- Associated Press - Friday, August 7, 2015

Capsules of 10 top contenders for the PGA Championship, to be played Aug. 13-16 at Whistling Straits in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Players listed in predicted order of finish:


Age: 31.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 7.

Worldwide wins: 9.

2015 wins: WGC-Cadillac Championship.

Majors: None.

2015 majors: Masters-T6, US Open-T2, British Open-T49.

Backspin: He’s had at least a share of the lead in four rounds at the majors this year, just not the one that matters. The U.S. loss was painful. The British Open was surprising after he went from the 36-hole lead to a 75-75 weekend. This is his last major for redemption, and a perfect spot for it - Whistling Straits, where his two-shot penalty for grounding his club in a bunker on the final hole in 2010 cost him a spot in a playoff.



Age: 22.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 2.

Worldwide wins: 7.

2015 wins: Valspar Championship, Masters, U.S. Open, John Deere Classic.

Majors: Masters (2015), US Open (2015).

2015 majors: Masters-1, US Open-1, British Open-T4.

Backspin: Now that the Grand Slam bid is over - Spieth missed the British Open playoff by one shot - he goes after the American slam. No one has ever swept all three U.S. majors in the same year. Spieth has finished within two shots of the lead in five of his last six tournaments. As long as he keeps making putts, he should be a factor.



Age: 36.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 3.

Worldwide wins: 8.

2015 wins: Travelers Championship.

Majors: Masters (2012, 2014).

2015 majors: Masters-T38, US Open-Cut, British Open-Cut.

Backspin: Tiger Woods has a better record in the majors this year than Watson. He at least has a victory in the last month, meaning his form might not be too far away. And he has good memories of Whistling Straits, where he lost in a playoff on the final hole in 2010 to Martin Kaymer.



Age: 35.

Country: Australia.

World ranking: 11.

Worldwide wins: 25.

2015 wins: None.

Majors: Masters (2013).

2015 majors: Masters-T38, US Open-T4, British Open-T10.

Backspin: His performance has picked up in the last two majors after going back to caddie Steve Williams. He missed an 18-inch putt at St. Andrews that ended his bid at the British Open. This will be the final major he plays using a long putter anchored to his chest.



Age: 27.

Country: Australia.

World ranking: 4.

Worldwide wins: 5.

2015 wins: Farmers Insurance Open, Canadian Open.

Majors: None.

2015 majors: Masters-T28, US Open-T9, British Open-T4.

Backspin: His win at the Canadian Open gave him multiple wins for the first time in his career. Vertigo symptoms hurt him at the U.S. Open. He left a birdie putt short on the 18th hole at St. Andrews that would have put him in a playoff. The irritation over that putt might be evidence that the Aussie is ready to break through in a major.



Age: 26.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 5.

Worldwide wins: 4.

2015 wins: The Players Championship, Scottish Open.

Majors: None.

2015 majors: Masters-T12, US Open-Cut, British Open-T30.

Backspin: A year after he finished in the top five at all the majors, Fowler hasn’t been a factor in any of them. And yet he doubled his career win total with victories in The Players Championship and the Scottish Open, both with big finishes. He finished toward the bottom of the pack at Whistling Straits in 2010 as a rookie.



Age: 39.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 262.

Worldwide wins: 90.

2015 wins: None.

Majors: Masters (1997, 2001, 2002), US Open (2000, 2002, 2008), British Open (2000, 2005, 2006), PGA Championship (1999, 2000, 2006, 2007).

2015 majors: Masters-T17, US Open-Cut, British Open-Cut.

Backspin: Just as he did at the Greenbrier going into the British Open, Tiger Woods showed signs of returning to form in his event before the PGA Championship. He missed the cut at St. Andrews, a course where he won two times. He didn’t fare well at Whistling Straits the last two times he played, tying for 24th in 2004 and 28th in 2010. Barring a great showing, this likely will be his final event of the PGA Tour season.



Age: 39.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 12.

Worldwide wins: 13.

2015 wins: British Open.

Majors: Masters (2007), British Open (2015).

2015 majors: Masters-T9, US Open-T72, British Open-1.

Backspin: Winning the final two majors of the year has been done six times dating to the start of the Masters in 1934, and four times in the last 15 years - Rory McIlroy last year, Padraig Harrington in 2008, and Tiger Woods in 2006 and 2000. Zach Johnson faces a tall order to make that list. Length isn’t a huge disadvantage on links golf, but it might be at Whistling Straits. Then again, wedges and putting go a long way on any golf course.



Age: 45.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 20.

Worldwide wins: 45.

2015 wins: None.

Majors: Masters (2004, 2006, 2010), British Open (2013), PGA Championship (2005).

2015 majors: Masters-T2, US Open-T64, British Open-T20.

Backspin: After his runner-up finish in the Masters, Mickelson was an also-ran at the other two majors. He has shown evidence of good play at a few regular PGA Tour events, though he hasn’t come close to putting together a solid week. He tied for sixth and tied for 12th in his previous two trips to Whistling Straits.



Age: 26.

Country: Northern Ireland.

World ranking: 1.

Worldwide wins: 17.

2015 wins: Dubai Desert Classic, WGC-Match Play, Wells Fargo Championship.

Majors: US Open (2011), British Open (2014), PGA Championship (2012, 2014).

2015 majors: Masters-4, US Open-T9, British Open-DNP.

Backspin: The first question is whether his ankle has recovered enough for him to play. The next question is how McIlroy will fare without having competed in two months. McIlroy at least has good memories from Whistling Straits. He missed the playoff by one shot in 2010.



Age: 35.

Country: Spain.

World ranking: 10.

Worldwide wins: 22.

2015 wins: None.

Majors: None.

2015 majors: Masters-T17, US Open-T18, British Open-T6.

Backspin: It has been 16 years since Garcia first had a close call in the PGA Championship at Medinah. He is regarded as the best to have never won a major, and he hasn’t been particularly close lately. He has four top 10s this year, including a runner-up finish in The Players Championship, to keep up his world ranking.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide