Top 25 PGA Championship rankings
KIAWAH ISLAND, SC -- Here it is again for the final major of the year. The 25. If you've used my past three 25s for gambling purposes, you should at worst be living in a halfway house by now. At best, you got a free buffet wherever you placed your wagers.
Remember, there's no gambling at Bushwood, but here's my top 25 for your pleasure!
|1. Bo Van Pelt||How many guys have made the PGA Championship their first major title? Seems like all of them. Of course, that's not true, but coming into the week and looking at this course, one man fits all the requirements that it will take to win. Distance off the tee, shot-making/creative ability in the wind, and, most importantly, attitude.||T-17, 2005|
|2. Jason Dufner||He's destined to be a bridesmaid once again. Dufner is having his greatest year as a professional. And, after the heartbreak of last year, when he lost in a playoff at the PGA, you might think a runner-up finish in 2012 would hurt even more. That is, until you remember he has a couple of trophies to cry on and probably will win a major next year.||2nd, 2011|
|3. Rory McIlroy||Hard to call it a sophomore slump when it's not his second year, he's ranked No. 3 in the world and he has a win on the PGA Tour, but, after 2011 and the expectations we put on him and he put on himself, this could only be called a down year for McIlroy. A top-3 finish this week might make him feel a little better, but I'd say it'll just make him more hungry for 2013.||T-3, 2009, 2010|
|4. Dustin Johnson||The big-hitting hometown boy still won't get that major, not even close to home. Since his injury "timeout," the only cut he has missed was the U.S. Open, and following a top-10 at the Open Championship with a tie for 19th at Bridgestone this past week tells me his game is still in top shape.||T-5, 2010|
|5. Seung-yul Noh||The PGA Tour rookie is sending a pretty strong statement this year, making 20 of 24 cuts and having 10 top-25 finishes. With just over $1.2 million in earnings this year, the South Korea native will be making his first start in a 2012 major. He has made the cut in the past two PGAs and, with his new comfort level, I expect this will be his best finish in a major.||T-28, 2010|
|6. Bill Haas||Two top-20s in his past two starts (The Open Championship and Bridgestone) show me that he's falling back into the form that helped him win the 2011 FedEx Cup title. And, after seeing him relaxing at the farmers market in Fresh Fields earlier in the week, his cool, laid-back attitude shows me he's ready to continue his success and get into contention to win a major.||T-12, 2011|
|7. Keegan Bradley||Winning this past week was the kiss of death for any chance of repeating as PGA champion. And, to be honest with you, I struggled with putting him in the top-10. But I think, as most guys would be prime targets to miss the cut, Bradley is a different type of dude who can still play at a level. That might not get him back-to-back wins, but it should at least get him in the mix come the weekend.||Win, 2011|
|8. Robert Garrigus||Three second-place finishes this year, and that includes his last start, in Canada, where he said, "If I'd have made any putts, I'd have won by 5 shots." Well, he won't be so lucky this week at Kiawah as these greens can be tricky to read, but he will again play well enough to finish inside the top 10.||T-62, 2011|
|9. Luke Donald||Is there a more unassuming-looking world No. 1? Yet we people just have a hard time seeing the consistent stellar play from this guy. He has missed just one cut all year (U.S. Open) and has six top-10s, including a tie for fifth at the Open Championship. Length will be the biggest challenge for Donald this week because, when he starts trying to hit it far, he gets wild off the tee. If he plays his game, another top-10 will come.||T-3, 2006|
|10. Louis Oosthuizen||The fact that Oosthuizen never had a chance to win on Sunday at Bridgestone actually helped him. He comes into the week fresher than he would have been if he had been grinding to win coming down the stretch this past week. For a guy who's fourth in the FedEx Cup and third in the European Tour Race to Dubai, staying mentally fresh this late in the year makes a huge impact.||73rd, 2008|
|11. Adam Scott||It's a good thing the Aussie played Bridgestone this past week. He gave everyone the opportunity to come up to him and say how they were pulling for him, blah, blah, blah. Believe me when I tell you, it gets old after a while and you just want to get back to golf. Well, this week he can do that. He might not contend for the trophy, but being just outside the top 10 will give him hope that his game is still there.||T-3, 2006|
|12. Matteo Manassero||It would be hard to call Manassero a "young" phenom at 19. That's because he won his first European Tour event when he was 17! And he has won another since then. This 6-foot Italian kid has all the tools. His driving distance and greens in regulation accuracy numbers are both down a little this year, but I still feel as if he's ready to introduce himself to the U.S. audience.||T-37, 2011|
|13. Martin Kaymer||Spending most of his time on the European Tour this year, Kaymer isn't having a great season by any standards. But this course is very similar to where he won his major a couple of years ago at Whistling Straits, and playing the type of course you've won on in the past seems to bring out good golf from the best in the world.||Win, 2010|
|14. Charl Schwartzel||How about 50th, 38th and a missed cut. That's what Schwartzel has done in the majors so far this year. So why do I believe he'll crack the top 15 this week at the PGA Championship? Because, in his past two starts, he has gone 42nd and 24th, and that'd be "trending in the right direction."||T-12, 2011|
|15. Bubba Watson||Although he's a guy people call wild off the tee, Bubba has missed only two cuts all year, and, in the 12 cuts he has made, he has finished inside the top 25 in all of them. So bring on the elements! Bubba ain't scared.||2nd, 2010|
|16. Justin Rose||Followed up his only missed cut of the year at the Open with a strong fifth-place finish at Bridgestone. In the 13 cuts he has made this year on the PGA Tour, he has nine top-25s. I wouldn't expect anything less this week from a guy who is ranked fourth in the overall stats ranking on the tour this year.||T-9, 2008|
|17. Blake Adams||This will be the "sleeper" of the tournament. And yes, I saw he has missed his past two cuts. But he took a week off and he's coming in fresh and rested. Remember how well he played at the Players earlier this year? I do.||First appearance|
|18. Hunter Mahan||So you're out by one spot of the Ryder Cup and the guy in front of you is Phil Mickelson. Reminds me of NASCAR a little bit. You know the guy in front of you just blew an engine, and now you have to decide whether you can just race for a top-20. In Hunter's case, I say yes he can. But he'd better be careful because his finishes have been getting worse since AT&T National. He can't afford a missed cut. You know what hit the gas, man!||T-16, 2009|
|19. Tiger Woods||The man has been Jekyll and Hyde all year. Some weeks, he looks as if the old Tiger is making his way back (Memorial), then he looks as if he's back at square one again (Sunday at the Open Championship). What it comes down to is a guy who still hasn't found his "it" yet. He was right when he said he could win with his B-game, he just can't win or contend in a major.||Win, 1999, 2000, 2006, 2007|
|20. Bob Sowards||He's the head professional at Muirfield Country Club in Dublin, Ohio (aka Jack's Course.) Sowards is long off the tee and can flight the ball low or high. He's going to be the best finisher of all the PGA professionals in the field and a top-20 might even get him inspired enough to play a few more tour events.||MC, five times|
|21. Gary Woodland||Injuries and a big swing change have made 2012 a horrible year in comparison to 2011 for Woodland. He has made 13 cuts with only two top-25s. A total of $417,588 in earnings has him about $3 million short of where he finished last year. The good news is, he's now healthy and the swing changes seem to have taken hold.||T-12, 2011|
|22. Geoff Ogilvy||Only one top-10 this year so far for the Australian is a bit of a disappointment. The fact that it came at the Open Championship is a cause for hope. To follow that up with a tie for 24th at Bridgestone means his game should still be on point coming into the year's final major.||T-6, 2005, 2007|
|23. Graeme McDowell||He was 12th at the Masters, second at the U.S. Open and fifth at the Open Championship. So putting McDowell this far back out of the top 10 at a major this year could be a huge mistake for me. But I'm counting on Mother Nature doing her thing Thursday at 1:50 p.m. ET when he tees off because she's the only thing that's going to hold him back. Am I asking too much of her?||T-10, 2009|
|24. Bud Cauley||He has doubled his top-10s from a year ago to four. I guess I should mention he did it last year in eight events, and this year he has missed six cuts. However, Cauley is coming off two top-5 finishes, in Mississippi and Canada, so I expect, in an area only a few hours from where he lives, the course and conditions will play into his hands.||First appearance|
|25. Mike Small||He's been the golf coach at the University of Illinois since 2000, but many forget he was a touring pro at one time. He has 69 career starts on the PGA Tour, made 24 cuts and even threw in a top-10. Small also has won the PGA Professionals Championship three times (2005, 2009, 2010), so he knows how to play in big events. Length might be the only thing that holds him back if the course gets too soft.||T-69, 2007, 2011|
Michael Collins covers golf for ESPN.com. He can be reached at ESPNcaddie@gmail.com.
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2012 PGA CHAMPIONSHIP
In recent months, Rory McIlroy admitted he heard the questions about his game going south. After Sunday's record-setting win at the PGA, those critics have been silenced. Gene Wojciechowski
2012 champion: Rory McIlroy
Course: The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island
Where: Kiawah Island, S.C.
Yardage, par: 7,676 yards, par-72