Unpredictability has been the predominant theme going into all the majors in recent years and this week’s PGA Championship on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort is no exception.
Sixteen different players have claimed the last 16 major titles and that trend could continue as players such as the world’s top-ranked player, Luke Donald, and fourth-ranked Lee Westwood aim for their first grand slam crowns.
The dominant era of 14-time major winner Tiger Woods ended four years ago, his aura of invincibility swiftly disappearing as he battled injuries and tried to rebuild his golf swing and private life following the breakup of his marriage.
Though Woods has produced good form at times this year, winning a season-high three times on the PGA Tour, he has always judged the true success of his golfing campaigns by the number of majors won.
“Winning golf tournaments makes it successful, but winning a major makes it a great year,” said Woods, a four-time PGA Championship winner. “You can go from having a ‘so-so’ year to all of a sudden winning one major and ... it’s a great year because you’re part of history when you do something like that.”
While Woods seeks a 15th major crown on the wind-swept Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, Englishman Donald will be hunting his first, the single glaring hole in an otherwise glittering career resume.
“Since I first turned pro, the goal was always to win majors and that hasn’t changed,” Donald said.
Other likely contenders this week are Masters champion Bubba Watson, 2011 U.S. Open winner Rory McIlroy, British duo Westwood and Justin Rose, Americans Steve Stricker, Hunter Mahan and Dufner, and South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel.
Whoever ends up lifting the prized Wanamaker Trophy on Sunday will have coped best with one of golf’s toughest challenges.