The 2017 PGA Championship tees off today with the tabloids and media already beginning to romanticize a Spieth/McIlroy showdown.
Both players are coming in to the event showing good form in previous tournaments, more notable Spieth who is still fresh off his triumph at The Open Championship earlier this year. Spieth is now preparing for the final major of the year in the hope that if he wins it, he can become only the 6th person ever, in the history of the sport, to win a career grand slam. By doing so he will also pass out Tiger Woods for achieving this feat at a slightly younger age which would really put him in high regard among the golfing world. With the potential for history to be made this weekend, the buzz around the tournament is certainly one that hasn’t been felt for awhile. Spieth meanwhile, is remaining largely calm and collected about the whole tournament. He knows he will have countless other opportunities at the event throughout his career but still, the lure of history this week is impossible to ignore.
McIlroy on the other hand is bidding to win his first major trophy in 3 years. McIlroy too is just one major away from the grand slam, but ever since winning the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla and putting himself a victory at the Masters away, he has never really threatened at the event. The course for this years PGA championship is one which McIlroy is extremely familiar to and has had a number of successful outings in the past. The Northern Irishman fired a final-round 62 to win his first PGA Tour title at the course in 2010, then won at Quail Hollow again in 2015 after a playoff loss against Rickie Fowler in 2012. For these performances alone, McIlroy is the favorite coming into the event. His build up all year has been less than desirable, as a rib injury has either stopped him from competing or rendering him rusty. His season seemed to turn after the 6th hole on his first round at The Open. Even with a change in caddy, his performances of late have certainly been encouraging coming into this weekend. Rory knows the course well and it suits long hitters.
Another to look out for this weekend would be Rickie Fowler. Fowler claimed his first professional win back in 2012 on the Quail Hollows course and finished T4 in last years event. He showed good form last weekend at The Bridgestone Invitational.
Hideki Matsuyama will be looking to regain some of his spectacular form from last week, where he ran out a 5 shot winner at the Bridgestone Invitational, tying the course record on his final round. Matsuyama is closing in on the world number 1 spot as well but is still to perform at his best on the top stage. He is also bidding to become Japans first ever major winner.
A few other players to keep an eye out for this weekend would be Jon Rahm, Koepka and Phil Mickelson. Mickelson has played this course an untold amount of times which may work to his advantage as we get later into the week. Both Rahm and Koepka have shown glimpses this year of just what they can achieve, both are big hitters as well so you would be thinking their lack of know-about on the course shouldn’t hinder them to much.