Guess the winner at PGA Championship
If any extra proof was needed that this week's U.S. PGA Championship at Whistling Straits is wide open for the taking, then look no further than the winners of the last two majors.other Updated: Aug 11, 2010 00:41 IST
If any extra proof was needed that this week's U.S. PGA Championship at Whistling Straits is wide open for the taking, then look no further than the winners of the last two majors.
With Tiger Woods a shadow of his former dominant self, Britain's Graeme McDowell made his major breakthrough in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and South African Louis Oosthuizen followed suit in last month's British Open at St. Andrews.
Professional golf has never enjoyed greater strength in depth and, with top-ranked Woods immersed in one of the biggest slumps of his career, unpredictability is once again sure to be the watchword at Whistling Straits.
Add to that the struggles of world number two and 2005 PGA champion Phil Mickelson in the final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday, and you have the recipe for an intriguing menu at the year's final major.
"Nobody is quite dominating at the moment and that leaves two things," 2008 PGA champion Padraig Harrington told reporters at Firestone last week.
"One, players aren't scared, and two, there's more of them to win.
"When you have one player dominating and winning consistently, very few people are gaining confidence. If anything, it's going to work in the opposite way."
Woods, comfortably the leading player of his generation and a 14-times major winner, has not triumphed on the PGA Tour since the BMW Championship last September.
Although he has clinched the PGA Championship four times, most recently in 2007, even his strongest backers will feel wary this week based on his fluctuating fortunes this season.
Since he became embroiled in scandal following revelations about his serial philandering at the end of last year, he has lost the aura of invincibility he once held over his rivals.
Winless in eight starts on the 2010 PGA Tour, Woods plunged to new depths at Firestone last week when he produced his worst ever finish on the U.S. circuit.
A closing 77 left him tied for second-last in the 80-player field, raising questions over the state of his mind going into Whistling Straits with a divorce reportedly imminent.
"(I'm) just not playing well," Woods said stone-faced after producing his highest 72-hole aggregate on the PGA Tour and his worst relative to par. "It's been a long year."