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PGA Championship: Key players to watch at Oak Hill

Rochester Business Journal
August 2, 2013

Who will claim the Wanamaker Trophy at Oak Hill Country Club in August-one of the world's top-ranked players or a competitor who, like Rich Beem or Shaun Micheel, will emerge from obscurity to take the prize? The answer will come in due course. For now, here are short profiles of some key players who might rise to the occasion. All rankings and money figures are as of the second week in July.

Keegan Bradley
The nephew of Pat Bradley, the LPGA great and World Golf Hall of Fame member, Keegan Bradley has three career PGA Tour wins-including the 2011 PGA Championship. An all-state skier in Vermont before he turned golf pro in 2008, Bradley finished second at the HP Byron Nelson Championship in May. He ranks 16th in the world and 12th on the 2013 money list with $2.2 million.

Jason Day
A native of Queensland, Australia, Jason Day finished in a tie for second at the U.S. Open in June and placed third at the Masters Tournament in April. He is eighth on the 2013 money list with $2.6 million and ranks 18th in the Official World Golf Ranking. Day has one career PGA Tour victory.

Luke Donald
A native of England, Luke Donald is known for his superior short game. In 2011, he claimed the top spot in the world ranking, which he held for 55 weeks. He was the first player ever to finish atop both the PGA Tour and European Tour money lists in the same season, and he earned player of the year honors on both tours. He has five career wins and currently ranks ninth in the world. His earnings this year top $1.2 million.

Jason Dufner
Born in Cleveland, Jason Dufner is a two-time winner on the PGA Tour and in 2011 was runner-up at the PGA Championship in a playoff to Keegan Bradley. He tied for fourth at this year's Masters. He currently ranks 21st in the World Rankings, with $817,794 in 2013 earnings.

Ernie Els
A native of Johannesburg, South Africa, Ernie Els was the PGA Tour rookie of the year in 1994. Among his 19 PGA tour wins and 66 career victories are four major championships: He is one of only six golfers to twice win both the U.S. Open and the British Open. His best finish in a PGA Championship was third in 1996. Els was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2010. On the list of all-time money leaders, he ranks fifth, with $45.6 million.

Jim Furyk
The 2010 PGA Tour player of the year, Jim Furyk is known for his unorthodox swing. He has one major on his resume, the 2003 U.S. Open. He has 26 professional wins, including 16 on the PGA Tour. In 2006, he received the Vardon Trophy, which is awarded by the PGA of America to the PGA Tour's leader in scoring average. A native of Westchester, Pa., Furyk has earned nearly $54 million in his career-placing fourth among all-time money leaders.

Sergio Garcia
A Spaniard, Sergio Garcia has won 24 international tournaments, including the Players Championship in 2008. He started playing at age 3. Nicknamed "El Nino," he turned pro and joined the PGA Tour in 1999. He twice has finished second in the PGA Championship-in 1999 and 2008-and twice also nearly won the British Open. At the Masters and the Players Championship this year, he tied for eighth. At the latter tournament, Garcia was in the lead until he put three balls into the water on the final two holes, finishing quadruple-bogey, double-bogey. He currently ranks 14th in the world and has nearly $32 million in career earnings.

Matt Kuchar
Winner of the Players Championship in 2012, Matt Kuchar has posted two PGA Tour victories this year-at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship and the Memorial Tournament-and currently ranks fifth on the Official World Golf Ranking. His earnings for the season total nearly $4.4 million. A Florida native, Kuchar in 2010 won the Vardon Trophy and topped the PGA Tour money list. He has a total of nine PGA Tour wins.

Graeme McDowell
Born in Northern Ireland, Graeme McDowell won the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach-becoming the first European in four decades to do so. He has nine career victories, including two on the PGA Tour. In 2013, he has won the RBC Heritage tournament and pocketed $1.9 million. He currently ranks sixth on the Official World Golf Ranking.

Rory McIlroy
Another native of Northern Ireland, Rory McIlroy is the reigning PGA Champion and a former world No. 1. Born in 1989, he won the 2011 U.S. Open by eight strokes with a record score of 16-under-par. His PGA Championship win the following year also was by a record eight strokes. The previous record of seven strokes had been set by Jack Nicklaus in 1980 at Oak Hill. Last year, McIlroy became the youngest player to reach $10 million in career earnings on the PGA Tour. His earnings now total nearly $15 million. McIlroy ranks second in the world currently, though he has not posted a PGA Tour win this season.

Phil Mickelson
Nicknamed "Lefty," Phil Mickelson was born in San Diego and is right-handed at everything but golf. He learned to play left-handed as a child by watching his father play right-handed and mirroring his movements. Mickelson joined the PGA Tour in 1992. His first victory on the tour-at the Northern Telecom Open-came in 1991 before he turned professional. At the time he was the first amateur in more than 15 years to win a PGA Tour event. He has gone on to win 41 PGA Tour events-ninth all time-and 54 altogether. Mickelson is a three-time Masters winner and captured the PGA Championship title in 2005. His career earnings of more than $71 million rank second on the all-time money list.

Justin Rose
A South Africa-born English golfer, Justin Rose won the 2013 U.S. Open. It was his first major title and marked the first victory at a major by an English player since Nick Faldo won in 1996. He has 14 professional wins, including five on the PGA Tour. Rose ranks third on the Official World Golf Ranking with $3 million in 2013 earnings.

Adam Scott
A native of Australia, Adam Scott won the 2013 Masters-his first major and the first victory by an Australian in its 77-year history. He also won the 2004 Players Championship. At the British Open in 2012, Scott took a four-stroke lead into the final round, but his collapse on the home stretch left him one shot behind winner Ernie Els. He has a total of 21 professional wins, including nine on the PGA Tour. Scott currently ranks fourth in the world.

Webb Simpson
The North Carolina native captured the 2012 U.S. Open title. He won by a stroke over Graeme McDowell and Michael Thompson. Simpson has two other PGA Tour wins as well. He ranks 19th in the Official World Golf Ranking and has earned $2 million so far this year.

Brandt Snedeker
Winner of the 2012 FedEx Cup with a victory in the season-ending Tour Championship, Brandt Snedeker ranks seventh in the world, with one win this season and nearly $3.7 million in 2013 earnings. Snedeker, a native of Nashville, turned pro in 2004 and was PGA Tour rookie of the year in 2007. He has twice finished third at majors-at the 2008 Masters and 2012 British Open. He has a total of seven professional wins, including two on the PGA Tour.

Steve Stricker
Born in Wisconsin, Steve Stricker ranks 11th in the world, though he is winless in 2013. He has 21 professional victories to his credit, including 12 on the PGA Tour. At the 1998 PGA Championship, Stricker posted his best performance at a major-a second-place finish to Vijay Singh. Over the course of his career, he has earned more than $37 million.

Bubba Watson
One of relatively few left-handed players on the PGA Tour, Bubba Watson in 2012 took home his first major title-the Masters. He now has a total of six professional wins, four on the PGA Tour. He finished second at the 2010 PGA Championship. The Florida native has $18 million in career earnings and ranks 17th in the world.

Lee Westwood
A 40-year-old native of England, Lee Westwood has won tournaments on every major continent-one of a few pro golfers to have accomplished the feat. He has 39 professional wins, though only two have come on the PGA Tour. Westwood has not won a major, but he has finished second twice-at the Masters and U.S. Open in 2010-and the year before was third at the PGA Championship. In October 2010, he became the No. 1 player in the world-knocking Tiger Woods from the top spot-and he has held that position for a total of 22 weeks. He currently ranks 12th.

Tiger Woods
Since turning pro in 1996 at age 21, Tiger Woods earned a place among the greatest players of the game, winning 78 tournaments and setting dozens of PGA Tour records. His career earnings are also No. 1-totaling $107 million. Woods won his first major, the 1997 Masters, with a record-breaking performance. He now has 14 major victories including four PGA Championship titles. He has been PGA Tour player of the year 10 times. This season he has added four PGA Tour wins to his total and pocketed nearly $6 million. Featured in Golf Digest at age 5, the California native got the nickname Tiger after a Vietnamese soldier who was his father's friend in Vietnam.

8/2/13 95th PGA Championship special supplement (c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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