Three for the price of one.
That’s what the first two rounds of the PGA Championship are all about. If you’re going to be following one golfer in particular at Oak Hill over the next few days, you’ll also get the pleasure of watching two other guys who may be just as good or potentially better than the player you’re keeping an eye on.
Rory McIlroy enters New York as the defending champion, but while he'll be playing with some notable names on Thursday and Friday—Vijay Singh and Martin Kaymer—he’s not in one of the best groups.
Which are the ones you can’t afford to miss in the opening rounds of the final major of the season? Here's a look at the three best groups.
3. Nicolas Colsaerts, Jason Day and Brandt Snedeker
Tee Times (ET): 12:55 p.m. Thursday, 7:45 a.m. Friday
None of the three golfers in this group have won a major in their respective careers, but this is certainly a trio to keep an eye on throughout the week at Oak Hill.
It wouldn't be too surprising to see any of these three guys hoisting the title come Sunday afternoon. They’d all be worthy champions.
Nicolas Colsaerts is having an up-and-down season and has been inconsistent at major championships in the last two years. He missed the cut at the Masters earlier in the year and then finished in the top 10 at the U.S. Open. He couldn't carry his momentum to the Open Championship, though, as he failed to make the cut.
Jason Day has played in 12 major tournaments throughout his career and has five top-10 finishes. He finished tied for 10th in 2010 at the PGA Championship but was cut the last two times. He finished third at the Masters and second at the U.S. Open.
He didn’t play well in Scotland but could soar to the top for the first time this week.
Brandt Snedeker is one of the best golfers in the world without a major championship. He’s seventh in the world golf rankings and third in the FedEx Cup standings this year. Snedeker has finished in the top 20 at all three majors in 2013 but hasn’t made the cut at the PGA Championship since 2010. Look for him to shine throughout the week.
2. Davis Love III, Keegan Bradley and Tiger Woods
Tee Times (ET): 8:35 a.m. Thursday, 1:45 p.m. Friday
If Tiger Woods is going to win his 15th career major, he’s going to need to get off to a strong start. The top-ranked golfer in the world is coming off a masterful performance at the Bridgestone Invitational, where he won by seven strokes. He’s won the PGA Championship four times in his career and could soon win his fifth.
According to Bovada, Woods is the odds-on favorite to win at Oak Hill this week and for good reason. He’s the best golfer there is, already has five wins this season and is coming off one of the top weeks of his career.
There’s no question he’ll get the most attention of any golfer throughout the week in New York.
Keegan Bradley will be playing next to Tiger on Thursday and Friday, and he could win the PGA Championship just as easily. He won the crown two years ago and finished tied for third last year. He’s coming off a second-place finish at the Bridgestone Invitational and should be a player to watch this week.
Davis Love III rounds out this great group, but he’s not expected to contend like the other two guys he’ll be playing with.
He won the PGA Championship in 1997—his only career major victory—but has only made the cut at the tournament twice in the last six years. He also didn’t play in any of the three majors this year.
1. Adam Scott, Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson
Tee Times (ET): 1:45 p.m. Thursday, 8:35 a.m. Friday
Adam Scott was victorious at the Masters back in April and nearly came away with his second major of the year—and of his career—at the Open Championship a few weeks ago, finishing tied for third.
That tournament was won by one of the guys he’ll be playing with for the first two rounds, Phil Mickelson.
Mickelson was outstanding at the Open Championship, winning his fifth career major tournament by three strokes. Lefty also finished tied for second at this year's U.S. Open, which was won by Justin Rose, who is also a part of this group.
It should be an intriguing week for Mickelson, as he’ll be looking to make history.
Padraig Harrington was the last golfer to win back-to-back majors in a year. He took home the trophies at the Open Championship and the PGA Championship in 2008. Mickelson will have the opportunity to do what Padraig did a few years ago, and it would certainly be impressive if he managed to win at Oak Hill.
Rose is arguably the third-biggest star in this stacked group. He was flawless at the U.S. Open but is coming off a poor performance at the Open Championship, where he failed to make the cut.
He did finish tied for third at the PGA Championship in 2012 and could be toward the top of the leaderboard again this week.
All statistics in this article were obtained via PGATour.com unless otherwise noted.