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Expert Picks: Surprisingly only half pick Woods to win
Of our eight experts, exactly half predict that Tiger Woods will win his fourth PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club. Check out who the other half think will take home the Wanamaker Trophy, and who everyone's sleeper picks are.
T.J. Auclair, PGATOUR.com Interactive Producer
PICK: Tiger Woods. Who did you think it was going to be? Tiger comes to Tulsa this week looking for his first major championship win of 2007. The last time a major was played here at Southern Hills was the 2001 U.S. Open, where Woods finished in a tie for 12th, ending his streak of four consecutive major victories. So, he's got a score to settle with this place. Plus, he comes in white-hot, having pounded the field at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational last week. It probably won't be a blowout like it was in Akron, but expect Tiger to pick up his first major title as a daddy.
SLEEPER: Ben Curtis. This pick might be a little out there, but the unlikely winner of the 2003 Open Championship has proven himself with two TOUR wins since then when many thought he'd be a one-hit wonder. What's more, he fired a final-round 65 at Carnoustie last month to soar up the leaderboard and finish in a tie for eighth. That was his first top-10 in a major since his win at Royal St. George's. I think that momentum will spill over to this week and he'll play well.
Brett Avery, The Fantasy Insider, PGATOUR.com Contributor
PICK: Tiger Woods. Even though he hasn't won a major in 12 months, he still strikes fear into the hearts of mere mortals. Right?
SLEEPER: Lucas Glover. That tie for 12th at the Reno-Tahoe Open represented his fourth finish in the top dozen in five starts, dating to the Buick Open. But
if you think 2007 will play out like 2003, with four first-time major winners, this could be the guy. He's got a thin pedigree in the majors (this is only his 10th start) but this year he tied for 20th in the Masters and tied for 27th in the British Open (he missed the cut in the U.S. Open). He's maturing quickly and is a worthy candidate among 20-somethings.
Lauren Deason, PGATOUR.com Editorial Coordinator
PICK: Justin Rose. Yes, Tiger is coming off an insanely impressive performance at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational and is the defending champion at the PGA. But Woods has not earned two consecutive wins, nor any majors in 2007, so he isn't as obvious a pick as it might initially seem. Besides, Justin Rose fits the criteria for a 2007 major championship winner: like Zach Johnson, Angel Cabrera and Padraig Harrington before him, Rose has not won one before. He has loads of talent and close finishes -- consider these 2007 results: ties for fifth at the Masters, 10th at the U.S. Open, 12th at the British Open and second in Akron last week.
SLEEPER: Bo Van Pelt. The Tulsa, Okla., resident will be able to take the heat this week as temperatures soar in the Midwest. He's has never won on the PGA TOUR but, with the hometown crowd behind the Oklahoma State Cowboy, maybe he'll make his first win a particularly special one at Southern Hills. Plus, in a season with nine top-25s, Van Pelt ranks 59th on the FedExCup points list so he could use a strong finish and the extra points that come with a major to propel him up the ranks.
Melanie Hauser, PGATOUR.com Correspondent
PICK: Tiger Woods. Like we said, until further notice. Yes, we contemplated a few others, including one Scott Verplank, who we happen to think has a great shot here. We made a case for Steve Elkington and Jim Furyk, too, but kept coming back to Tiger. No guts, no glory? Maybe. But when you're looking at brutal heat, you go with the best player and the best-conditioned player. And, one look at him tells you he has no plans to go 0-fer in majors this year.
SLEEPER: Anthony Kim. In another system, we'd pick Verplank or Stewart Cink or Elk or Steve Stricker. But here, we're going with the kid. He dropped into the state for a little college golf, so he knows what's up against at Southern Hills. No, he hasn't really wowed us in an event since the spring, but he's got game. Lots of it. And that tie for 20th at the U.S. Open shows you what he can do in majors.
Dave Lagarde, PGATOUR.com Correspondent
PICK: Sergio Garcia. OK, Sergio, what did you learn from the bitter British Open defeat? I like the fact that Garcia closed with a final-round 67 at Firestone last week to give him some confidence coming into the season's final major. A victory by the Spaniard would give the 2007 majors a melting pot feel with an Iowan, Argentine, Irishman and Spaniard. I arrived at him by process of elimination. Tiger doesn't like Southern Hills. Vijay has played about 100 weeks in a row. Phil isn't over his wrist injury. Where are Ernie and Retief? Get the picture?
SLEEPER: Troy Matteson -- Former Nationwide Tour player of the year finds magic at Southern Hills.
John Maginnes, PGATOUR.com Contributor
PICK: Tiger Woods. Not that I am a gambling man, but according to the oddsmakers, Tiger is an overwhelming favorite. While Tiger is less than a 2-to-1 favorite, no one else is better than 20-to-1. Vegas knows what we all know. If Tiger plays the way that he did last week then the sauna party in Tulsa is over before it starts. If that is the case then Tiger will capture lucky No. 13.
SLEEPER: Shaun Micheel. Something about this time of year and this tournament bring out the best in Shaun Micheel. The former PGA Champion was runner up a year ago and went on to have a stellar fall. The PGA Championship set up seems to favor Shaun's game. Unlike some of the other governing bodies that run major championships, the PGA of America doesn't mind seeing red numbers. Expect Micheel to be in the red by weeks end.
Helen Ross, PGATOUR.com Chief of Correspondents
PICK: Jim Furyk. The week off should have allowed that injury to his upper back and rib to heal, just as Furyk had hoped when he withdrew from the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. He hasn't been out of the top 13 in a major this year, including a tie for second at the U.S. Open, and Southern Hills should be his kind of course. He's got momentum, too, after winning in Canada two weeks ago.
SLEEPER: Lucas Glover. He's playing well - with ties for 10th, 12th, 11th, 27th and 12th in his last five starts --
and he's oh-so-close to realizing an important goal. Glover is 10th in the standings for the U.S. Presidents Cup team. If he stays in the top 10 on Sunday evening after the PGA Championship is over, Glover will make the team. A strong performance at Southern Hills will put him there.
Dave Shedloski, PGATOUR.com Senior Correspondent
PICK: Jim Furyk. Tiger Woods won't win not because he can't handle Southern Hills. He'll be denied because others can play it just as well if not better, and Furyk is at the top of that list. Bad back or not, we think Furyk, the former U.S. Open champ is ready, and the oven roasting of Tulsa should keep him loose enough to get around Southern Hills without much trouble. Frankly, we have to think the week off last week after his withdrawal from the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational was as much a mental benefit as a physical boost. Furyk has been an exceptional major championship player for some time now, and he's been especially good this summer. His PGA record isn't sterling, but his iron game and putting should bring him to the fore on a pure ball-striker's layout.
SLEEPER: Mike Weir. His back is to the wall this week. A top-three finish is probably a must if he wants to impress International captain Gary Player enough to warrant a wild-card pick for the Presidents Cup next month in his native Canada. We think Player should take him anyway, not only because of the home-country fan boost Weir is worth, but also because Weir tends to rise to the occasion in big events. The former Masters champion has quietly put together a solid year that includes top 20s in the first three majors. He was eighth at the British Open. Don't be shocked if he makes a move, even if his neck, which flared up last week and forced his withdrawal from the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, is a bit suspect.