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Picking the PGA Winner

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The fourth and final major of the golf season gets going on Thursday at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York and after his dominating win at the Bridgestone Invitational over the weekend; Tiger Woods comes in as the favorite to claim the PGA.

Having Tiger (+300) as the favorite to win any major isn't exactly out of the norm the past few years but after how well he played last week it's tough to think he's not rounding into form for the PGA Championship. He spent the early part of the week before the Bridgestone last week playing a practice round or two at Oak Hill to get a feel for what to expect this week. He publicly blasted the greens as "patchy" and said the grounds crew would have a lot of work ahead of them to get the course up to PGA Championship standard. He prefers to play on tricky greens that run fast so we will have to see how quickly they are running come Thursday.

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Phil Mickelson (+1200) is listed as the next favorite on the list but after he grinding out such a draining win at the British Open last month you've got to wonder how much he's mentally got in the tank. He came off yet another grueling 2nd place in the US Open in June and somehow managed to re-energize himself for a win at the Scottish Open and British Open in back-to-back weeks. Needless to say I think he's a bit drained and he won't be topping my list of potential winners this week.

However, two golfers that are high on my list are Hunter Mahan (+2500) and Lee Westwood (+2800).

Westwood was in contention all week at the British Open until a rough Sunday left him standing there and watching guys like Mickelson pass him for the win. Westwood is arguably the best golfer in this field yet to win a major and with him being on the wrong side of 40, he knows his opportunities are limited. He's had two top 10's in the three majors this year (British, Masters) and finished 15th at the US Open at Merion. He's always stepping up at Majors these days and it would be quite a shame if he can't eventually get over the hump and eventually win one.

Mahan has got to be fully energized after pulling out of the Canadian Open a few weeks back to be with his wife during the birth of their 1st born. Mahan had the lead at the time and was striking the ball wonderfully before he withdrew.

Like Westwood, Mahan has also had some great success in recent Majors, finishing 4th at the US Open and 9th at the British. Those two results are part of his best year at Major tournaments in a season and he would love to bring a trophy home to his newborn. He's got the skills to do it, was rounding into great form before he withdrew and his energy/excitement level to get back on the course and compete has got to be through the roof. Those are the types of players' I have no problem backing.

  
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