MCN Sport’s James Marshall on The 2017 USPGA Championship

With American Jimmy Walker looking to defend his lone major championship he won back in 2016, the 99th USPGA Championship will be show stopping stuff. LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on FOX SPORTS from 7-13 August, Quail Hollow will play host to the most anticipated Major championship in a recent memory.

The USPGA undoubtedly sits last on the list of major ‘prestige’, however, it does have a prodigious habit of producing first time major winners. Many will remember the USPGA was where Aussie Jason Day broke through for his first major in 2015, as the then 27 year old went ‘wire to wire’ to dominate the field at Whistling Straits. But, Day is joined by Jason Dufner (2013), Rory McIlroy (2012), Kegan Bradley (2011) and Martin Kaymer (2010) as recent players to all break their major droughts at this tournament. 

The most famous of recent first time winners is arguably Korean, YE-Yang, who back in 2009 overcame the formidable Tiger Woods in the final round at Hazeltine, Minnesota. Woods went into the final round leading the field by two strokes, a leading position that he had won all his previous 14 majors in, but succumbed to Yang who became the first Asian born player to win a major

In keeping with the USPGA’s tradition of producing first time winners, here are a few names that I think could lift the famous Wanamaker Trophy. Top of the list has to be Englishman Lee Westwood who is currently, without question, the best player to have ever not won a major. The former World Number One, (yep…Westwood was World Number One back when Tiger took time off in October 2010), has struggled in this major, but does have a T-3 to his name back in 2009. 

Young gun Ricky Fowler is, in my opinion, second on the list of best players not to win a major, and has threatened this year, leading the 2017 US Open after round one with a sizzling seven under par round. The pick for me though will be polarising American, Patrick Reed, who’s emotion on the course is both his biggest strength and achilles heel. Reed is a five time winner on the US Tour and will be first picked to represent the US in the Presidents Cup later in the year given his tenacity and ability to spur on home crowds with his gusty play. No one putts better than Reed when his confidence is up, (just ask Rory McIlroy who played him on Sunday in last year’s Ryder Cup), and in front of a raucous South Carolina crowd, I can see the American smiling on Sunday afternoon holding the trophy aloft. 

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