US PGA Championship: Five to watch in the year’s second Major

Philip Reid marks his card as the world’s best head for South Carolina and Kiawah Island

Rory McIlroy raises his putter as he walks off the 18th green after winning the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo: Tannen Maury/EPA

Rory McIlroy raises his putter as he walks off the 18th green after winning the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo: Tannen Maury/EPA

 

Rory McIlroy

World ranking: 7

Form guide: 10-MC-28-MC-1

Odds: 10/1

Rory McIlroy won the US PGA by eight shots at Kiawah Island in 2012. Photo: Fred Vuich/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images
Rory McIlroy won the US PGA by eight shots at Kiawah Island in 2012. Photo: Fred Vuich/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images

Almost like a perfect storm coming together in a good way, McIlroy heads into the championship - where he was a runaway winner in 2012 - with a win at the Wells Fargo in his last outing (his third career success at Quail Hollow). We know McIlroy wins on courses he likes, and we know McIlroy can get streaky when he gets the winning habit, so he is very much the man to beat. His odds, however, have dramatically halved since ending that 18-month winning drought.

Scottie Scheffler

World ranking: 22

Form guide: MC-2-54-18-29

Odds: 40/1

Scottie Scheffler is yet to step into the winner’s circle on the PGA Tour. Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Scottie Scheffler is yet to step into the winner’s circle on the PGA Tour. Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

It’s only a matter of time before the 24-year-old American claims a breakthrough win on the main tour. Certainly, Scheffler has all of the attributes associated with a potential Major champion - long off the tee (15th in strokes gained off the tee on the PGA Tour this season) - although there can be a question mark over his putting at times. Scheffler (a two-time winner on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2019) has three top-10s so far this season and would become the first player to make his first main tour win a Major since Ben Curtis’s British Open win in 2003.

Joaquin Niemann

World ranking: 29

Form guide: 25-18-40-8-18

Odds: 50/1

Joaquin Niemann’s low ball flight could help him in the wind. Photo: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images
Joaquin Niemann’s low ball flight could help him in the wind. Photo: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

The 22-year-old Chilean is arguably the most consistent player on the PGA Tour, having made 18 straight cuts dating back to his last missed weekend at the Northern Trust last August. His only PGA Tour success came in the Greenbrier in 2019 but he has been knocking on the door again (three top-10s in 10 appearances this season) and is due another win.

Sam Burns

World ranking: 44

Form guide: MC-MC-MC-39-1

Odds: 66/1

Sam Burns recently claimed his first victory at the Valspar Championship. Photo: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images
Sam Burns recently claimed his first victory at the Valspar Championship. Photo: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Another of the young guns who has made a quick transition to life on the main circuit, the 24-year-old American has a strong all-round game. He averages over 300 yards in driving distance and seventh in birdie averages on the PGA Tour this season. There is a question mark on his scrambling but, as he showed in his win at the Valspar, when all components click he can close the deal.

Shane Lowry

World ranking: 47

Form guide: 36-42-21-9-65

Odds: 66/1

Shane Lowry will be going in search of a second Major title. Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Shane Lowry will be going in search of a second Major title. Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Lowry has settled into family life in the United States and this is reflected in consistent performances week-in and week-out with the only missing ingredient being another win, which has eluded him since capturing the Claret Jug in 2019. He has two top-10s on Pete Dye-designed courses already this year (eighth at the Players in Sawgrass and ninth in the Heritage at Hilton head). He is trending in the right direction.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.