US PGA Championship

The men to beat: five players to watch at the 99th PGA Championship

Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Hideki Matsuyama and Matt Kuchar tee off on Thursday at Quail Hollow in the final major of the year

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 August, 2017, 10:46am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 August, 2017, 10:46am

Jordan Spieth

Second-ranked Spieth won last month’s British Open for his third career major title after the 2015 Masters and US Open, and at 24 could become the youngest player to complete a career grand slam by winning the PGA title this week.

Seeking his fourth title of the year after US PGA Tour titles at Pebble Beach in February and the Travelers Championship in June.

Rory McIlroy

A winner of US PGA Tour titles at Quail Hollow in 2010 and 2015 and only lost in 2012 in a play-off. He broke his own course record with a 61 in the third round two years ago.

He also owns two PGA Championship titles from 2012 and 2014, but hasn’t won a major since lifting the Wanamaker Trophy three years ago.

Wet and soggy conditions are expected all week, which should play to his strengths as a long and accurate driver.

His putter will be crucial, and it’s his first major since he split with long-time caddie JP Fitzgerald, with best pal Harry Diamond being his bagman this week.

Dustin Johnson

World number one says he’s almost back to the level where he was before injuring his back on the eve of the Masters.

He had won at Riviera and taken the World Golf Championships Mexico and Match Play titles to top the rankings and become a clear favourite.

His long driving should keep him in the hunt despite expected wet conditions.

Hideki Matsuyama

Won last week’s World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational to serve notice he has the game for a breakthrough major triumph at Quail Hollow, what would be the first by any Japanese man and only the second for any Asian man after South Korean YE Yang at the 2009 PGA at Hazeltine.

Was US Open co-runner-up in June to Brooks Koepka at Erin Hills and also won in February at Phoenix Open.

Matt Kuchar

The 39-year-old American enjoyed his best major finish with a runner-up effort behind Spieth at the British Open.

Kuchar, who also shared fourth this year at the Masters, has nine top-10s in majors without a victory. Could a major breakthrough be on tap at the PGA?

The only PGA Championship winner since 2008 who wasn’t a first-time major winner was McIlroy in 2012 and 2014.