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Who will win the PGA Championship

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Who will win the 92nd PGA Championship at Whistling Straits? Senior writers Rex Hoggard and Randall Mell offer up their opinions.

By REX HOGGARD

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Winds gusting to 25 mph and a swing that, at least on Saturday, seemed as sound as the Midwestern sensibilities that define this area will be the ultimate arbiter on Sunday at Whistling Straits, but then golf’s capricious ways have a history of upending the storybook.

With a three-stroke lead and a game trending in all the right directions, Nick Watney seems the easy pick to hoist glory at her last stand, but it’s the man Watney will venture out onto the faux links land with that gets our nod for early favorite.

If careers are defined by major moments both large and small, Dustin Johnson may well point to his fateful final round earlier this year at Pebble Beach as the turning point in his promising career.

Three days after his Pebble Beach meltdown Johnson and caddie Bobby Brown got around to watching Sunday’s replay, all 82 pops.

“I think the light went off (for Johnson) that I’m on my way to being one of the best,” Brown said.

Since Pebble Beach, Johnson has finished T-14 (Open Championship), T-19 (Scandinavian Masters) and 15th (WGC-Bridgestone Championship) and he’s gotten better with each round at Whistling Straits (71-68-67).

Watney may have the early edge, but Johnson is the easy favorite.

By RANDALL MELL

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Rory McIlroy is 21 and going on 30.

That’s the maturity level we’re seeing on and off the golf course from the man from Northern Ireland.

It’s what wins him the PGA Championship and his first major today.

McIlroy is already showing there’s no fear in him in the biggest events and against the best fields. Coming to Whistling Straits this week, he had played in seven major championships as a pro. He had top-10 finishes in three of them, including T-3s at last year’s PGA Championship and this year’s British Open.

Two strong signs that he’s ready to break through under major championship pressure have come this season. McIlroy’s 62 in the final-round of the Quail Hollow Championship was eye opening. You could argue it’s more the fifth major than The Players Championship. The strength of that field, the quality of that golf course, it radiated major vibes.

Last month, McIlroy showed his special gifts with that 63 in the first round of the British Open, but he showed us something just as important after faltering with an 80 in terrible weather in the second round. He bounced back with a 69 and 68 to tie for third.

It’s the ability to withstand disappointment and persevere that helps him win today.