Commentary

Six reasons why Adam Scott will win

Originally Published: August 9, 2011
By Matt Willis | ESPN.com

With one more major remaining this year, and looking back at recent seasons as well, there's been a certain theme -- unpredictability.

We're riding a stretch of 12 consecutive different major winners, nine of whom won their first career major.

[+] EnlargeScott
Andrew Redington/Getty ImagesIf Adam Scott can win the PGA Championship this week at Atlanta Athletic Club, he'll be the 13th straight different major winner.

Borrowing from my friend and fellow ESPN researcher Justin Ray's golf blog, we find out just how unpredictable these majors have been. Take last month's Open Championship, where Darren Clarke, ranked 111th in the world, took the win.

Only two of the last 12 major winners were ranked inside the top 10 in the world at the time of their win, and five were outside the world's top 50.

Of the current top-10 players in the world, seven have never won a major. By my math, that leaves this weekend wide open.

But I'll do my best to pick a winner, using a little method I call the Eliminator. Simply put, there's 156 golfers in this weekend's field, and I'll find reasons why 155 of them cannot win, using a variety of statistics and historical trends.

By process of elimination (get it?), the one remaining will be your PGA Championship winner. Don't forget, this little diddy nailed Rory McIlroy at the U.S. Open.

First of all, it's going to take a little experience to win. Each of the last seven PGA Championship winners had at least two prior starts in the event. We blast apart the field early, taking out 50 golfers.

I don't just want experience in the PGA Championship, I want results. Six of the last seven PGA Championship winners made the cut in the previous year's tournament, and that seventh didn't play. Furthermore, the last 10 winners who played in the previous year's PGA Championship made the cut in the event. So we'll take out the 60 golfers in this week's field who didn't make the cut last year, and we're down to 46.

Obviously, we're looking for somebody who's sniffed the top of the leaderboard this year. Nineteen of the last 20 PGA Championship winners had at least a top-three finish on the PGA Tour that same season. That takes out 19 more, including guys like Tiger Woods, Paul Casey and Ian Poulter.

Let's look back at the last major played, because six of the last seven PGA Championship winners made the cut at the same year's Open Championship. Another 11 go by the wayside, including Matt Kuchar and Nick Watney.

Keep an eye out for those who played well in their last events. Each of the last seven PGA Championship winners finished at least 22nd in their last PGA Tour start. That's enough to get rid of another 11, including Martin Kaymer, Charl Schwartzel and Dustin Johnson.

With just five remaining in the field, I'll finish things off by adding that five of the last seven PGA Championship winners finished in the top 10 in that year's Masters Tournament. That takes out Rory McIlroy, Steve Stricker, Zach Johnson and Bubba Watson, and leaves us with one.

Did you enjoy seeing Adam Scott win the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last week? Get used to it, because I foresee Scott getting his first career major this week. Remember, the numbers never lie.


PGA Championship Eliminator: Step-by-Step:

1. The last seven PGA Championship winners had at least two prior starts in the event. (50 eliminated, 106 remaining)

Golfers Eliminated:
Thomas Aiken
Fredrik Andersson Hed
Arjun Atwal
Daniel Balin
Ricky Barnes
Gregory Bourdy
Keegan Bradley
Brian Cairns
Todd Camplin
Jason Day
Brendon de Jonge
Jamie Donaldson
Sean Dougherty
Scott Erdmann
Rickie Fowler
Tommy Gainey
Robert Garrigus
Tom Gillis
Bill Haas
David Horsey
David Hutsell
Yuta Ikeda
Faber Jameson
Marty Jertson
Kyung-tae Kim
Chris Kirk
Martin Laird
Brad Lardon
Pablo Larrazabal
Spencer Levin
Bill Lunde
Matteo Manassero
Robert McClellan
Bryce Molder
Edoardo Molinari
Seung-yul Noh
Alexander Noren
Dan Olsen
Scott Piercy
D.A. Points
Webb Simpson
Stuart Smith
Jeff Sorenson
Scott Stallings
Brendan Steele
Kevin Streelman
Cameron Tringale
Jhonattan Vegas
Johnson Wagner
Gary Woodland

2. Six of the last seven PGA Championship winners played in and made the cut at last year's PGA Championship. (60 eliminated, 46 remaining)

Golfers Eliminated:
Robert Allenby
Aaron Baddeley
Rich Beem
Thomas Bjorn
Michael Bradley
Mark Brooks
Jonathan Byrd
Angel Cabrera
Jeff Coston
John Daly
Luke Donald
Johan Edfors
Ross Fisher
Harrison Frazar
Hiroyuki Fujita
Sergio Garcia
Lucas Glover
Richard Green
Anders Hansen
Padraig Harrington
J.J. Henry
Tetsuji Hiratsuka
Charley Hoffman
Ryuji Imada
Trevor Immelman
Ryo Ishikawa
Fredrik Jacobson
Raphael Jacquelin
Miguel Angel Jimenez
Brandt Jobe
Brendan Jones
Jerry Kelly
Anthony Kim
Hunter Mahan
Steve Marino
Graeme McDowell
Rocco Mediate
Rob Moss
Larry Nelson
Mike Northern
Sean O'Hair
Geoff Ogilvy
Jose Maria Olazabal
Louis Oosthuizen
Jerry Pate
Alvaro Quiros
John Rollins
Andres Romero
Justin Rose
Rory Sabbatini
Steve Schneiter
John Senden
Mike Small
Bob Sowards
Craig Stevens
Scott Verplank
Lee Westwood
Charlie Wi
Mark Wilson
Y.E. Yang

3. 19 of the last 20 PGA Championship winners had a top-three finish on the PGA TOUR that season. (19 eliminated, 27 remaining)

Golfers Eliminated:
Paul Casey
Stewart Cink
Ben Crane
Brian Davis
Simon Dyson
Steve Elkington
Ernie Els
Jim Furyk
Stephen Gallacher
Brian Gay
Peter Hanson
J.B. Holmes
Wen-Chong Liang
Davis Love III
Shaun Micheel
Ian Poulter
Heath Slocum
D.J. Trahan
Tiger Woods

4. Six of the last seven PGA Championship winners made the cut at the same year's British Open. (11 eliminated, 16 remaining)

Golfers Eliminated:
Jason Dufner
Retief Goosen
Robert Karlsson
Matt Kuchar
Francesco Molinari
Kevin Na
Vijay Singh
Brandt Snedeker
David Toms
Camilo Villegas
Nick Watney

5. The last seven PGA Championship winners finished at least 22nd in their last PGA TOUR starts. (11 eliminated, 5 remaining)

Golfers Eliminated:
K.J. Choi
Darren Clarke
Charles Howell III
Dustin Johnson
Martin Kaymer
Phil Mickelson
Ryan Moore
Jeff Overton
Ryan Palmer
Charl Schwartzel
Bo Van Pelt

6. Five of the last seven PGA Championship winners finished in the top 10 of that same year's Masters. (4 eliminated, 1 remaining)

Golfers Eliminated:
Zach Johnson
Rory McIlroy
Steve Stricker
Bubba Watson

Your winner: Adam Scott

Matt Willis has been a production researcher with the ESPN Stats & Information group since 2006, working on "NASCAR Now" and "SportsCenter," among other shows. You can reach Matt at ESPNMattWillis@yahoo.com.

Matt Willis has been a studio researcher at ESPN since 2006, working on "NASCAR Now" and "SportsCenter," among other shows. He graduated from Ithaca College in 2006 with a degree in journalism. While there, he worked on ICTV, on shows such as "Ya Think You Know Sports?" and "Sports Final." He also was a member of the IC Comedy Club and figures about half of the jokes he makes in his column are actually funny.