Five contenders to clinch their maiden Major at the USPGA Championship
Simon Sinclair | July 16, 2016
Danny Willett, Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson have all broken their ducks in 2016 by clinching their first Major wins at the three big competitions this season.
Willett capitalised on Jordan Spieth’s collapse on the final day to claim victory at The Masters, while Johnson and Stenson blew away the field with fine performances to clinch the US Open and Open Championship titles respectively.
The USPGA Championship has seen several first-time Major winners over the last few years including Jason Day, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley and Yang Yong-Eun. So, will the trend continue when the world’s best converge on Springfield, New Jersey for the fourth and final Major of the year?
Read on to find out Coral’s picks of players to finally claim a maiden Major at the upcoming event…
Lee Westwood: 80/1
The anecdote ‘forever the bridesmaid’ has followed Westwood throughout his career. He has finished second three times at Majors, and third on six occasions.
Westwood, 43, has remained in the mix for the top crowns on a consistent basis since 2008, but has failed to close out on the final day, falling short notable at The Masters in 2010 by three strokes to Phil Mickelson after entering the last round with a one-shot lead at Augusta.
He also let himself down at the 2009 Open as he led the competition after a strong showing on the front nine of the final day, only to drop three shots after the turn to miss out on the playoff between eventual winner Stewart Cink and Tom Watson.
The Englishman will be desperate for Major success, despite his numerous achievements in the game. He could have also capitalised on Spieth’s collapse at this year’s Masters, but couldn’t match his compatriot Willett around the greens, which will have to improve for him to get over the line, and instead came tied-second.
Rickie Fowler: 33/1
Fowler was touted as the next big star in American golf when he began to emerge in 2011, but has failed to translate his potential into Major success.
The 27-year-old had a breakthrough year in 2014 when he came in the top five of all four Majors, including second-place finishes the US Open and The Open.
Fowler almost reeled Rory McIlroy in on the final day of The Open two years ago, but his round of 67 was not enough to overhaul the Northern Irishman.
The American suffered the same fate at the USPGA Championship later in the year as he again produced a fine display, although his 14-under performance was two strokes too few as McIlroy claimed the crown.
Since narrowly missing out in 2014, Fowler has struggled immensely at the Majors, missing the cut in three of the seven competitions. His form this year has been poor, failing at The Masters and the US Open before finishing 45th in The Open last week, meaning he will have to make a dramatic improvement to notch his first Major.
Sergio Garcia: 33/1
Garcia should have at least one Major title in his possession, but like Westwood has struggled for composure on the final day of tournaments, costing him on several occasions.
The Spaniard has worked himself into position starting at the 1999 USPGA Championship when he and Tiger Woods battled on the last round for the title, but Garcia missed his chance on the back nine to allow the American to secure the crown.
Near misses have been the story of his career with four second-place finishes. Garcia’s best opportunity to break his duck came at the 2007 Open when at one point he held a six-shot lead, only to be hauled in by Padraig Harrington after dropping three shots.
Harrington won the playoff between the duo by one stroke to clinch his first crown, while the Irishman would deny the Spaniard once again a year later at the 2008 USPGA Championship as Garcia allowed his lead to slip on the final three holes.
Despite his disappointments the 36-year-old remains in contention in all four Majors, and should he be able to overcome his nerves he may finally get the title he craves.
Hideki Matsuyama: 55/1
Matsuyama is one of the rising stars in the game, but has yet to announce himself as one of the leading men by winning a Major.
The 24-year-old has notched four finishes inside the top 10 in The Masters, US Open and The Open, but has yet to make a meaningful impact at the USPGA Championship.
He has been solid enough in his displays, but has not managed to manoeuvre himself into a strong enough position on the final day to challenge for the Major crowns.
The Japanese’s best effort to date was his five-place display at 2015 Masters and, although he was seven shots off the pace of winner Jordan Spieth, his round of 66 on the fourth day was the joint-best of all the competitors in the field.
Matsuyama has had a poor year since The Masters where he placed in fifth on even par for the tournament. He missed the cut at the US Open and The Open, while he also struggled at the Memorial Tournament and World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.
As a result, he will have to find his form quickly to join the men that have ended their search for a Major.
Shane Lowry: 80/1
Lowry appeared to be on the verge of becoming the US Open champion in June as he held a four-shot lead going into the final round of the competition.
However, nerves got the better of the Irishman on his last round as he endured a horrific spell on the course, allowing Johnson to snatch the crown from his grasp.
The 29-year-old and the other names on this list can take heart from the example of Johnson, who struggled with his own personal demons with the putter on several occasions in the Majors.
Lowry will have to rebuild his confidence following his collapse at Oakmont, which appeared to affect him at The Open as he failed to make the cut as a result of poor opening round.
A victory in New Jersey would go a long way to exercise his demons from the US Open, and aid the Irishman in his pursuit of further titles.