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Monday, August 5, 2013

PGA Championship - Power Rankings

With the fourth major upon us, it's time to put pen to paper for the PGA Championship Power Rankings. As was alluded to in the preview yesterday, current form, major success and wins on the resume all play well in recent PGAs.

It's with that in mind that we submit the Dandy Dozen for Oak Hill Country Club, as well as the next five.

  1. Tiger Woods - You can't ignore what he did at Firestone CC (South) last week, but I want to point out one thing. He only played his final 36 holes in 1-under-par. He didn't even need to play that well, but he's struggled on the weekends in majors the last few years and he didn't answer that question last week. 
  2. Henrik Stenson- You may remember that I went back and forth with my one-and-done selection last week between Stenson and Angel Cabrera, and picked wrong. It's fitting that Stenson is second in my rankings since he's finished second three times this year including at The Open Championship and the WGC-Bridgestone in his last two starts. Position off the tee is supposed to be a big factor, and the Swede is controlling his golf ball as well as anyone.
  3. Zach Johnson - ZJ just kept working his way up my board every time I erased it and started over. His form is phenomenal, with a P2, T6, T4 in his last three starts. He's also deadly accurate off the tee and could benefit from only two par 5s on the docket.
  4. Brandt Snedeker - Frankly, I really don't care that he tied for 33rd at Firestone last week. He's never played all that well, so the story would have been if he would have played well, not that he didn't. Sneds gets hot in streaks and a T11 at The Open followed by a win at the RBC Canadian is good enough for me. I'm a little concerned about his ability to find fairways (and the proper spots in those fairways at that), but if he gets hot on the greens it may not matter.
  5. Keegan Bradley - We know two things about Keegan Bradley when it comes to the PGA Championship. First, he has a win and a T3 in his two starts in Glory's Last Shot. Second, he ushered those in with a T15 and a win at the WGC-Bridgestone. While the PGA course rotates, his T2 at Firestone last week warrants him being at least this high.
  6. Matt Kuchar - He's got two wins this season and tied for second at the RBC Canadian Open two weeks ago. He owns top 15s at the Masters and The Open. It would cap off an already unbelievable season if he were to win this week. Driving accuracy may be his key stat to watch.
  7. Bill Haas - If you dig deep, you'll see that Haas has played some of the oldest and most storied venues on the PGA TOUR really well the last two years. He has wins at Riviera CC and Congressional in that span. Oak Hill fits that mold and his form has been solid all season. I wish his major record was a little better (T20 at the Masters and two missed cuts at the Opens), but he's coming off a solid week at Firestone.
  8. Adam Scott - I kind of feel like my 6-12 are almost completely interchangeable. There's little doubt that Scottie has the game to contend anywhere tee-to-green, so it may come down to his putter. Not much else to say really. 
  9. Phil Mickelson - While I might be in the minority, I'm not sure he's come down off the high of winning the Claret Jug quite yet. I wouldn't be surprised if he won this week, and I wouldn't be surprised if the next time he contends is during the West Coast Swing in 2014. 
  10. Justin Rose - If total driving matters, and it really may, he could be the guy to beat. A missed cut at The Open Championship and a T17 at Firestone tell me he hasn't quite shook the Merion hangover. That's the biggest reason he's this far down the list.
  11. Hunter Mahan - I don't mean to be a downer, but if there was no baby and he went on to win (or even top five) the RBC Canadian Open, I'd bet he's at least top five if not top three this week. We don't know if he's played a round of golf since we saw him under the umbrella on the range in Canada. His first round will tell a big story. If he opens in the top 20, then he may be very dangerous. If it takes some time for him to get on his feet, then his week could be over early.
  12. Lee Westwood - His majors this year have gone T8-T15-T3. That's all I need to see.
Next 5: (alphabetical) Luke Donald, Jason Dufner, Dustin Johnson, Hideki Matsuyama and Steve Stricker

Feeling Risky?

  • Harris English - He's recorded top 15s in his last three starts including a T15 at The Open Championship. We've seen our share of young winners in this event the last few years and it would only be a mild surprise if he joined that list. 
  • Tim Clark - He finished third here in 2003 (same venue as this year), and you have to think his accurate driver could be the reason. Wouldn't it be ironic if the guy who fought the anchored putting ban as hard as he did won the major put on by the organization that was also against the ban?
We'll be back tomorrow with a look at the various gaming formats.

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