PGA Championship 2017: 13 picks to win at Quail Hollow

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PGA Championship 2017: 13 picks to win at Quail Hollow

July 28, 2017

Photo By: David Cannon

Photo By: Ross Kinnaird/R&A

Photo By: Streeter Lecka

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Photo By: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Photo By: Harry How

Photo By: Christopher Lee

Photo By: David Cannon

Photo By: Kevin C. Cox

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Photo By: AP

Photo By: Scott Halleran

1.) Rory McIlroy

PGA Championship history: Winner in 2012 & 2014.Current Vegas odds: 7/1 (Tournament favorite, according to Westgate Las Vegas Superbook)Reason to pick: McIlroy is a two-time winner of the PGA Tour event at Quail Hollow, taking the Wells Fargo title in 2010 and 2015 by a combined 11 shots. The man has had so much success in the Charlotte area that the course is even home to a bald eagle named after him. Seriously.Cause for concern: It's hard to believe it's been three full years since McIlroy claimed his fourth major at the 2014 PGA at Valhalla. This season has been affected by a nagging rib injury, a wedding and multiple putting changes, but he still managed a T-4 at the British Open. And after sacking his longtime caddie, J.P. Fitzgerald, he finished T-5 at Firestone the following week. With the way he's driving the ball, there's no reason to think he can't claim a third Wanamaker Trophy.

Photo By: David Cannon

2.) Jordan Spieth

PGA Championship history: Solo 2nd in 2015.Current Vegas odds: 8/1Reason to pick: Spieth went wire-to-wire at the British Open to become the second-youngest player to win three majors, and now he'll have a chance to become the youngest to complete the career Grand Slam. The recently turned 24-year-old Texan has led or co-led after an astonishing 15 of his 70 career rounds in majors.Cause for concern: Spieth's only appearance at Quail Hollow resulted in a T-32 at the 2013 Wells Fargo Championship. Perhaps, the problem was that wasn't a major.

Photo By: Ross Kinnaird/R&A

3.) Rickie Fowler

PGA Championship history: T-3 in 2014 (and no other top-15s)Current Vegas odds: 15/1Reason to pick: Fowler deserves a lot better than his one win this season (Honda Classic) considering he's just a tick behind Dustin Johnson in total strokes gained, in large part from being ranked third in strokes gained/putting. But perhaps his first major victory will come where he picked up his first PGA Tour title in 2012.Cause for concern: Fowler let a glorious chance slip away at Erin Hills, and those odds are a bit low for someone who is yet to close the deal in a major.

Photo By: Streeter Lecka

4.) Hideki Matsuyama

PGA Championship history: T-4 in 2016.Current Vegas odds: 12/1 (Upgraded from 20/1)Reason to pick: Matsuyama backed up his runner-up at the U.S. Open with a T-14 at the British and a dominant win at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Jordan Spieth took his World No. 2 ranking from him, but the Japanese star is still No. 1 among those looking to win a first major.Cause for concern: Matsuyama ranks 179th on the PGA Tour in strokes gained/putting at -.436. Among golfers who have played as many rounds as he has this season, only nine have a worse average. To win that first major, he'll have to have an exceptional week with his irons -- but that's something he's certainly capable of.

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5.) Brooks Koepka

PGA Championship history: T-4 in 2016 (and T-5 in 2015).Current Vegas odds: 25/1Reason to pick: After capturing his first major championship at the U.S. Open, Koepka returned to action following a month of barely touching his clubs and finished T-6 at the British Open. Yeah, he's that good. And he's even better in the game's biggest four events, coming in fifth in our recent ranking of current players in major championships.Cause for concern: Koepka has never teed it up in competition at Quail Hollow, a course most of his peers are very familiar with. But as he showed at Erin Hills and Royal Birkdale, he doesn't need much time to adjust to new surroundings.

Photo By: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

6.) Justin Rose

PGA Championship history: Three top-10s in 14 starts, T-3 in 2012.Current Vegas odds: 35/1 (Downgraded from 25/1)Reason to pick: Rose has plenty of length to contend on the par-71, 7,600-yard track, and a solid record at Quail Hollow to prove it. The Englishman's last two trips here produced solo third and fifth finishes.Cause for concern: After finishing runner-up at the Masters, Rose missed the cut at the U.S. Open and only finished T-54 at Royal Birkdale. As he turns 37, the pressure to win a second major increases.

Photo By: Harry How

7.) Jon Rahm

PGA Championship history: None.Current Vegas odds: 20/1Reason to pick: Rahm's first full year as a pro has included wins on both the PGA Tour (Farmers Insurance Open) and European Tour (Irish Open) and consistent play that has pulled him into the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking. The 22-year-old could prove to be Jordan Spieth's biggest challenge to racking up majors over the next decade.Cause for concern: The sample size is very small (four starts), but Rahm has yet to finish in the top 25 of a major as a pro. More importantly, he has no prior playing experience at Quail Hollow because this year's Wells Fargo (Rahm finished fourth) was played at Eagle Point.

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8.) Dustin Johnson

PGA Championship history: Four top-10s in seven starts.Current Vegas odds: 12/1 (Downgraded from 10/1)Reason to pick: DJ has cooled off of late, but he's still the World No. 1 and he still leads the PGA Tour in total strokes gained for the season. We're not worried about his lack of success at Quail Hollow (two missed cuts in three starts) because his last trip there was six years ago, and the lengthening/toughening of the course since then should only help the tour's best player from tee to green.Cause for concern: Johnson recently admitted he's still feeling the effects of that freak fall/back injury on the eve of the Masters. That would explain why a guy who previously looked unbeatable hasn't won in more than four months.

Photo By: David Cannon

9.) Justin Thomas

PGA Championship history: T-18 (2015), T-66 (2016).Current Vegas odds: 35/1 (Downgraded from 30/1)Reason to pick: JT's three wins to start the season still have him tied for the most on tour, and a first major would put him in the driver's seat for player-of-the-year honors. He finished T-7 in his debut at Quail Hollow in 2015.Cause for concern: Thomas has missed three consecutive cuts, including shooting a second-round 80 at the British Open. But considering both his dad and grandfather were PGA professionals, he'd like nothing more than to bounce back at the season's final major.

Photo By: Kevin C. Cox

10.) Jason Day

PGA Championship history: Winner in 2015.Current Vegas odds: 25/1 (Downgraded from 15/1)Reason to pick: Day's difficult season has the former World No. 1 a bit under the radar heading into a tournament he nearly won in back-to-back years. Despite zero wins since last year's Players, Day has shown signs of turning things around, losing in a playoff at the Byron Nelson and shooting a Saturday 65 at Royal Birkdale that should have been better.Cause for concern: Day's struggles start with the putter. After a historically good season in 2016, he ranks just 61st in strokes gained/putting this year. But as was the case with Spieth earlier this season, Day is too good not to figure it out on the greens eventually. And at 25/1. . .

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11.) Daniel Berger

PGA Championship history: T-73 in 2016.Current Vegas odds: 50/1 (Upgraded from 80/1)Reason to pick: Berger won his second PGA Tour title in June and might have added another one had Jordan Spieth not daggered him with that holed bunker shot at the Travelers Championship. At 80/1, the 24-year-old rising star might be the best value bet in the field.Cause for concern: Outside of a T-10 at the 2016 Masters, Berger's next-best finish in a major are a pair of T-27s. Again, though, you're buying low here at 80/1. Not anymore. You snooze, you lose.

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12.) J.B. Holmes

PGA Championship history: Two top-25s in eight starts.Current Vegas odds: 80/1 (Upgraded from 100/1)Reason to pick: Holmes is a past winner at Quail Hollow (2014), and he's trending in the right direction in big events. After finishing T-4 at the Masters and third at the British Open in 2016, he played well for the U.S. in the Americans' Ryder Cup victory.Cause for concern: There's a reason why he's only 100-to-1 80-to-1 odds. Holmes' only top-10 this season was a T-9 at the Greenbrier Classic. We like him as a long shot, though, especially because of his length off the tee.

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13.) Phil Mickelson

PGA Championship history: Winner in 2005; runner-up in 2001 & 2014.Current Vegas odds: 40/1Reason to pick: Despite never winning the event, Mickelson is the all-time leading money winner at the Wells Fargo Championship. Dare we call it, "Phil Hollow"? Sorry, that was bad …Cause for concern: Mickelson, 47, hasn't won since the 2013 British Open and he's coming off a missed cut at Royal Birkdale. However, that's the only time he's failed to make it to the weekend this season.

Photo By: Scott Halleran

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