By Jason Fernandes
- Rory McIlory will make his return to action at the US PGA Championships
- The Northern Irishman will defend the last major of the year
- Justin Rose, Paul Casey, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Danny Willett will also take part
Perhaps surprisingly World No. 1 Rory McIlroy announced to the world that not only will he play at the PGA Championship, but that he’s also “100%” healthy.
The Northern Irishman- seeking his fifth major championship- has not played since early last month after injuring his ankle, and will face a tough task of defending the title he won last year. Despite the injury that kept him out of The Open Championships last month, the world number one remains positive that he is fully fit and ready for the final major of the year.
Another Brit capable of having a big run is the 2013 US Open champion Justin Rose. The World No. 6 has had a strong year so far, finishing T2 at The Masters, winning the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and only last week finishing T3 at the Bridgestone Invitational. The Englishman will go into this week as one of the men in form and favourites to take the title. Among other top Brits playing are Paul Casey, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Danny Willett, who had a fine first few rounds at The Open last month.
Outside of Brits, two-time major champion Jordan Spieth goes into the event as the odds favourite to claim the title. With a win this week, the 22-year-old would become the first player to win three majors in a season since Tiger Woods in 2000 and attain the World #1 ranking.
He will be playing alongside McIlroy and last month’s The Open winner Zach Johnson for the first two rounds. The three players combined currently hold all four majors and share eight majors between them and will definitely be the stand-out group to watch.
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t other groups to keep an eye out for the first two rounds though. Aussie Jason Day and Americans Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson feature in the “nearly group”. All three have had chances of winning several major championships but unfortunately they all remain without a major title. Johnson was so very close to winning here in 2010 ultimately just needing a par on the 18th hole in the final round to win, but it was not to be with the tall American, coming home with a triple-bogey after a penalty. Maybe it’s time for one of these underachievers to step up and win a major because there’s absolutely no doubt all three are more than capable and deserve one.
A name that everyone knows no matter how much you know about golf is Tiger Woods. The former World No. 1 has had an awful year for his high standards and is at risk of missing the cut three majors in a row. This year however he’s still shown glimpses of his old self but can not seem to find the consistency to put it altogether. Right now winning is completely off the cards but a top 20 finish would be a great way to end the last major of the year.
The PGA Championship location varies year on year and this year’s event is being held at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin, home of one of the most beautiful and unique par 5s in the world, the S shaped fifth hole named “Snake”. In 2010- the last time the major was held here- McIlroy finished T3 place, just one off joining the playoff between Bubba Watson and eventual champion Martin Kaymer. Two men who will be looking to repeat their performances from five years ago this week.
All-in-all we are in store for an exciting and dramatic major. Whether it be in Spieth making history, a player winning their first major or perhaps even an unexpected winner, over the four days of the event we’ll no doubt witness a whole load of excitement. And with McIlroy looking to add to his major count and fellow Brit Rose in good form, there’s plenty out there for British fans to indulge in.
The PGA Championship begins on Thursday 13th of August at 7PM BST. You can follow the entire Championship hole by hole via our live scoring service: Live scores