As the 98th USPGA Championship gets underway at Baltusrol, New Jersey here are our picks for the week:-
Phil Mickelson:- After coming so close at the recent Open Championship, and with his win the last time the USPGA was played at Baltusrol, lefty has to be considered as one of the favourites. He seems to have found something in his swing since working with coach Andrew Getson and will be looking to carry that confidence into his play this week. Expect him to mount a serious charge.
Dustin Johnson:- The US Open champion will still be brimming with confidence heading into the final major of the season. Baltusrol has already been hit with storms early this week with forecasts predicting more wet weather over the weekend, so with Johnson’s ability to hit the ball long and high, conditions could well play into his hands.
Rory McIlroy:- McIlroy will be determined to add some much needed consistency to his game, which, if he does, could well put him in with a great opportunity to pick up his 5th major title this week. Historically the USPGA is all about low scores and making birdies, at least more so than the other 3 majors, if that’s the case Rory could well be in with a great chance as he leads the average birdies per round on the PGA Tour this season.
Zach Johnson:- Johnson has played solid golf this season without managing to notch up a win. At well over 7,000 yards (and a Par 70!) Baltusrol may be a little too long for his game, but widely recognised as one of the best putters on tour, Johnson may overcome any issues with course length this week.
Sergio Garcia:- Could this be Garcia’s time? It’s a question seemingly anyone interested in golf has asked in the run up to a major. He put in another solid performance at the Open Championship without really challenging, but has racked up a number of top 5 finishes this season. He’s knocked on the door so many times, maybe this week it will finally open for him.
Hideki Matsuyama:- The highest ranked Japanese player has been quiet of late but as they say, form is temporary, class is permanent. Another of the birdie leaders on the PGA Tour, Matsuyama could well turn his season around with a strong performance at the USPGA.
Brooks Keopka:- Probably more of a sleeper than an outsider, Keopka currently sits on the bubble for what would be a rookie appearance at the Ryder Cup this October. He’s been suffering from some ankle ligament issues but we think he can still cement his place in the team this week with a strong performance, building on the back of a top 5 finish at the same event last year.
Marc Leishman:- Leishman has struggled in the majors this year, but in each of the last 3 years he has finished in the top 5 of a major – so by our calculations that means this is his week for a top 5! With a solid all-round game the Australian could post a good finish this week…
Daniel Berger:- Though Berger has been out of action for the last few weeks with a shoulder injury we couldn’t resist tipping him for possible success this week, beware the injured golfer after all. Another long ball hitter, the soft, receptive fairways and greens should suit his game well. He managed a top 10 finish at the Masters earlier this year, and that could well be the first of many for the young American talent.