Expert picks: PGA Championship


This week the world's best travel to South Carolina to battle over the Wanamaker Trophy in the season's final major, the PGA Championship. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel consists of: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin;'s Rob Bolton; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams and staff writer Ryan Lavner.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Tiger Woods: His play last week at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational aside, Woods has put himself in the mix at the last two majors and has now played 13 Grand Slam events without a win. It has to happen sooner or later and Kiawah is as good a place as any.

Group 2: Dustin Johnson: Asked one Tour swing coach who he liked this week and he smiled, 'Someone who is long and can draw the ball.' According to Webster's Dictionary, that would be DJ (with an honorable mention for Lucas Glover).

Group 3: Geoff Ogilvy: Although he doesn't have the best record recently at 'Glory's Last Shot,' the Australian knows how to win the big event and his tie for ninth at the Open Championship is a good indication of how he may play at Kiawah.

Group 4: Trevor Immelman: Count this as an omen pick. We covered the last major event played at Kiawah, the 2003 World Cup, which was won by Immelman and fellow South African Rory Sabbatini.

Jay Coffin

Group 1: Tiger Woods: Not necessarily sure he'll win, just want to make sure he's on my team when he does.

Group 2: Dustin Johnson: DJ in South Carolina at a place where bunkers are not bunkers? Sounds perfect.

Group 3: Johnson Wagner: Let's call this the omen pick. Wagner was the first person I saw when I got on property.

Group 4: Jeff Overton: You're just looking for value in Group 4 and if he can make a cut, it's good value.

Ryan Lavner

Group 1: Matt Kuchar: Already this season he has excelled on one of Pete Dye's courses (TPC Sawgrass), and he has posted two top 10s in the majors. The winner this week at Kiawah will be a strong-minded, steady plodder with a tidy short game - sounds an awful lot like Kooch, no?

Group 2: Dustin Johnson: There are several reasons to feel good about DJ this week: he's playing in his home state; he's one of the Tour's longest hitters; and he wouldn't mind exacting a little revenge on Pete Dye.

Group 3: Padraig Harrington: The Irishman is a proven winner with a pair of top 10s at the majors this year. A good sand player and streaky putter, too.

Group 4: Scott Stallings: What lost season? In his past two starts he has a win and a T-7. This guy has rediscovered his game.

Jason Sobel

Group 1: Graeme McDowell: After two straight major final rounds in the final pairing, GMac is ready to contend once again.

Group 2: Dustin Johnson: The Ocean Course seems tailor-made for DJ - and no, that's not just because of this week's 'no bunker' policy.

Group 3: Kyle Stanley: Watched him play 18 holes on Sunday and the kid's an absolute stud. Could be his time to shine.

Group 4: Thorbjorn Olesen: Whether it was an oversight by Mr. Fantasy or just a strange move, placed at the bottom of Group 4 amongst the club pros is a kid who seriously contended at Lytham.

Win McMurry

Group 1: Tiger Woods: It's past time for number 15. He gets it in the last major of the season.

Group 2: David Toms: He's coming off a T-8 at Firestone and a T-4 at the U.S. Open. The 2001 PGA champ is in great shape to add a 14th win to his resume and he just might do it at Kiawah.

Group 3: Geoff Ogilvy: Eight top-25s this year, including a season-best T-9 finish at the U.S. Open. This Aussie ball-striker could be lethal in the winds at the Ocean Course.

Group 4: Davis Love III: Don't under-estimate the Ryder Cup captain at Kiawah. The Carolina native feels very comfortable here and the distraction of the upcoming matches at Medinah may work to his advantage.

Randall Mell

Group 1: Luke Donald: Donald doesn't seem like he would be the favorite at this ballpark, but his short game will win him his first major.

Group 2: Zach Johnson: Two wins this year show just what control he has over his golf ball right now.

Group 3: Geoff Ogilvy: 2006 U.S. Open winner may remind us all just how good he can be.

Group 4: Sean O'Hair: Under-appreciated talent who knows how to collect trophies.

Rob Bolton

Group 1: Tiger Woods: Quite simply, if I'm going to get outscored, it'll have to be with someone other than the 14-time major champion.

Group 2: Louis Oosthuizen: Flashed tip-top form at Firestone en route to a solo fourth. World-class tee-to-green game is imperative at Kiawah.

Group 3: Robert Garrigus: Absolute no-brainer. May not be anyone more confident about his game right now. Could lead the field in both distance off the tee and greens hit.

Group 4: Thorbjorn Olesen: Dismissing back-nine fade in Austria two weeks ago. Shared ninth place at the British and won in Sicily along the Mediterranean in early spring.