Expert Picks for PGA Championship
David Toms [Yahoo Class C] - World Ranking: #197
After withdrawing from the John Deere Classic due to injury, Toms took nearly a month off before returning to action last week at Firestone where he finished inside the top 10. In addition to playing so well for much of the season, Toms should be very popular this week as he won the PGA Championship back in 2001 on this same course. Toms ranks 10th or better in greens in regulation percentage, driving accuracy percentage, birdie average and scoring average. All those impressive numbers have Toms sitting second in All-Around Ranking.
Charl Schwartzel [Yahoo Class C] - World Ranking: #25
After winning the Masters, Schwartzel posted five straight finishes of 26th or better on Tour, including a pair of top-10s, prior to finishing T53 last week at Firestone. However, the South African has been strong in majors. In addition to the aforementioned victory at Augusta National, Schwartzel finished T9 at the U.S. Open Championship and T16 at The Open Championship. Managers should be willing to look past last week’s bump in the road and consider the very impressive resume in big time events this season.
Martin Kaymer [Yahoo Class C] - World Ranking: #50
As the defending champion of this event, Kaymer is sure to get a lot of play. However, he’s yet to record on a top-10 finish in a Tour stroke play event this season through eight starts. Last year, Kaymer entered the PGA Championship with three Tour finishes of eighth or better in eight starts. Considering the change in venue and his good (but not great) results this season, avoid overpaying for Kaymer’s services this week.
Bo Van Pelt [Yahoo Class C]
Prior to finishing T23 last week at Firestone, Van Pelt had been inside the top 15 in six of his seven previous events. Even that result came with only one round over par, so Van Pelt hasn't lost anything. BVP ranks seventh in total driving and 11th in All-Around Ranking. He may not challenge for the win among this stacked field, but Van Pelt is a safe bet to make the cut and post solid rounds.
Hunter Mahan [Yahoo Class A]
Since missing the cut at the U.S. Open Championship, Mahan has been in something of a funk. In those five starts, he's missed another cut and has not finished better than 30th. Mahan still ranks 11th in greens in regulation percentage, 12th in birdie average and eighth in All-Around Ranking, but could be overvalued given his stagnant results as of late.
Tiger Woods [Yahoo Class C]
After months away from the game to heal various injuries, Woods finished T37 last week at Firestone, a course he had dominated time after time in the past. In 2001, he finished T29 when this event was last held at Atlanta Athletic Club. Given his lack of success when he was playing lights out, there’s not too much to get excited about given Woods is still getting his feel back. Tiger was overrated and overvalued last week, don’t make the same mistake twice.
Bubba Watson [Yahoo Class A] - World Ranking: #6
Last week's T21 at Firestone is Watson's best result since winning the Zurich Classic of New Orleans several months ago, his second victory on the year. While the consistency isn't always there, Watson is always a threat. He ranks first in greens in regulation percentage, second in both driving distance and eagles (holes per) and 10th in birdie average. Watson has seen his finish improve over his last three tournaments, so he could be heating up once again.
Brendon de Jonge [Yahoo Class A]
After a career year that saw de Jonge finish 25th in the FedExCup standings thanks to three third-place results and seven top-10s, many tabbed the native of Zimbabwe as a dark horse for the 2011 season. Well, he may have finally left the stable. In his last three starts, de Jonge has finished no worse than 13th and is coming off a season-best T4 at The Greenbrier Classic. He ranks 23rd in birdie average and 33rd in strokes gained - putting.
Zach Johnson [Yahoo Class B] - World Ranking: #22
It has been a tale of two seasons for Johnson. In his first nine starts, he failed to finish better than 20th. In the nine starts since, Johnson has four finishes of sixth or better and six inside the top-20. Johnson has climbed to rank eighth in both driving accuracy percentage and strokes gained – putting. He’s also 12th in scoring average and seventh in All-Around Ranking.
Sergio Garcia [Yahoo Class A] - World Ranking: #11
After finishing inside the top-10 in both the U.S. Open Championship and The Open Championship, it appeared Garcia was going to catch fire to end the season. However, he’s only managed to finish T39 and T53 in his last two Tour events. Garcia ranks fifth in scoring average, but just 39th in All-Around Ranking. The performances in the last two majors are very encouraging but his play since then raises legitimate questions.
Fredrik Jacobson [Yahoo Class C]
While putting together a streak of four consecutive finishes of 16th or better, including the two most recent majors, Jacobson picked up his first career win on Tour in the Travelers Championship. Despite being placed 45th in All-Around Ranking, the Swede is sixth in strokes gained – putting and eighth in scoring average. With such a loaded field, Jacobson is sure to come at a great value.
You never know which Kim will show up on any given week or, for that matter, any given round. After posting a T5 in The Open Championship, Kim got off to a quick start in RBC Canadian Open only to meltdown with an abysmal round of 81 to miss the cut. In his most recent start, Kim entered Sunday with the lead at The Greenbrier Classic but finished T14. He has the skills, but just needs to put it together over four rounds.
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