The final major of the year is upon us, and with all that’s happened in the previous three, the PGA Championship from Baltusrol has a lot to live up to. PlayON looks at some players who may contend this week.
High Priced Options
Dustin Johnson: Emboldened by his first major win, DJ has been the form golfer in the world over the past month. In his last six tournaments, Johnson has recorded two wins and hasn’t finished worse than tied for 9th.
Once a bag of nerves when in contention, the American seems to have found a way to keep his composure in the big moments. Even if he does reproduce his old Sunday struggles, his early round form means he’s as likely as anyone to be in the mix heading into the final day.
Phil Mickelson: Mickelson rolled back the years at the British Open, finishing second to Henrik Stenson after a spectacular duel. These vintage performances are less frequent from Phil the Thrill these days, but if ever there was a place he could add to his major tally it would be Baltusrol – the scene of his wire to wire PGA victory back in 2005.
Mickelson has both form and course knowledge – born out of a close friendship with Baltusrol club pro George Low – on his side. There’s a great chance we could see the lefty in contention on Sunday.
Mid Range Options
Lee Westwood: Few would back Westwood to break his major duck after so many close calls have ended at the hands of his icy putter. However, Lee is one of the most consistent performers in major championships and always seems to be around the first page of the leaderboard heading into Sunday.
Baltusrol places a premium on accuracy off the tee and few are more consistent in this regard than the Englishman – who finished in the top 10 back in 2005. His form is also excellent, with top 15 finishes in five of his last six tournaments.
Jason Dufner: Dufner’s game is well suited to the course, with solid tee shots and excellent iron play the hallmark of performing well around this track. He also has tournament pedigree having won back in 2013, albeit at a different venue. Nonetheless the fact that he has a major in his locker gives him a leg up on the majority of the field.
Low Cost Options
Jhonattan Vegas: Vegas was one of our picks last week, and he secured his place at Baltusrol with a stunning victory to make us look good for once. We’ll ride the Columbian’s hot hand and low price this week as he looks to take advantage of a bonus appearance at the PGA Championship.
Steve Stricker: Priced at less than $10 million for the tournament, Stricker has finished in the top five in both of his last two events and tends to be under-priced because of his status as a part-time player. Despite his less frequent tournament play he has maintained a high level of consistency when teeing it up and has four top 15 finishes in his seven events since March.