Last Major of the season – last chance for Rory Mc to prove he’s still a player. But there’s no shortage of contenders who have their own equally compelling reasons to be crowned top dog at Quail Hollow.
Paddy’s doing his bit by paying eight places and here are the best-backed at 1pm on Wednesday with the two Johnsons – Dustin and Zach – chasing hard.
Who knew? Looks like life has begun at 40 for the Californian who is in the form of his life. Has been keeping his sponsors happy almost every Sunday since the US Open with five top 20 finishes that included an eight at Erin Hills and T20 at Royal Birkdale as well as three top five finishes in his last five tournaments.
The good news highway ends there though as The Hoff has posted seven MC’s from eight attempts at Glory’s Last Shot. Needs his ‘A game’ from the last eight weeks rather than the last eight visits if he’s to get the job done in North Carolina.
Didn’t set the world on fire when 86th to Jimmy Walker last year in his first crack at the season’s last Major, but the Belgian bomber could easily rise to this test as he gets to grips with life on Tour Stateside. His Ryder Cup performance and a career-high T4 at the US Masters in April proves he has the stones to compete in the white-heat of a big competition.
Pieters was among the challengers but eventually had to settle for fourth to a Hideki Matsuyama power play at the Bridgestone Invitational last weekend. It wouldn’t be a shock to see him on the premises again come Sunday.
What do you do with the English pro? He’s yet to win a Major but has been posting some serious consistent scores since finishing sixth at Augusta last April. A 26th place finish at the US Open is his highest finishing position Stateside since then and has ended T5 in both his last two starts Stateside.
Was joint leader at the US Open until the wheels came off the bus on day three but it’s hard to escape the feeling that Casey may join compatriot Lee Westwood in the ‘best player never to win a Major’ department.
Has never been a regular at the Wells Fargo tournament that is played at Quail Hollow and that’s a worry.
The World No 10 is a leading fancy this week and popped his cherry on the PGA Tour when winning the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship over course and distance after a three-way, sudden death shoot-out with Rory McIlroy and D A Points.
Hasn’t been overly prolific since then, but did get his head in front at the Honda Classic earlier this season before leading the US Open after day one at Erin Hills. He held on to finish T5 to Brooks Koepka to record his sixth top 5 finish in a Major.
Tees it up on Thursday with last weekend’s Top 10 berth at Bridgestone in the bag and with him topping the strokes-gained-putting stats – the stars are aligning for Fowler to step up and seal the deal in a Major.
The 25-year-old is a three-time winner on the PGA Tour this season alone and now ranks as the third best player in the world behind Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson, proof that Japan’s favourite son’s world ranking is no series of coincidences.
It should worry the others that HM didn’t touch a club for a week after a ‘disappointing’ T14 at the Open Championship before a birdie blitz on the final three holes at WGC Bridgestone led to a final-day 61 and victory.
With a T5 (US Masters) & T2 (US Open) already ticked off in his mid-year review, Matsuyama T11 at this course in the Wells Fargo Championship last year indicates he could go very close this weekend. Was T4 finish to Jimmy Walker in this tournie last year.
A breakthrough Major win for the Floridian boomer at the US Open in June, but the 27-year-old was always thought of a future USPGA Championship winner.
The one drawback in him doing it this year is that he’s making his Quail Hollow debut and there are a couple of serious horses for courses in opposition.
However, he has finished T5 and T4 in the last two installments of glory’s last shot and hasn’t finished outside the Top 25 in a Major since 2015.
If ever Mc Attack was destined for a third USPGA Championship win – he couldn’t have picked a better place than Quail Hollow.
He’s won here twice, been beaten in a play-off once and holds the track record in seven visits to Charlotte.
McIlroy’s tournament profile isn’t too shabby either with two wins and three top eight finishes in five PGA Championships means new caddie Harry Diamond could have the cigar out by the back nine on Sunday.
A couple of tweaks to the lay-out since last year shouldn’t bother him too much. If he can start to match Jordan Spieth with the the flat stick – he should be bang there on Sunday.
A career Grand Slam within touching distance and an ability to sink putts on the dance-floor to make angels weep, what’s not to love about the chances of the World’s No. 2 ?
Spieth’s been there, done that and it’s surely only a matter of time before he adds the final Major of this season (before it’s shunted to its May date next year) to his already bulging trophy cabinet.
The one negative – and it’s a big one – is that Spieth has spent less time contending at Quail Hollow than Daniel Sturridge has leading the line at Liverpool FC.
A super-human effort at Royal Birkdale made him Open Champion when it could have gone so horribly wrong. The Texan may need it again as finishing T32 on his only appearance at Quail Hollow in 2013 may not be enough to call on, if the chips are down this weekend.