here: He opened the Bridgestone Invitational with three straight under-par performances and ultimately tied for fourth place at Firestone. It was just his second top-10 finish of the season.
PGA Championship Prediction: Dufner landed in the top 5 at the PGA Championship in 2010 and 2011. If he can clean up his putting game a bit, a similar performance may await.
16. Zach Johnson
Previous Rank: 18
Best of 2013: Zach Johnson took center stage on Day 1 of the Open Championship by shooting a 66. He made his seventh straight cut at the event and finished tied for sixth place, his second consecutive top-10 finish at the Open.
Why He's Here: Johnson owns four top-10 finishes, included two in the top three. He has yet to win a tournament, but he's steadily threatening near the top of the leaderboard.
PGA Championship Prediction: Expect Johnson to build off his Open effort and challenge into the weekend at Oak Hill. He is playing better golf than earlier this summer and it's evident through his results.
15. Charl Schwartzel
Previous Rank: 14
Best of 2013: A scintillating first-round 63 at the Byron Nelson Championship launched Schwartzel toward a third-place finish.
Why He's Here: The South African has made the cut in 13 of 14 PGA Tour events this year. He posted top-15 finishes at both the U.S. Open and Open Championship.
PGA Championship Prediction: He finished outside of the top 40 at three of the past five PGA Championships. Schwartzel will do better this time around and approach his career-best finish (12th place) at the tournament.
14. Steve Stricker
Previous Rank: 16
Best of 2013: Steve Stricker was outstanding at the Cadillac Championship, wrapping up the tournament at 17-under. The effort was good enough for second place.
Why He's Here: Stricker skipped the Open Championship in July and tied for eighth at the U.S. Open. He has four-top 10 finished on the Tour this season despite a light schedule.
PGA Championship Prediction: Stricker has twice finished in seventh place at this event. If he can settle in early, there's no reason the veteran can't vie for another top-10 slot.
13. Ernie Els
Previous Rank: 10
Best of 2013: Ernie Els logged his only top-10 finish of the 2012 season at the U.S. Open. He shot a final-round 69 to seize a share of fourth place.
Why He's Here: Els won the European Tour BMW International Open. He has five top-25 finished in 14 PGA starts and finished tied for 26th at the Open Championship.
PGA Championship Prediction: Els owns five top-10 finishes in his PGA Championship career. The steady veteran still has the skills to compete for a victory at 43 years old.
12. Lee Westwood
Previous Rank: 7
Best of 2013: Westwood entered the final round of the Open Championship holding a two-stroke lead. He ultimately fell back into a third-place tie, failing to become the first English champion since 1992, but his Saturday success highlighted the tournament.
Why He's Here: Westwood was underwhelming after his Muirfield disappointment. He shot five-over at Firestone, finishing tied for 40th.
PGA Championship Prediction: You have to wonder how Westwood's psyche is at this point. He collapsed at Muirfield and was an afterthought during the Bridgestone Invitational. Unless he regains confidence, Westwood falls out of the top 15 here.
11. Hunter Mahan
Previous Rank: 12
Best of 2013: Hunter Mahan finished tied for fourth at the U.S. Open. He entered Sunday in the mix for a title after finishing at 69 both Friday and Saturday.
Why He's Here: Since missing the Masters cut, Mahan tallied top-10 finishes at both the Open Championship and U.S. Open. Those are strong efforts that signal his growth.
PGA Championship Prediction: This is Mahan's first tournament since the birth of his first child. Despite holding a lead, he withdrew from the Canadian Open early in Round 3 to fly to Texas and join his wife. Mahan will contend for a title at Oak Hill, providing a heart-warming storyline.
10. Keegan Bradley
Previous Rank: 17
Best of 2013: Although Tiger Woods stole the show at Firestone with his runaway win, Keegan Bradley was impressive en route to a second-place finish. He seemed to revel playing alongside Tiger during the weekend and finished with a three-under 67 on Sunday.
Why He's Here: Bradley hung tough at the Open Championship despite trying conditions. He tied for 15th and followed that effort with a complete performance at the Bridgestone Invitational.
PGA Championship Prediction: Bradley's confidence level is at an all-time high. That will help him from the first tee at Oak Hill and we'll see him in the mix for a title heading into the back nine on Sunday.
9. Bill Haas
Previous Rank: 11
Best of 2013: Bill Haas earned his fifth career PGA victory earlier in the year. He claimed a title at the AT&T National, building on a strong start to the season.
Why He's Here: Haas tied for seventh place at the Bridgestone Invitational, his fifth top-10 finish in seven starts.
PGA Championship Prediction: Haas missed the cut at both the Open Championship and the U.S. Open. He'll rebound at Oak Hill and claim a top-20 finish.
8. Graeme McDowell
Previous Rank: 8
Best of 2013: Graeme McDowell won the RBC Heritage title, his first PGA Tour victory since 2010.
Why He's Here: Despite missing the cut at both the U.S. Open and Open Championship, McDowell has enjoyed a strong year on the Tour. He has three wins worldwide this summer.
PGA Championship Prediction: McDowell has a ton to prove at major tournament level. He finished 58th at the Open Championship. With the way he's playing, a top-10 finish is just as likely as a missed cut.
7. Justin Rose
Previous Rank: 9
Best of 2013: Justin Rose claimed his first U.S. Open title with a strong performance at Merion. He became the first English player to win the event since 1970.
Why He's Here: Rose has five top-10 finishes in 12 PGA Tour events. He is a consistent competitor.
PGA Championship Prediction: Rose will again rise to the occasion and remain in contention throughout the week at Oak Hill.
6. Jason Day
Previous Rank: 6
Best of 2013: Jason Day tied for second place at the U.S. Open for the second time in three years.
Why He's Here: You forget that Day is just 26 years old because of the composure he displays in pressure-packed situations. He placed third at the Masters.
PGA Championship Prediction: Day is destined to win a major title in the near future. The PGA Championship presents an opportunity for him to cap off a breakout year and he will take advantage, entering Sunday with a shot at the tournament title.
5. Brandt Snedeker
Previous Rank: 5
Best of 2013: A third-round 63 propelled Brandt Snedeker to a title at the Canadian Open. It was his second victory of the 2013 Tour.
Why He's Here: He's one of a few players who own multiple PGA victories this season and owns eight top-10 finishes in 17 events.
PGA Championship Prediction: Snedeker still sneaks under some people's radar, but there's no doubt he's emerged as a member of the PGA Tour elite. He's a true contender at Oak Hill.
4. Matt Kuchar
Previous Rank: 4
Best of 2013: Matt Kuchar took care of business at the Memorial, earning the tournament title. The victory lifted him to a career-high in world rankings.
Why He's Here: Kuchar has two wins on the Tour to go along with a pair of second-place finishes. The 35-year-old tied for second place at the Canadian Open in late July.
PGA Championship Prediction: He falls behind early in the tournament but rallies during the weekend and places in the top 10.
3. Adam Scott
Previous Rank: 3
Best of 2013: The 33-year-old prevailed at Augusta, where he won the Masters in thrilling fashion. The Australian topped Angel Cabrera in a two-hole playoff showdown.
Why He's Here: Scott finished tied for third place at the Open Championship. He followed that performance with a two-under-par effort at Firestone, finishing tied for 14th.
PGA Championship Prediction: Scott has been money in major tournament action this year, aside from some struggles at Merion. He will hold the lead at Oak Hill but ultimately finish on the doorstep of a second major title.
2. Phil Mickelson
Previous Rank: N/A
Best of 2013: Mickelson soared up the leaderboard on the final day at Muirfield, winning the Open Championship by three strokes. A five-under 66 resulted in the fifth major title of Lefty's career.
Why He's Here: The 43-year-old has six top-three finishes this season, including two tournament titles. Mickelson is among the greatest golfers of his generation and he continues to prove it.
PGA Championship Prediction: Mickelson and Tiger Woods go toe-to-toe on Sunday, providing a classic showdown at Oak Hill. Mickelson misses a few opportunities on the back nine, while Woods converts. Lefty settles for second place.
1. Tiger Woods
Previous Rank: 2
Best of 2013: One of the greatest golfers ever was at his finest on Friday at Firestone. Woods flirted with 59 before finishing at 61, tying his career-best round. He went on to win the tournament by seven strokes.
Why He's Here: Woods leads the PGA Tour with five victories and is playing his most consistent golf since dealing with scandal in 2009. The swagger is back.
PGA Championship Prediction: Woods finally ends the slump. He earns his first major title since 2008 by outdueling Phil Mickelson and the field on Sunday afternoon.