Separating contenders from pretenders at the PGA Championship

Separating contenders from pretenders at the PGA Championship

Credit: AFP PHOTO/Getty Images

Matt Kuchar(C) of the US points from the tee box during round one of the 94th PGA Championship August 9, 2012 on Kiawah Island, South Carolina. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT

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by KEVIN TURNER

WFAA Sports Blogger

Posted on August 9, 2012 at 9:44 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 10 at 9:31 AM

The 94th PGA Championship takes place this week from Kiawah Island, South Carolina, on The Ocean Course, designed by Pete Dye. The final major of the year should be compelling, as 16 different golfers have won the last 16 majors. The course is a monster in terms of length, and will benefit players who can bomb it off the tees. As always, putting and ball-striking are the key in majors, and that's no different here at The Ocean Course.

Below will be five golfers that I think will have great success this week, followed by a few who I think will have a poor performance at The Ocean Course.

GONNA HAVE A PRETTY GOOD LITTLE TOURNAMENT

1. Graeme McDowell: He finished tied for 12th at the Masters, tied for 2nd at the US Open, and tied for 5th at the British Open. He won the 2010 US Open, so he definitely has what it takes to close out a major. Pressure doesn't affect him at all, and he could benefit from the elements. Big weather is in the forecast, and McDowell is a player who is not affected greatly by windy and wet conditions. If I had money, I'd lay it down on G-Mac, but my bank account is thin, so I'll stay away from gambling.

2. Dustin Johnson: He bombs it off the tee, and is coming off a Top-10 finish at the British Open. He also has a Top-10 and a Top-5 finish in two of the last three PGA Championships. Even though he's not yet 30 years of age, he's proven that he has the experience and mental game needed to last through the weekend.

3. Jason Dufner: I think he's often overlooked just because of his doughy build, but Jason Dufner has easily been one of the most consistent players on the tour over the last two years. He avoids trouble, and has vastly improved his putting. His record in recent majors is astounding, as he's finished in the Top-5 in three of the last seven majors.

4. Louis Oosthuizen: He's been playing great as of late, and I think he's hungry to win another major after Bubba Watson swiped this year's Masters from him. He can also handle the tough conditions that Kiawah Island should throw at the golfers this week.

5. Matt Kuchar: At some point he has to win a major, right? He's consistent, and some are calling him the clone of Steve Stricker. My only concern with him this week is that he doesn't have the distance off the tees, but if his iron play and putting is solid, then I look for him to be in the hunt on Sunday. It's time... I think.

WHAT ABOUT TIGER?

I think Tiger Woods will have a good week, just not the kind of week the five players above will have. I'm just not sure how much he trusts his game right now. His swing has been changing constantly, but the hunger and ability to catch fire is second to none. I would not be surprised if he wins the thing, or if he falters. I feel like horrendous conditions would benefit him, but when it comes to Tiger, I really don't know what to think anymore. The talent and know-how is still there. That will never go away. The consistency, and general trust in his own game is not there anymore though, and I'm not sure he'll ever get that back.

STRUGGLING

1. Phil Mickelson: His recent form has been bad, and overall I just wonder how motivated he is right now. I think he'll return to form at some point, but I don't see it happening this year at all. That goes for The Ryder Cup, too.

2. Webb Simpson: The US Open champion had a child after his victory in the second major of the year, and he hasn't played on the tour in over a month. Typically, I think he'd be in contention, but I can't help but feel like his game will be rusty this week.

3. Jim Furyk: He's suffered to major collapses this year. Last week at the Bridgestone Invitational, and earlier in the year at the US Open. I don't think we can fully understand the mental toll that takes on a golfer. I just don't see an inspirational performance from Furyk this week.

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