Expert picks: PGA Championship


This week marks the season's final major, as Oak Hill hosts the PGA Championship. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players, based on Golf Channel's fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams and staff writer Ryan Lavner. They are joined by former 'Saturday Night Live' star Norm Macdonald, who will serve as a celebrity guest.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Tiger Woods: You can wear out the search function on your laptop looking for reasons not to pick the world No. 1 this week, but if five victories in 2013 and a commanding performance last week at Firestone isn't enough to convince you, then you deserve to get burned.

Group 2: Ian Poulter: No, they haven't reverted back to the old match play format for the PGA, a move that would make the Englishman a perennial favorite at the year's final major, but he is playing well, having tied for third at the Open Championship. Normally Poulter has his best stuff toward the end of the season.

Group 3: Michael Thompson: He's been quiet since his breakthrough victory earlier this season at the Honda Classic, but he has the Shaun Micheel-like demeanor that seemed to work so well the last time the PGA was played upstate in 2003.

Group 4: Pablo Larrazabal: The Spaniard has been hit or miss for much of 2013, having finished inside the top 15 or missed the cut in his last 12 starts. He's worth taking a flyer on the chance that Oak Hill is one of those weeks.

Ryan Lavner

Group 1: Tiger Woods: Fresh off his thoroughly impressive victory at Firestone. Didn't play well here in '03, but with top-6s in two of the three majors this year, chances are he'll be in the mix again for major No. 15.

Group 2: Zach Johnson: The main key at Oak Hill will be to keep the ball in play, and few do that better than ZJ. He's clearly in form, too, with three consecutive finishes inside the top six.

Group 3: Jordan Spieth: Well-rested after a whirlwind start to the summer. One of the best iron players on Tour is a dark horse pick to win.

Group 4: Roberto Castro: Quietly consistent year with eight top-25 finishes. His two top 10s this season have come in his past four starts, including a tie for sixth in Canada.

Win McMurry

Group 1: Tiger Woods: With his seven-shot victory Sunday at Firestone, he brings immense confidence into this week at Oak Hill. When the PGA Championship was last played here in 2003 he finished T-39, but this is a much different year and a much different time for Tiger. He has top-10 finishes in two of the previous three majors this year and he's hungry for just one thing: another major win. Phil won the week before winning the Open Championship, and Tiger is set to do the same.

Group 2: Hunter Mahan: He was leading on Saturday in Canada a couple weeks ago before getting the call about the pending birth of his daughter. It always seems that family life agrees well with golfers. So, with the anxiety now gone and a healthy family to gain strength from, added to the fact he's played in the final group on Sunday in each of the last two majors, he's a strong bet.

Group 3: Miguel Angel Jimenez: The Spaniard had a good week in Akron (T-4), finished T-13 at the Open Championship and, as a bonus, he tied for 27th at last year's PGA Championship.

Group 4: Peter Uihlein: Primarily playing on the European Tour this year, he comes in off a T-10 finish at the Scottish Open, one of five top 10s this year (which includes a win in Portugal). He didn't play on the weekend in Reno, where he received an exemption last week, but the former U.S. Amateur champion has good buzz building around him this week.