Leading Chances At Last Major Of The Year

Image courtesy of europeantour.com
Rory McIlroy is back on top of the golf world and chasing three straight tournament wins. Image courtesy of europeantour.com.

For many years, the US PGA Championship was known as "Glory's Last Shot". While they've moved on from that slogan, it remains the final Major of the year. These days, the PGA of America prefers to market the last Major of the season as having the strongest field (all of the top 108 in the field have either been invited or qualified) for the richest purse ($10m, with $1.8m going to the winner).

In 2014, the 96th PGA will be contested at the Valhalla Golf Club in Jefferson County, Louisville. Opened in 1986, the Jack Nicklaus designed course has hosted the PGA twice previously (2000 & 1996). Ahead of this event, Nicklaus and Valhalla officials decided to rebuild all the greens and make a few other upgrades to the course.



Image courtesy of: Valhalla Golf Club


2014 US PGA Contenders



 



Rory McIlroy 

Rory McIlroy is the hottest player at the moment, having regained the World Number One ranking, as well winning back-to-back titles (British Open & Bridgestone Invitational). Just three weeks after taking out the Championship, the Northern Irishman is looking to claim his fourth Major. Previous to his British Open success, the 25-year-old finished T23 at the US Open and T8 at the Masters. Three consecutive tournament victories would be some kind of feat, and this bloke will give it a red hot crack!

Image courtesy of: golf.com



Adam Scott - British Open 



Adam Scott 

Australia’s Adam Scott will be seething after being displaced as World Number 1 by Rory McIlroy. The 33-year-old has been very consistent in the Majors this year -finishing T5 at the British Open, T9 at the US Open and T14 at the Masters. Last start, Scotty finished 8 shots behind McIlroy at the Bridgestone Invitational, a result which meant his 11-week reign as golf's 'top dog' was over. He needs to hit back and hit back hard! 

Image courtesy of: telegraph.co.uk



 



Sergio Garcia 

Sergio Garcia hasn't won a tournament this year and was horrible at the first two Majors, missing the cut at the Masters, before finishing T35 at the US Open. But since then, the Spaniard has finished runner-up at his next three tournaments, including second to McIlroy at the British Open and again last week at the Bridgestone Invitational. On both occasions, the 34-year-old was two strokes behind McIlroy. Prior to that, the popular Spaniard was runner up in the Travellers Championship. If nothing else, Sergio is due!  

Image courtesy of: espn.go.com



Tiger Woods - British Open 



Tiger Woods 

Looking to reel in Jack Nicklaus (18) as winner of the most Majors, Tiger is four behind 'the Bear'. It's been like that now for six years, with the 38-year-old's last Major the 2008 U.S. Open. Just back from back surgery, he pulled out of last week's Bridgestone Invitational after just eight holes. He jarred his back and was plagued by spasms. Golf's one-time pin-up boy won this tournament at this course in 2000, but that seems like a lifetime ago, and he's had very little match practice of late!

Image courtesy of: vikkziegler.com



 



Phil Mickelson 

In his 23rd season on the PGA Tour, Phil Mickelson has won 51 titles, including five Majors. He was successful at the US PGA in 2005. Just like Tiger, many believe the 'hefty lefty' is past his best. And the stats probably agree. The 44-year-old hasn't finished in the top ten at his previous 17 outings dating back to October last year. In the 2014 Majors, Mickelson missed the cut at the Masters, was T28 at the US Open and T23 at the British Open. At the Bridgestone Invitational, he was ten shots behind McIlroy. Too good to discount totally.  

Image courtesy of: theclassical.org



Image courtesy of: golfers-images.blogspot.com 



Marc Leishman 

In his tenth year as a professional, Aussie Marc Leishman is showing some welcome form on the tour. Last week, the Victorian finished third behind Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia at the Bridgestone Invitational. That came after his credible effort at the British Open a fortnight earlier, where he was equal fifth. Leishman was the PGA's 'Rookie of the Year' in 2009, and three years later, broke his duck on the circuit with victory in the Travellers Championship. This guy has mixed it with the best before and is certainly capable of doing it here.    

Image courtesy of: golfers-images.blogspot.com




 



Lee Westwood 

Statistics tell us that 2014 hasn't been a great year for Lee Westwood. In 15 tournaments, the Englishman has missed the cut an unbelievable five times, and recorded just two top ten finishes. After a solid seventh at the Masters, Westwood didn't play the weekend rounds at the other two Majors. The 41-year-old is better than that, and there was a glimmer of form at the Bridgestone Invitational. Though he finished T19, Westwood carded a flawless 63 in the final round. He's been placed at all of the Majors since 2008, but never won! Could this be it?  

Image courtesy of: premieriberian.com



 



Justin Rose 

Coming off a wins in the QuickLoans National and the Scottish Open, Justin Rose had the right form ahead of the British Open. However, the 33-year-old South African-born Englishman ended up T23, while earlier, he finished T12 at the US Open and T14 at the Masters. Twelve months ago, Rose won his maiden Major, the US Open, by two strokes from Phil Mickelson and Jason Day. He was fourth last weekend in Akron, Ohio (Bridgestone) after a blistering start, and if he can push on over the weekend rather than fade, a second Major is possible.

Image courtesy of: theguardian.com








Written by

Chris Bombolas, Tatts Senior Writer

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