The final major championship of the year is here, as the PGA Championship from Oak Hill Country Club in New York is set to commence on Thursday morning.
There are several big storylines to follow throughout the week in Rochester, as the best of the best are about to undergo a tough test. The PGA Championship is unlike any other tournament these golfers have played in 2013, and it’s sure to be a close race atop the leaderboard.
Rory McIlroy won the second major of his career at the PGA Championship a year ago after a strong week at Kiawah Island in South Carolina. McIlroy dominated the rest of the field, as he would come out victorious by eight strokes—David Lynn finished in second place at five under par.
The PGA Championship will be held at Oak Hill on the East Course for the first time since 2003. That year, Shaun Micheel took home the trophy after shooting four under par, two strokes better than Chad Campbell. It was the only major he ever won, and he only made 12 of 25 major cuts throughout his career.
This is a tournament you cannot afford to miss. If you can’t make the trip out to Rochester for the next few days, make sure you have your TV set to TNT and CBS throughout the week, as the pair of networks will have all the PGA Championship coverage you need to stay informed.
Storyline to Watch: No. 15 for Tiger?
Tiger Woods has been stuck on 14 major championship victories for quite some time. The No. 1 player in the world hasn’t won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open. He’s usually toward the top of the leaderboard but has failed to claim the top spot at the end of play on Sunday ever since.
Woods has won the PGA Championship four times in his career but hasn’t finished first since 2007. He didn’t play in 2008 and has been inconsistent the last four years. He finished second in 2009 but finished tied for 28th in 2010. He didn’t make the cut in 2011 but finished tied for 11th last year.
Tiger has played relatively well in the other three majors this year (two top-six finishes) and will step onto Oak Hill feeling pretty good about himself—or at least he should. Woods was unstoppable this past week at the Bridgestone Invitational, as he cruised to victory by seven strokes.
There’s a good chance Tiger starts out hot, as he has the lowest scoring average before the cut on the PGA Tour this season (68.75). His problem has been playing the weekend, as he has the 73rd-best third-round scoring average (70.80) and the 135th-best final-round scoring average (71.70).
It’ll be interesting to see if Woods can carry over his game from the Bridgestone Invitational to the PGA Championship. Kelly Tilghman of The Golf Channel reports he’s won the final tournament before a major 20 times in his career and has gone on to win the following major four times. It should be a fun week for Tiger, to say the least.
Group to Watch: Adam Scott, Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson
There are a few good groups to watch on Thursday and Friday, but nothing compares to the group that features Adam Scott, Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson. The trio will tee off Thursday at 8:35 a.m. ET and Friday at 1:05 p.m. ET. All three are sure to be contenders come Sunday afternoon.
Scott won the Masters earlier this year for the first major victory of his career. He went on to finish tied for 45th at the U.S. Open but played well at the Open Championship, where he finished tied for third. He has three top-10 finishes at the PGA Championship in his career and finished tied for 11th a year ago.
Rose picked up his first major victory at the U.S. Open less than two months ago at Merion. Even though he finished one over par for the championship, it was enough to claim the trophy on Sunday. He came close to winning his first major a year ago at the PGA Championship but ended up nine strokes back and in third place.
Mickelson has played the PGA Championship 20 times in his career but only has one victory. That win came back in 2005. Since, he only has one top-10 finish at the championship, and that was in 2008. He did recently win the Open Championship, and he could make it back-to-back major wins with a victory on Sunday.
It’s not every championship you get to see three major champions in one group. Almost never will you see the last three major champions grouped together. This is a rarity, and one you must wake up early on Thursday and punch out of work early on Friday to see. Don't miss the first and second rounds from these top golfers.
All statistics in this article were obtained via PGATour.com unless otherwise noted.