A win at this week's PGA Championship would solidify Tiger Woods'… (Sam Greenwood / Getty Images )
Writers from around the Tribune Co. offer their best guesses as to who will win this week's PGA Championship. Feel free to join the conversation with a comment of your own.
Barry Stavro, Los Angeles Times
My Ouija board says the PGA champ will emerge from the group of 16 players who have won the last 16 majors and, no, Tiger Woods isn’t in that mix.
Sunday’s winner will be ... South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen.
Granted, he’s one of the more obscure names among the recent 16 major winners. But he’s already had a fine year. He came within a ball turn of sinking the winning putt at Augusta before Bubba Watson came out of the trees in a playoff to beat him for a green jacket, and Oosthuizen has continued to play well; he was in the mix last week at Firestone.
As he showed at St. Andrews in 2010, Oosthuizen can dominate; he won the Claret Jug that year by seven shots.
He’s a young talent, and like countrymen Gary Player and Ernie Els, will win several majors.
Jeff Shain, Orlando Sentinel
Call it a perfect storm for Dustin Johnson.
The South Carolina native is as familiar as anyone with the coast’s changeable weather, living just up the highway in Myrtle Beach until recently. Kiawah Island’s soggy conditions also should play right into the hands of bombers like him.
Johnson has a history of playing well in seaside breezes -- two wins at Pebble Beach, a tie for second at last year’s British Open and ninth three weeks ago at Royal Lytham. Don’t forget, too, that Johnson just missed a playoff at the 2010 PGA at Whistling Straits alongside Lake Michigan.
Speaking of which, Johnson should take heart from this week’s "Notice to Competitors": “There are NO ‘bunkers’ on the golf course. … A player is allowed to move loose impediments, take practice swings and ground his club lightly in all of the above sandy areas.”
What goes around, comes around.
Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune
The stats say that Tiger Woods (68.85 scoring average) is the best player on the PGA Tour this year. Combine that with the fact he is Tiger Woods, are there’s your favorite to win the PGA Championship, at 8 to 1.
But I’ll take a guy who’s about 12 yards per drive longer off the tee, who will have the home-state advantage at Kiawah’s Ocean Course and who sneaked in a top-10 at the British Open. He is Dustin Johnson, and he knows how to thrive on Pete Dye designs (see Whistling Straits, 2010 PGA). Best of all, every “bunker” at Kiawah will play as a waste area, so Johnson can ground his club to his heart’s content.
Don Markus, the Baltimore Sun
Picking the winner of a major golf championship these days is not quite as difficult as picking the winning numbers in Powerball, but given the 16 different players who have hoisted the trophy in the past 16 majors, it’s nearly as daunting.
It would be easy to pick Tiger Woods, considering that he contended into the final round in last month’s British Open until taking that dreaded triple in the bunker on the sixth hole. Woods, who hasn’t won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open and has won three times this year, is due to win his 15th major.
But Woods has won only once in 28 tournaments played on Pete Dye courses over his career, and the soft conditions at Kiawah after several deluges this week will turn it into dart golf. Which means more than half of the field is capable of taking home the Wanamaker Trophy come Sunday.
So since no one has a clue who is going to conquer the Ocean Course, I’ll pick a player who I’ve always rooted for — Matt Kuchar. He won the Players Championship at Sawgrass — Dye’s most famous design — earlier this year and has finished strong in the Masters (T3) and British Open (T-9).
Kooch, do me a solid and make me look like I know what I’m talking about.