There are a lot of perks that come with winning a PGA Tour event in 2014. In addition to earning bragging rights over your peers, the amount of money that can be used to celebrate continues to grow.
That financial portfolio looks even better when you win a Grand Slam event. The PGA Championship is the last major of the season, coming on the heels of the British Open three weeks ago, so you can expect a competitive field vying for the Wanamaker Trophy.
The total payout for this year's PGA Championship, which is being held at Valhalla Golf Club, will be $10 million, according to PGATour.com, an increase of $2 million compared to 2013.
Official numbers for the event aren't released until it's over, but we can make a rough estimate based on the winner's purse and last year's distribution by increasing the numbers by 25 percent to reflect in the total payout increase from 2013.
Looking at the odds, courtesy of OddsShark.com, Rory McIlroy is the overwhelming favorite to win the 2014 PGA Championship. He's currently being given 9-2 odds, with Adam Scott second at 11-1. It's not an accident, either.
McIlroy enters the event with all the momentum in the world with two consecutive wins, including the British Open three weeks ago, and has shot just one round over 69 in those two tournaments.
In addition to his current run of success, ESPN's John Buccigross noted on Twitter a great stat about McIlroy's career at the PGA Championship compared to other majors:
Rory McIlroy Career by Major (to par) PGA -18 Masters +8 Open Champ. +15 U.S. Open +26— John Buccigross (@Buccigross) August 6, 2014
McIlroy has won this event before, in 2012, and finished in the top 10 three other times (2009, 2010, 2013). He can also end the Grand Slam portion of his season with three top 10s after finishing eighth at Augusta and winning the British Open.
No one is playing golf better than McIlroy right now, so it would be an upset if the 25-year-old wasn't standing victorious on Sunday.
There aren't a lot of rivalries in golf anymore, but the friendly battle between McIlroy and Adam Scott should be the storyline at Valhalla. McIlroy passed Scott as the world's top-ranked player with his win at the Bridgestone Invitational.
The similarities go deeper than just being the top two players in the world. This will be the 13th PGA event of the year for both men, they have finished in the top 10 eight times and they have the same scoring average (69.8).
ESPN.com's Michael Collins put Scott at No. 1 on his list of 25 contenders for the Wanamaker Trophy:
Let the player of the year debate begin! Say what you want about his extremely limited schedule, but it completely works. Or he could just say, "Gimme my world No. 1 ranking back, kid!" It's almost not fair that a guy this good doesn't play more tournaments as this week is only event No. 13. To think his worst finish in a major this year was a T-14 at the Masters, but that's why he's the best right now.
Given how he's played in the Grand Slams, McIlroy has the inside track on all player of the year races. Scott, however, isn't as far behind as it seems.
All of the numbers set up well for an epic Sunday showdown between these two superstars.
Which top contender will have the worst finish at the PGA Championship?
If it weren't for McIlroy playing out of his mind, we would be talking more about the 34-year-old.
Garcia has been the runner-up to McIlroy in the last two events and has finished second in three straight PGA tournaments overall, dating back to the Travelers Championship in June. He's also got similar numbers to the top-ranked player with eight top-10 finishes in 12 events and a better scoring average (69.3).
Jason Sobel of GolfChannel.com wrote about Garcia's improved results and cited a more positive outlook as the biggest factor:
The 'little fall down' that (Garcia) referenced was a two-month sabbatical in 2010, a period during which he reassessed his priorities and later admitted thinking about giving up the game altogether.
Instead, he gradually returned hungrier and, yes, happier.
It’s important to note that while most players’ happiness is based on success inside the ropes, Garcia has always viewed his career through an opposite prism.
Outsiders can take the importance of psychology out of the equation when watching an event, but it does make a huge difference. Chuck Knoblauch was a four-time All-Star second baseman but couldn't throw the ball to first base and actually walked out of the stadium during a game for the New York Yankees in 2000.
Garcia has found whatever he needed to be a happy and confident golfer. The results are showing on the course, but he's just one more push away from capturing the first Grand Slam win of his career.
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