The 2013 PGA Grand Slam of Golf is meant to feature all four of the season's major champions, but reigning Open Championship winner Phil Mickelson will not be a part of the elite field due to a scheduling conflict.
While a fan favorite such as Mickelson will be missed by galleries at Southampton, Bermuda's Port Royal Golf Course, several of the game's biggest stars will tee it up.
Masters champion Adam Scott joins fellow first-time major winners in Justin Rose (U.S. Open) and Jason Dufner (PGA Championship). Rounding out the foursome as Mickelson's replacement is Padraig Harrington, a three-time major winner and the last man to successfully defend the Claret Jug in 2008.
Scott, Rose and Dufner have all confirmed their status as elite players in ascending to the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking, but Harrington has dropped off recently.
The Irishman has missed seven of his past nine cuts and sunk to 99th in the world, but it will be interesting to see what type of form he will sport in this tournament.
Even though he is an alternate for the second straight time, Harrington is the defending champion.
Padraig Harrington won last yr's Grand Slam of Golf so he replaces Phil Mickelson in the field. Defending champ is 1st alternate.— Kelly Tilghman (@KellyTilghmanGC) August 20, 2013
Before getting a brief preview, let's look at the TV schedule and dates. Following that will be an attempt to predict the victor for this 36-hole stroke play event to take place this Tuesday and Wednesday.
|1||Tue., Oct. 15||4 p.m. - 7 p.m.||TNT|
|2||Wed., Oct. 16||4 p.m. - 8 p.m.||TNT|
When: Tuesday, Oct. 15, to Wednesday, Oct. 16
Where: Port Royal Golf Course in Southampton, Bermuda
Purse: $1.35 million
Predicted Winner: Jason Dufner
Everyone love The Duf!
If there were any remaining doubts about Dufner's game after a brilliant ball-striking display in his PGA Championship win at Oak Hill, he put them to rest in the Presidents Cup.
Dufner was 2-1 with playing partner Zach Johnson during group play at Muirfield Village Golf Club, hitting a multitude of clutch iron shots to virtual tap-in range all week. He also dismantled upstart International team captain's pick Brendon de Jonge 4 and 3 in singles.
This seaside Grand Slam of Golf venue really plays into Dufner's hands, though. On the PGA Tour in 2013, he was 128th in launch angle 161st in apex height.
What that means is his ball flight—along with pure contact—allows him to pierce gusty conditions better than most.
Scott has an even lower launch angle, which makes his superior distance all the more impressive—and a testament to his physical fitness.
Another pure ball-striker is Rose, who can hit every shot in the bag. He used a higher ball flight to land more softly on Merion's unreceptive greens to take home the year's second major championship.
Who will win the PGA Grand Slam of Golf?
But Rose has proven capable of adjusting at courses where the elements play more of a significant factor—take his joint third-place effort at Kiawah Island in the 2012 PGA Championship, for example.
Keegan Bradley won this Grand Slam tournament in 2011, and few players on tour swing as hard or hit it as high as him. Mother Nature is going to play a big part in determining which golfer will separate himself, but Rose's greater apex height shouldn't hurt him all that much.
While it's unwise to discount Harrington outright, he just isn't the same player that won three prior majors. The last of those was the 2008 PGA Championship, and he's won only once on the Asian Tour since.
At least Dufner, Scott and Rose should be neck-and-neck, but this will come down to who makes the most of their birdie opportunities. Dufner was 20th in putts from five to 15 feet, while Scott was 155th and Rose was 85th.
If that year-long trend holds true, it should be enough to get Dufner the trophy in his Grand Slam debut.