Rory McIlroy (-17) Wins British Open

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PGA Championship 2011 Odds: The 10 Safest Bets to Win at Highlands Course

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PGA Championship 2011 Odds: The 10 Safest Bets to Win at Highlands Course
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

It's hard to identify a truly elite class of players today.

The big names of the late 1990s and 2000s are not as sharp as they used to be. One of them could win (like Darren Clarke did at the British), but identifying one of them as the favorite would be going too far.

Conversely, no player from the young crop has really stepped out. Rory McIlroy would be the possible exception to that, but even he is still a little unproven to identify as a lock or anything close to it.

Still, if we're looking to take 10 golfers and say that one will win, the task becomes a little easier.

That's what we're doing here, as this list is in no particular order.

But before we go there, let's quickly look at a few big name guys who are not likely to hoist the Wanamaker Trophy.

Adam Scott: This one may come back to bite me, as he looked tremendous in his win at Firestone. But no player has won the week before a major and then won the following major since Phil Mickelson won the BellSouth Classic and the Masters in 2006.

Scott's won before, so he wouldn't be likely to be bothered by the normal barrage of distractions that come the week after a win, but this win wasn't quite normal.

For one, this tournament is an elite event, so the distractions are likely to be greater from winning it than they are from any other tournament.

Two, his win has a tie to Tiger Woods, as Woods' long-time caddy Steve Williams is now Scott's caddy. That will add to Scott's distractions.

If Williams and Scott becomes a long-term partnership, look for Scott to win a major. Just don't expect it to be this one.

Tiger Woods: Woods made steps in the right direction at Firestone, but he is still too far off to be identified as a favorite at a major championship.

The remainder of 2011 will be far more important for Woods and the rest of his career than the PGA Championship.

Charl Schwartzel & Darren Clarke: It's hard to win two majors in a season. It's just not done very often, and when it is, it's almost always done by one of the best players in the world. Schwartzel and Clarke are great players, but they aren't proven at that level yet.

Yes, I am aware that three majors have been played. We'll hear more about the other guy later on.

On that note, let's look at the 10 safest bets to win the PGA Championship.

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