strange-looking place heading to this week's US PGA Championship at Whistling
With Tiger Woods in what is
probably his worst form since he was a teenager, Phil Mickelson struggling with painful
arthritis and and Lee Westwood missing out completely with a persistent calf injury, there is
no obvious contender to win the fourth Major title of the year.
Where to look when a tournament
is wide open? Well, following breakthrough victories in the Majors this year by
brilliant young Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell at the US Open and brilliant
young South African Louis Oosthuizen at the Open Championship, the stage seems
perfectly set for a brilliant young American to come through and take victory in Wisconsin.
The brilliant young Anthony Kim is
probably the most likely long-term candidate to step up to Major glory; but as good as he is, Kim
only returned from injury last week, where he understandably slumped to a tie
for 76th at Bridgestone.
That leaves the obvious choice
being last week's winner, Hunter Mahan.
Mahan, as well as being a
likeable and highly-talented golfer, also has a huge advantage at the brutal Whistling
Straits: he is the best player on Tour at combining distance and accuracy, topping the PGA Tour Total Driving stats. At a 7,500+ yard course with knee-length rough, being solid off the tee is likely to be critical.
It's a big ask to win twice in
as many weeks - but McDowell won his last tournament before Pebble Beach, so
Rory McIlroy is another player
who keeps it long and straight, as well as having a host of other tricks up his
sleeve. A promising season could be capped off perfectly with a win this week
to make up for the disappointment of his lost opportunity at St Andrews a few
weeks ago. McIlroy and Mahan are our B-list picks this week, with the resurgent
Ross Fisher and JB Holmes excellent bench picks.
If our B-list picks favour youth, our A-list pick goes to experience: Kenny Perry. Perry is, like
Mahan, a superb driver of the golf ball, even if he is at the other end of his
career. The only question mark comes from his ability to hang in there on a physically
demanding venue (Perry turned 50 on Tuesday).
If you think he won't last the course, then Vijay
Singh is a great bench pick. He might have had his worst season for years, but
Vijay's fitness is not in doubt - and he has the benefit of having won at
Whistling Straits last time the Major was played there, back in 2004. On top of
that, Vijay's poor form does not worry us: he is a player who can suddenly 'click' -
as he did in bouncing back from a missed cut to win back-to-back tournaments and lift the FedEx Cup two years
In the C-list we're genuinely
tempted to pick Louis Oosthuizen. He showed at St Andrews his sublime driving and
ability to putt well on huge greens, two things that will be a huge help this
Yet there is always huge added
media attention on a player turning up at a Major after winning the previous one,
and it could all prove too much of a distraction.
So leaving Oosthuizen to one
side, we've decided to go with another player ripe for a Major breakthrough:
Casey has talent
to burn; the only trouble is that all too often he does actually burn it. We were
also genuinely shocked at how easy he made things for Oosthuizen in the final round
at St Andrews. Sure, keeping relaxed and having fun helps him throttle down his
destructive tendency to over-competitiveness, but he made it seem like a relaxed Sunday
afternoon knockabout for the South African - rather than putting his rival under a
bit of Major pressure.
Yet the Englishman only needs
to find another few percent to take the step; and as a player with a knack of scoring
well even when not playing good golf, he could thrive on a difficult track.
Casey is the C-list pick, with Sweden's Carl Petterson - another one who could
easily wni a Major if he hits a hot streak at the right time - on the bench.
- - - - - -
The current Road to Ireland group leaders are:
Group 1: Royal Calcutta - 4,829 points
Group 2: mightymacs05 - 4,840
Group 3: tantsumar - 4,711
Group 4: padmole Fiso - 4,788
Group 5: Strandhill golf club xi, A Rose Between Two Bjorns (tied) - 4,854
Group 6: watch that tree tiger - 4,768
the player who tops the Road to Ireland standings for each group at the
end of the season will be put in a draw to win our great prize which
- 3 nights bed and breakfast at the Dundrum House Hotel in Tipperary for 2 people
- 2 rounds of golf at Dundrum House Golf Resort for 2 people
- Return flights to Cork from a selection of UK airports
you missed the deadline you can still join, and remember all group
leaders at the end of the year will be eligible for the overall prize.
Just CLICK HERE and enter the Group 6 id: 11786 and password: bunkermentality.
The deadline to select or edit your active round 1 players for this tournament is 12:55 BST on Thursday.
There are more research tools here to help you pick the right squad, while this week's experts selections are in the table below.
|THE EXPERTS||A LIST||B LIST||C LIST|
For full terms and conditions of the competition - CLICK HERE
- Lee Westwood
- Hunter Mahan
- Louis Oosthuizen
- Graeme McDowell
- Vijay Singh
- Paul Casey