The fourth and final major of 2018 will take place from August 9-12. Bellerive Country Club is hosting the 100th PGA Championship, one which will see Justin Thomas defend his title.
Will Thomas be a leading contender and achieve back-to-back victories in the event? Will Dustin Johnson cement his place as world number one? Are Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Jordan Spieth set to contend once again after going close in The Open? Or will Tiger Woods build on his impressive week at Carnoustie and add to his 14 majors?
Essential Golf assesses the chances of the leading contenders ahead of the PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club.
Thomas underlined his status as an emerging talent 12 months ago at Quail Hollow when winning the PGA Championship—his first major. The pressure will be even greater, as the defending champion endured a tough weekend at The Open after missing the cut. That aside, Thomas has been in solid—if unspectacular—form. A return to the PGA Championship may make him a contender.
Johnson remains world number one, but he will be bidding to bounce back from missing his first cut of the year at The Open. Carnoustie held plenty of demons for Johnson, but his form throughout the year on the PGA TOUR and other majors means you should count him out at your own peril. This could be the year the big-hitting American adds to his 2016 U.S. Open success.
McIlroy went close to adding to his three majors in The Open and—with a hotter putter—could well have threatened Francesco Molinari at Carnoustie. As a two-time winner of the PGA Championship (in 2012 and 2014), this last major is an event McIlroy enjoys. The Northern Irishman could be warming up nicely to lift another trophy.
Spieth has had a largely ordinary season, but he has come to life in two of the three majors he has played so far: he finished third in The Masters Tournament and ninth in The Open. He led the latter heading into the last round but was unable to produce the goods and achieve back-to-back wins in the event. The PGA Championship title remains elusive to Spieth as he chases a career grand slam; he’ll be giving it his all this year at Bellerive Country Club.
The Tiger of old returned in force in The Open, offering fans hope that he could yet add to his haul of 14 major victories. Woods led during the last round at Carnoustie but couldn’t quite get the job done, finishing sixth in the end. But there was some of the vintage play that attracted fans to the game and—who knows—he could yet become a five-time winner of PGA Championship. He has already lifted the trophy four times in 1999, 2000, 2006 and 2007.
Rose endured mixed fortunes in The Open, finishing in second place after a sensational weekend at Carnoustie. The close call will have fired up the Englishman, he’ll be vying for a shot at winning a second major, having been U.S. Open champion in 2013. Could Bellerive Country Club see him winning again?
See also: Who is The Open 2018 Winner Francesco Molinari?