Justin Rose

The smart money is on Stricker

Justin Rose

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A major is never in the bag for anyone, and
especially for guys who may not be used to the atmosphere on a Sunday at a
major.

For that reason, I think the smart money would be on
Steve Stricker to win the US PGA Championship.

Stricker will remain composed and probably make a couple of long
putts. He will certainly be there or there abouts.

His advantage will be
playing ahead of the leaders, either taking advantage of the birdie holes, or
getting through unscathed on the tough finishing stretch.

If Stricker shoots
under par, he'll have a great chance.

Luke Donald and Lee Westwood forced themselves into
great positions during the third round, but sadly faded
away towards the end.

I'm sure they'd both love to be a couple shots nearer
the lead but they are still in the tournament.

You have to expect the
unexpected on this Atlanta Athletic Club finishing stretch. Posting a good
number in the clubhouse will weigh heavily on the leaders.

I think Robert Karlsson could be a dark horse today.
The European streak is certainly under threat, but nevertheless, the hope of
the run continuing is still alive.

The 18th hole is really tough because it's designed as a par five and we're
playing it as a par four. The tee shot is really awkward.

Because we're playing a tee that is 30-50 yards
forward of its intended design, the angles of the tee shot don't fit true to
the eye.

The water comes into play at 270 on the left and if
you hit it down the middle the fairway dog leg is left and the run out is 290.
The right fairway bunkers have been very popular!

Even if you get the drive away, you're faced with a
200 yard shot over water to a green which slopes away from the area in which
you would naturally "bail out". So your only option is to make two
good swings.

The finishing holes are incredibly demanding as they offer no margin for error
with water coming into play on three of the last four. That is why we swing so
many doubles.

Anyone needing four pars to win will earn the
Wannamaker trophy!

I think Oakland Hills may have been a tougher finish
as it was very hard to make birdies there.

At Atlanta Athletic Club, I feel that on the final
four holes we see more birdies but more high scores, so that should make for a
very dramatic finish.

I don't know much about these guys at the top of the leaderboard other than that
they are very good players.

The PGA Tour provides venues and atmospheres that will
somewhat prepare these guys for the challenges of the day.

I think Keegan Bradley will take a lot of heart from
the fact he started with a double and still shot under par in the third round.

It will be fascinating viewing to see if the big names can make a charge or if
the lesser known players to the golfing public can hold on.

Your guess is as good as mine!

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