The 91st PGA Championship starts tomorrow at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, and several Nike Golf athletes are poised to make a run at the title. The last time the PGA was held at Hazeltine was in 2002, when Rich Beem held off a charging Tiger Woods on Sunday to claim his first major victory. This time around there are many new faces as well as seasoned veterans in the field, all of whom are hoping to raise the Wanamaker Trophy on Sunday evening.
Nike Golf is well represented in field at the PGA this week — here’s the complete list of Nike Golf athletes in the field:
Trevor Immelman WD
Chris Starkjohann (Club Pro)
Bo Van Pelt
From this list we propose the following five Nike Golf athletes as having a shot at winning the championship on Sunday.
The reigning U.S. Open Champion has had time to rest after his victory at Bethpage Black and whirlwind tour afterwards. A T-19 finish at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational last weekend shows that Lucas hasn’t lost his major championship form. We’ll see if he can challenge for the title on Sunday.
We’ve been waiting for AK to break through at a major championship this year, and he almost did so at the Canadian Open in July with a T3 finish there. A T36 finish at the Bridgestone last week left something to be desired, but we still feel he can make run at a major title this year, and this could be the week.
The Champion Golfer of the Year is currently playing some of the best golf of his career. Stewart claimed the claret jug after quietly hanging around the top of the leaderboard for four days at Turnberry, then returned to the tour at the Bridgestone Invitational and again quietly posted a T6 finish there. He is poised for another high finish at the last major of 2009.
The PGA Championship places a premium on driving accuracy, and that is a category in which Justin holds his own (he’s currently ranked 30th on the PGA Tour). He’s my dark horse pick because of the length of the course this year (7,674 yds) and the fact that he’s 121st in driving distance (but still drives it 285). Justin has played consistently in his last several events with a T34 at the Travelers, a T8 at The Open, a T14 at the Buick and a T44 at the Bridgestone. We look for a high finish from Justin this week at Hazeltine.
And once again, there’s Tiger. We don’t need to say a lot here — he’s won in his last two starts at The Buick Open and The Bridgstone Invitational, and with the way he’s swinging the club right now, the focus and intensity back in his eyes and the smile returning to his face at times, Tiger is looking like a good pick to win his third event in a row and first major title of the year this week.
There are four tough days of golf to be played at Hazeltine this weekend. We’ll just have to wait and see if there’s a Nike Golf athlete left standing holding the Wanamaker Trophy on Sunday evening.