PGA Championship 2011: 5 Favorites and 5 Longshots to Win Wanamaker
Is this the weekend where an American golfer finally breaks the string of losses in a major golf championship?
As a writer and fan, I sure hope so.
An American golfer has not won a major championship since Phil Mickelson got his third Masters win in 2010 over Lee Westwood.
Since then, there has been a run by foreign-born players who have dominated men's golf.
But at the PGA at Highlands, the string has a good chance to be broken.
Of the top 21 players who finished at the Open Championship, 12 were Americans. Mickelson and Dustin Johnson tied for second overall behind winner Darren Clarke. Players like Zach Johnson, Rickie Fowler and David Toms all finished in the top 10. This could also be a chance at redemption for Mickelson, who is out to prove he can still win another major.
And then, there is Tiger Woods.
Can he put together four solid rounds and remain in contention this week?
There is only one way to find out? And it all starts today.
David Toms- Contender
He is such a good story this year, battling back from injury and adversity.
He was on pace to win The Players Championship but lost in a playoff to KJ Choi.
Toms played well last week and looks to take that momentum and challenge the younger crowd and the course this week.
Keegan Bradley- Pretender
There were many who watched Bradley stay near the top of the leaderboard for most of the weekend at Bridgestone.
This week may not be as kind to him. He has a solid game, but this is a major championship and the question becomes whether he can put together four rounds of solid golf under these conditions.
Anthony Kim- Pretender
We keep waiting for him to become the golfer he can be.
A few years ago he had such promise, and we thought he would be ready to challenge Tiger and the rest of the field as one of the new stars of the tour.
This year in major championships, he has finished 54th at the U.S. Open and 5th at the Open Championship.
We are still waiting for him to break out.
Phil Mickelson- Contender
Could the last American male to capture a major champion be the one to break the string that is plaguing American golf?
Mickelson is looking for redemption from his failed attempt at Royal St. George's. Mickelson has the game and the determination to prove he can still compete in majors.
And even win them.
Steve Stricker- Contender
No majors on his resume but a solid season for the 44-year old.
He is currently ranked fourth in world and is leading the American charge.
Can he win this tournament? Yes he can.
Spencer Levin- Pretender
We have the same last name, but that is as close we are to being the same.
Levin plays well on a fairly consistent basis, but this may not be the stage for him to finally break through.
He did not play in last year's PGA Championship. He tied for 44th in the Open Championship.
Consistent, yes. A winner this week, no.
Dustin Johnson- Contender
Now it's time to prove he can put to straight solid majors together.
Johnson tied Mickelson for second at the Open Championship. And with a decent short game, he should challenge again this weekend.
But instead of challenging, Johnson really has a chance to win this weekend.
Tiger Woods- Pretender
I'll bet you were hoping I would save him for last.
It would be awesome to see him near the top of the leaderboard at the end of play, but I do not see it happening.
Tiger is still trying to find some of his game and his mojo.
He said on television this morning he still needed more reps and practice and consistency.
He won't get that here.
Davis Love III- Contender
Don't count him out.
The man from Georgia is no stranger to major competition.
With the focus being on the 40-and-older crowd in contention and leading the charge, why not add his name to the list?
He is as good as anyone to capture the title.
Nick Watney- Pretender
He has been solid for most of the year, and won the WGC Cadillac Championship this year.
He missed the cut in the last two major tournaments, a streak he wants to end.
Watney tied for 18th at the PGA last year, but I don't think this will be his year to break through with a win.