Projections for Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott and Top Stars at 2014 PGA Championship

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistAugust 6, 2014

Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, speaks to the media during a news conference before a practice round for the PGA Championship golf tournament at Valhalla Golf Club on Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014, in Louisville, Ky. The tournament is set to begin on Thursday. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

There are major questions to be answered at Valhalla Golf Club this weekend. 

Will a new dynasty in the golf world begin? Will any big names end major droughts? Will a new No. 1 emerge? Will a few hot players dominate the tournament, or will a player emerge from the depths of a slump to reign supreme?

And seriously, can anyone slow down Rory McIlroy?

We'll start there, as McIlroy is absolutely red hot at the moment. He's won his last two tournaments, including the Open Championship, and he has an impressive eight top-10 finishes this season. Oh, and he finished eighth at this tournament last year, won it in 2012 and finished third in 2009 and 2010.

Suffice to say, McIlroy is the deserved favorite in this tournament, and if you are a betting man or woman, he's really the player you should put your money on. 

I predict he'll win the whole thing.

Even the guy McIlroy recently surpassed to become the No. 1 player in the world, Adam Scott, recognizes the hot streak that is currently lighting the rest of the golf world on fire.

“It's not extremely disappointing, the right guy is at No. 1 at the moment,” he told Rex Hoggard of “He's played the best over the last couple months. The No. 1 guy who is winning the most tournaments probably should be the No. 1 player.”

Hard to argue with that.

LOUISVILLE, KY - AUGUST 05:  Adam Scott of Australia speaks with the media during a practice round prior to the start of the 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on August 5, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
David Cannon/Getty Images

But Scott is another player who could easily win it all. He's finished in the top 10 in his past five tournaments and has finished seventh, 11th and fifth in his last three PGA Championships. He's going to notch a top-five finish. 

So too will Justin Rose. He has seven top-10 finishes this season and just finished fourth at the Bridgestone Invitational. Even he seems to know he's on top of his game right now.

“Obviously, I’m feeling good about peaking at this time of year,” he told Will Gray of last week. “My momentum started about a month ago, seem to be carrying it on nicely.”

Indeed he is. 

Keegan Bradley and Martin Kaymer have both won this tournament before, and Bradley has six top-10 finishes this season, while Kaymer has just three but won two of those tournaments. Each will finish in the top 10.

And then there's Rickie Fowler. As Kyle Porter of CBS Sports notes, Fowler is the "only golfer to finish in the top five in each of the first three majors and he hasn't exactly dropped off in the non-majors, either."

At some point, he's bound to break through at a major, right? It won't be this one, but Fowler will finish in the top 10.

LOUISVILLE, KY - AUGUST 05: Rickie Fowler of the United States looks on during a practice round prior to the start of the 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on August 5, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Patrick Reed is going to surge into the top 10 as well, if only because his game seems suited for this type of course. With potentially a Ryder Cup spot hanging in the balance, expect the 24-year-old to step up to the occasion.

A few big names are going to struggle, however. Matt Kuchar has missed the cut at this tournament twice in the past five years. Bubba Watson owns the Masters, yes, but the other majors haven't always been so kind to him (though he did finish second at the PGA Championship in 2010).

Phil Mickelson has been a shell of himself this year. Sergio Garcia is a tease. Jordan Spieth comes into this tournament on the back of two disappointing showings. The majors continue to confound Henrik Stenson.

The truth is, coming into this tournament, the odds feel very much like McIlroy versus the field, to the point that everyone and their mother is wondering if the Rory era has officially begun. If he wins at Valhalla, the answer will be a resounding "yes."

Heck, even if he doesn't win, the question feels like it should be answered in the affirmative. Until Tiger Woods proves he can keep that back healthy and wins another major, well, it's McIlroy's world, and we're all just trying to improve our handicap in it. 

The PGA Championship doesn't look like it will be the exception.


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