Rory McIlroy is very much a golfer who is really on or really off. And right now he is really on.
Rory McIlroy won The Open Championship last month and then chased down Sergio Garcia to win the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, but this form wasn’t just a flash in the pan.
Since March he has now posted nine top-10 finishes in 15 starts. With his only real blemish ironically coming at the Irish Open where he missed out on the cut by one stroke.
A few golf experts have suggested that there is no way Rory can win three tournaments in a row, but in a time that some have suggested to call an ‘era’, it has very hard to see anyone beating him in this form.
The 2014 US PGA Championship has one of the best fields ever assembled for a golf tournament with all but one golfer out of the top-100 players in the field. But for the sake of argument, who are the challengers to win the US PGA Championship this week? Apart from McIlroy.
Woods, Garcia, Fowler or Scott?
Just four days ago, the news looked bad for Tiger Woods to play in the event let alone win it, but the 14-time major champion. Woods injured his back (apparently unrelated to the previous injury) while falling back into a bunker at the WGC Championship. While I wouldn’t place him anywhere near the favourites, he seems confident as usual.
“I am pain-free, although I am taking anti-inflammatories. I decided I could play yesterday.” Woods said. “I played alright today – nothing great. It is only Wednesday. I want all the good stuff for tomorrow.”
“I am going to go out and try and win the event.”
The most likely golfers to beat McIlroy are the threesome of Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia. Scott is playing great golf and really isn’t far away from putting four phenomenal rounds together. Fowler has top-5 finishes in all three majors so far this year and Garcia has had three runners-up in his last three starts.
There are a few other golfers who may fly under the radar this week though.
Walker or Spieth?
American Jimmy Walker leads the FedEx Cup rankings and has some pretty good form in the majors this year. If not for a bad final round at Royal Liverpool, he would have finished top-10 in all three so far this year.
Jordan Spieth looks like he could win a big tournament at any stage and this may be his week. The 21-year-old American walks with the confidence of a major winner and with great placings at the US Open and Masters, he’ll be one to watch this week.
There are eight Australians in the field for the 2014 US PGA Championship; Adam Scott, Jason Day, Geoff Ogilvy, Marc Leishman, John Senden, Matt Jones, Steven Bowditch and unheralded Stuart Deane.
Aside from Scotty as we’ve previously mentioned, Marc Leishman would be the pick of the bunch. He is playing some great golf at the moment and has enough weapons in his bag to shoot low scores – something that is needed if he finds himself chasing McIlroy.
Jason Day looked have overcome his wrist/thumb injury only to suffer from a bout of vertigo during last week’s WGC Bridgestone Invitational. Reportedly, he’s now fine but I’m not sure Day has played enough golf to win this week.
Geoff Ogilvy is in the field courtesy of his victory at last week’s Barracuda Championship. Confidence is all Ogilvy needs to perform on the big stage once again and maybe, just maybe it was enough to thrust him into contention at a major again this week.