2013 US PGA Championship: The unpredictable major

As far as major golf championships go the US PGA Championship is most definitely the odd one out.

Scheduled as the last major of the year behind the other three more distinguishable majors, the US PGA Championship comes along quickly after the British Open.

It was only 17 days ago that Phil Mickelson was lifting the Claret Jug at Muirfield and on Thursday, he and 165 other golfers will be teeing it up at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York aiming to get their hands on the Wanamaker Trophy.

The perceived inferiority of the final major of the year is probably just an illusion as the tournament has offered up some great as well as surprise winners which gives the US PGA an air of unpredictability each time it rolls around.

A quick scan down the list of previous US PGA Championship winners reveals names such as Tiger Woods (4), Jack Nicklaus (5), Gary Player (2) and Ben Hogan (2).

But it is most revealing by the names not on the list such as Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson, and some of the names that are on the list such as Shaun Micheel, Y.E. Yang, Mark Brooks and Australia’s Wayne Grady.

Just three Australians have ever lifted the US PGA Championship trophy; David Graham beat Ben Crenshaw in a playoff in 1979, Wayne Grady won by three shots in 1990 and Steve Elkington beat Colin Montgomerie in a playoff in 1995. Of the three Wayne Grady’s was perhaps the biggest surprise.

The 1990 US PGA Championship week began in controversy when it was reported that host course Shoal Creek Country Club did not allow black members. The subsequent protests correctly overshadowed the start of the tournament that eventually saw Grady (who was usually overshadowed by his more famous compatriot Greg Norman) play smart golf grab his first and only major. At the time, the same number of majors that Greg Norman had won.

Eight Australian golfers arrive at Oak Hill Country Club this week and with a history of upset winners, all of them must consider themselves a chance of victory.

Aussies in the 2013 US PGA Championship field: Adam Scott, Jason Day, Geoff Ogilvy, John Senden, Marcus Fraser, Marc Leishman, Brett Rumford and Matt Jones.

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