SPRINGFIELD, N.J. — Last chance to become a legend.
Not for the players. They can become legendary anytime. No, this is my last shot in 2016 to become the first writer to ever pick the top-25 finishers in order of a major championship.
I’m probably the only idiot who would attempt such a thing, but why should that ruin the fun of trying? Note to the big bosses; if/when I do hit all 25 (as I expect to this week), I’ll be expecting a Powerball-esque bonus check and a statue on the Bristol campus.
Bradley is grinding. That’s good; he’s got that look. It’s a cross between hunger and panic. He needs it, too, because he’s 119th in the FedEx Cup standings. With caddie Chad Reynolds again on the bag this week, a good finish is in the cards.
7. Adam Scott
You already know he doesn’t play a bunch, but that should tell you that when he does play, he has to make the most of it. In 15 starts this year, Scott has two wins, two runner-ups and no missed cuts. I’d say Scott is making the most of every start. That being said, this will be his first top-10 in a major this year.
6. Lee Westwood
We don’t get to see much of Westwood anymore since he has gone back to playing the European Tour and living in London. His game remains solid and even without a victory this year, he’s eighth in that tour’s Race to Dubai. His runner-up finish at the Masters this year will remain his best finish in a major, but this isn’t too bad either.
While Garcia hasn’t missed a PGA Championship since ’99, he hasn’t had a top-10 finish since ’08. Last time we were here, Garcia finished T-23, but this year is different. Garcia’s past four starts? Win (Byron Nelson), T-5, T-5, T-5. Of course I was going to put him here.
No missed cuts, two finishes outside the top 25 and 12 (count ’em, 12) top-10s is how the world No. 2 player comes into this week. If you know of someone playing more consistently good golf this year, let me know.
Golf is about ebb and flow. Right now Stenson is flowing like a flash flood. If there’s one man playing right now who I think could back up a major win, it’s the “Iceman.” His swing and demeanor are perfect for majors this close together. How good is his caddie without cigarettes? We’re going to find out.
It’s seems like every major an “old guy” makes a run. Stricker turned 49 earlier this year and earned a runner-up finish the week before the U.S. Open and placed fourth at The Open. Maybe 49 is the new 29?
1. Rory McIlroy
He has two Wanamaker trophies already while the other five guys to win in the past seven years were all first-time major winners. Maybe after this week people will stop asking, “What’s wrong with your game?”