PGA Championship: The contenders to challenge the usual suspects

first_imgYour 2020 #RocketMortgageClassic Champion is @b_dechambeau!  It marks his fourth straight @PGATOUR season with a victory.— Rocket Mortgage Classic (@RocketClassic) July 5, 2020Collin MorikawaA name perhaps not too familiar to the casual golf fan, but since turning pro in 2019 Morikawa has climbed from 1,039th in the world to 12th. After finishing second at the season-restarting Charles Schwab, he won the Workday Charity Open by beating Thomas in a playoff. His other results have admittedly been mixed but for those who like an outside bet the 23-year-old may take your fancy.Jon RahmAdmittedly, tipping the man who was world No. 1 until Thomas’ win last weekend to be a contender does not exactly scream imagination. But the talented Spaniard was not exactly in peak form prior to winning the Memorial last month, which crowned his ascension to the top of the rankings. Prior to that he had gone CUT, T-33, T-37, T-27 at his four previous events post-lockdown. Surely Rahm will eventually earn his first major and this weekend can be the time.Rahm’s dominant performance.DJ goes lefty.Phil’s 78-yard putt.Get caught up on all of the Good, Bad & Unusual from @MemorialGolf.— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 20, 2020Koepka, Rory, Woods and the usual suspectsSome players you just expect to see involved at the majors. Koepka is aiming to be the first man in 64 years to win the same major three years running and showed plenty of promise in Memphis over the weekend, where he finished runner-up to Thomas. Rory McIlroy has lost his No. 1 status after struggling to rediscover his excellent form prior to golf’s suspension but the Northern Irishman has had success at Harding Park, where he won the 2015 WGC-Cadillac Match Play. Tiger Woods really has not played enough golf in 2020 to judge where his form and fitness are — he has played just once since the season restarted — but never, ever write off the 15-time major winner. Dustin Johnson’s form has been a little erratic, though he did win the Travelers Championship at the end of June. It may not be quite what we are used to, but major golf is finally back as Brooks Koepka defends his PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in California this week.The global coronavirus pandemic wiped out The Open Championship for 2020, while each of the other three majors had to be rescheduled. A three-month enforced break of the PGA Tour perhaps came at an opportune moment for some while halting the momentum of others.As golf gears up for its first major of 2020, behind closed doors of course, we take a look at the players we expect to be competing in California.PGA CHAMPIONSHIP: Odds, betting favorite, expert picksWebb SimpsonIt has been some return to form over the past couple of years for the 2012 U.S. Open victor, who slipped as low as 90th in the rankings following the 2016 Wells Fargo Championship before his triumph at the Players Championship a couple of years ago kick-started a career that looked in danger of stagnating. Even more promisingly, Simpson has wins either side of lockdown at the Phoenix Open and RBC Heritage. Throw in top-10s at the Sony Open and Rocket Mortgage Classic and he certainly has the form to contend.It’s official, @webbsimpson1. #RBCHeritage— RBC Heritage (@RBC_Heritage) June 26, 2020Justin ThomasSince winning the 2017 PGA Championship, things have not quite happened in the majors for Thomas, whose only other top-10 in golf’s big four since then came at the same tournament a year later. But this guy is a serial contender on Tour and has four wins to his name in the past year, the most recent of course coming at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational on Sunday. Thomas is now back at world No. 1 thanks to his triumph in Memphis and has three other top-10s since golf’s hiatus was lifted, so do not be surprised to see him in contention come Sunday.Bryson DeChambeauHe splits opinion, but one thing that cannot be argued is how supremely talented DeChambeau is. After bulking up during lockdown, he now appears to have even more weapons in his arsenal. Prior to missing the cut at the Memorial, DeChambeau made eight top-10s in nine starts, which included a win at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. He has the game to win a major.last_img read more