One Of These 11 Will Win The 2015 PGA Championship

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One Of These 11 Will Win The 2015 PGA Championship

August 02, 2015

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Jason Day

If ever a player were due to win a major it's the 27-year-old Australian, who rebounded from his rough U.S. Open Sunday and an agonizingly close performance at St. Andrews to win the RBC Canadian Open. In his first-ever PGA Championship in 2010, Day finished T-10 at Whistling Straits after a final-round 74. He has since logged a T-8 in 2013 at Oak Hill and a T-15 last year at Valhalla. With power at a premium in Wisconsin, Day is the no-brainer favorite to finally win a major.

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Bubba Watson

Even though the Old Course should have been to his liking, Watson's aversion to golf outside of the United States continued last month in St. Andrews. Back on home soil, Bubba is returning to the site where he first truly contended for a major title, losing to Martin Kaymer in a three-hole aggregate playoff in 2010. Combine the good memories of a final-round 68 to get in that playoff with recent solid play at the RBC Canadian (plus confidence from having two green jackets in his Augusta National locker), and only Bubba-being-Bubba can stop him from winning.

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Zach Johnson

The British Open champ missed the 2010 PGA playoff by a stroke, ending up T-3 at Whistling Straits. When his inside-120 yards game is on and the fairways are running just enough to give him sneaky power off the tee, Johnson can keep up with the long bombers. Throw in his affinity for playing in front of Midwest crowds, and a second major in 2015 would not surprise one bit.

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Jordan Spieth

The winner of the year's first two majors has no track record at Whistling Straits but has played his share of Pete Dye courses. After a weekend scouting trip before the WGC-Bridgestone, he should have his "lines" picked out. It's surreal to consider Spieth didn't have his best ball-striking at Chambers Bay and still won, then took better ball-striking to St. Andrews but missed a playoff by a stroke due to a so-so putting performance. The ability to hang around when not playing his best may be his most impressive trait, making it hard to see the 22-year-old anywhere but near the top of the 2015 PGA leader board.

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Dustin Johnson

Sure the specter of the heartbreaking final-hole two-shot penalty that dropped him from a playoff to T-5 in 2010 lingers. But Johnson will have put that melodrama behind him by Thursday and should pick up where he left off last time he was in Kohler. His biggest admirers are still mystified by a third-round 75 at St. Andrews that took him from looking like a runaway winner to also-ran. He has two other top-10s in the PGA, not that anyone remembers anything beyond the fiasco at Whistling Straits's 18th hole.

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Phil Mickelson

Lefty's week at the British Open was a tragicomic series of brutal lipouts and strategic mistakes (driving into Swilcan Burn!), which will have the 2005 PGA champion . . . feeling confident? At least that's the vibe he gave reporters soon after hitting a drive into the Old Course Hotel on his 71st hole at St. Andrews. Winless since the 2013 British Open, Mickelson has seen his putting is better of late and has second-place finishes at the this year's Masters and last year's PGA to remind him one hot week is all that's needed to return to the winner's circle. Oh, and a final-round 67 at Whistling Straits left him T-12 in 2010. Look out for the wise, patient golfer who can still overpower a course.

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Matt Kuchar

The perennial contender just finished off a nice trip to the Scottish and British Opens, though he did seem to get the worst of the draw at St. Andrews. Kuchar can look forward to returning to Whistling Straits, where he was the first- and second-round leader before finishing T-10 due to a lackluster weekend (73-72). That was his best finish in a PGA and only top-10. He's desperately overdue to win a major and knows his clock is ticking.

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Paul Casey

The Englishman can't be pleased with his T-74 at St. Andrews after contending there five years ago. But as he did in 2010, Casey will arrive in Wisconsin with confidence. A T-12 at Whistling Straits last time around won't be forgotten by the 38-year-old, who has newfound stability in his personal life and the same awesome tee-to-fringe game. He also figures to be better rested this August thanks to his full focus on PGA Tour play instead of splitting time between tours. Now, he just needs to get a few more putts to drop (140th in PGA Tour strokes gained/putting).

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Jim Furyk

Early in the 2010 PGA at Whistling Straits, Furyk seemed destined to capture his second major. But a disastrous final-round 77 dropped him to T-24. With six top-10s in the PGA, including a second in 2013 and T-5 last year at Valhalla, this is a perfect spot for long-awaited major championship No. 2.

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Justin Rose

One of the world's best ball-strikers missed the cut at Whistling Straits in 2010 and has been trying of late to sort out his putting. Rose revealed at the recent Quicken Loans National that putting coach David Orr spotted a setup issue that left his shoulders closed at address. A Saturday 65 at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club backed up the theory that that was the problem. Throw in a win earlier this year on a Pete Dye course (TPC Louisiana at the Zurich Classic), and the Englishman should be feeling better headed to Wisconsin.

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Danny Willett

Five years ago this little-known 22-year-old missed the cut in his first PGA Championship. Rounds of 74-74 gave Willett his first taste of major golf, and now the Englishman returns having contended last month at St. Andrews (T-6). He's won three times on the European Tour, including the Omega European Masters just a week after his fine St. Andrews run. Ranked 24th in the world, Willett would be England's other Olympics representative alongside Rose if the Games were held now. He exudes the confidence of someone ready to make a late season charge up the world rankings.

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