Wednesday, 10 August 2011

PGA Championship experts' picks

Horses for course: David Toms and Phil Mickelson
At the 2001 PGA at the Atlanta Athletic Club, Toms hit Mickelson by one stroke. With his 15-under-par 265, Tom holds the record for lowest stroke total in a major with Mickelson's 266 hold the second spot. The Highlands Course is a different place than it was 10 years ago - about 270 meters longer with significant changes in almost all the holes - but these guys still have the game and the good memories of the Rees Jones redesign to conquer.

Birdie Buster: Rickie Fowler
He has everything but a victory on the PGA Tour. He played in a Ryder Cup and he owns his own Sunday color - orange. Coming from a band for the second last week at Firestone and fifth at the Open Championship is filled Fowler to get his first victory this week.

Super Sleeper: Bo Van Pelt
On Sunday at this year's Masters, the 36-year-old former Oklahoma State star went almost unnoticed by everyone, including CBS cameras, as he eagled Nos. 13 and 15 to reach within a shot of the lead before stumbling with two more Bogeys last three holes to finish in a tie for eighth.

Winner: Adam Scott
At first he was Tiger's coach. Now he has his caddy and top billing at a major. But many burger joints have tried to copy McDonald's special sauce and failed. Yet no one better come to play in the championship than the 31-year-old Australian. It's his to lose.
Horse for the Course: David Toms
Atlanta Athletic Club does not have a home course advantage, but it is where Tom puts the 72-hole scoring record for the championship in 2001.

Birdie Buster: Adam Scott
The Aussie won by four WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on and had a nearly flawless final round 65 on Sunday that saw him make no Bogeys. He tries his first major victory with a big impetus.

Super Sleeper: Tiger Woods
Does anyone really expect the four-time PGA champion to win this week? It is a popular long after the dismissal, even though he has a respectable with last week at the Bridgestone Invitational had. He was last in driving accuracy last week, and it will not work here.

Winner: Lee Westwood
The Englishman has a quiet confidence in him this week, and he has made his share of major championships in recent years. And it needs a little motivation to see friends, like Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke won the last two.
Horse for the Course: David Toms
This is the hardest category because the PGA changes locations each year and the last time the event was held here in the suburbs of Atlanta was 2001. That said, Toms played the last hole in 2001 to perfection when he's the right call to lay up short of the water at No. 18 for a career-defining victory.

Birdie Buster: Rory McIlroy
It will get hot in Atlanta this week, with firm and fast conditions, the only way to find Rory McIlroy. The Hollywood native took some heat after saying that he does not like to play in the conditions at the British Open. Fortunately for him, there would be no horizontal rain and highs in the 50s this week.

Super Sleeper: Davis Love III
First, throw everything out of the club professionals in the year of the fourth major. Each would be a great story, but it does not happen. So what about the son of a club pro? In the last two majors, DL3 finished T-11 at the U.S. Open and T-9 at the British Open. Strange things can happen to the current 47-year-old Ryder Cup captain.

Winner: Jason Day
The 23-year-old Aussie owns the second best cumulative year ends on the first three majors, behind only Masters winner Charl Schwartzel. And he has the short game to the big stuff around the Atlanta Athletic Club greens.
Horse for the Course: Phil Mickelson
Finished second here in 2001 with four sub-par rounds. Lefty is always capable of winning one of the biggies.

Birdie Buster: Adam Scott
There was a post-WGC/Stevie-outburst letdown, but I do not think so. Comes in PGA Championship with great confidence that broomstick-sized putter.

Super Sleeper: Zach Johnson
Driving accuracy is a big deal in Atlanta Athletic Club. Johnson keeps it in the fairways and knows how to win a major.

Winner: Lee Westwood
One of these days he will prove me right. Always liked his game. This week I love his relaxed attitude.


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