1. Jordan Spieth, United States — Had a couple more putts dropped for Spieth in the Open Championship at St. Andrews, he would be going for the Grand Slam this week in the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. Instead, he tied for fourth, one stroke out of the playoff won by Zach Johnson. Still, there is much for Spieth, 22, to play for, including joining Ben Hogan (1953) and Tiger Woods (2000) as the only players to win three professional majors in one season. The Masters and U.S. Open champion also can take the No. 1 spot in the World Golf Rankings from Rory McIlroy, but he must finish at least third. Spieth has finished in the top 10 in his last five events.
2. Rory McIlroy, Northern Ireland — Rory says his injured left ankle, which knocked him out of title defenses in the Open Championship and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational is not an issue. That means if he can knock any rust off his game after not playing competitively for six weeks, he could make a strong title defense in the PGA. McIlroy has won four majors by the age of 25, and has had great success in the final Grand Slam event of the year. He won last year at Valhalla by one stroke over Phil Mickelson, by eight in 2012 at Kiawah Island, and has three other top-10 finishes, including a tie for third when it was last played at Whistling Straits in 2010, missing the playoff won by Martin Kaymer by one stroke.
3. Jason Day, Australia — According to the World Golf Rankings, in which he has risen to No. 5, Day has replaced Adam Scott as the best Aussie, and all he needs to complete his resume is a major title. He has come very close, finishing in the top 10 on six occasions in the Grand Slam tournaments in the last three years. That includes this year, in which he tied for ninth in the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay despite battling vertigo, and tied for fourth in the Open Championship at St. Andrews, missing the playoff won by Zach Johnson by one shot. Day, who tied for 10th in the 2010 PGA at Whistling Straits, has two victories this season and finished no worse than a tie for 12th last week in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in his last four starts.
4. Dustin Johnson, United States — DJ’s heartbreak in the majors has been well-chronicled, including his final-hole meltdown the last time the PGA was played at Whistling Straits in 2010. He held a one-stroke lead on the last hole, but made a bogey and missed the playoff won by Martin Kaymer because he was penalized two strokes for grounding his club in a sandy area that was deemed to be a bunker. That tie for fifth is one of his nine finishes in the top 10 of the Grand Slam events since 2009, including a tie for second in the U.S. Open in June at Chambers Bay, where he had a putt to win but three-putted the final green and finished one stroke behind Jordan Spieth in a tie for second.
5. Rickie Fowler, United States — Since he finally breaking through in a big event, winning the Players Championship in a playoff in May, about the only thing left for Fowler to prove his that he can win a major. Not that he hasn’t been trying, finishing in the top five in all four events last year, including a tie for third in the PGA at Valhalla, two strokes behind winner Rory McIlroy. Even though Rickie is enjoying a career year, with five finishes in the top 10, he has not been as good in the Grand Slam tournaments, tying for 12th in the Masters, missing the cut in the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay and tying for 30th in the Open Championship at St. Andrews. He tied for 58th in the 2010 PGA at Whistling Straits.
6. Adam Scott, Australia — When Scott became the first Aussie to capture the Masters in 2013, the consensus opinion was that the major floodgates would open, but since then … nothing. Certainly, he has continued to play well in the Grand Slam events, with six top-10 results since he broke through at Augusta, but he has yet to take a tournament by the throat and make it his despite having several chances. Not only that, Scotty seemed lost without Steve Williams on the bag early this year, but when the Kiwi returned he tied for fourth in the U.S. Open and tied for 10th in the Open Championship. This will be his last major with the anchored putter, which has been outlawed as of Jan. 1, and he tied for 39th when the PGA was played at Whistling Straits in 2010.
7. Bubba Watson, United States — When the PGA Championship was played at Whistling Straits in 2010, Bubba held a one-stroke lead over Martin Kaymer with a birdie on the first extra hole, but wound up losing the three-hole aggregate playoff to the German star. Even though he won the Masters in 2012 and 2014, Watson has only one other top-10 finish in the majors, a tie for fifth in the 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont. He has risen to No. 3 in the World Golf Rankings thanks to six finishes in the top three this season, including two victories, but has not played well in the majors. Watson tied for 38th in his title defense at the Masters and missed the cut in both the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay and the Open Championship at St. Andrews.
8. Justin Rose, England — After becoming the first Englishman since Tony Jacklin in 1970 to capture the U.S. Open two years ago, Rose wasn’t much of a factor in the next six majors. Then he tied for second in the Masters in April, four strokes behind Jordan Spieth, and tied for sixth in the Open Championship at St. Andrews, four shots out of the playoff won by Zach Johnson. Rose is having a strong season, with four finishes in the top three, including a victory in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, and has finished no worse than T6 in the Open in his last three starts. Rosy shot 74-74 — 148 to miss the cut by three strokes the last time the PGA was held at Whistling Straits in 2010.
9. Martin Kaymer, Germany — Despite the fact that he is in the midst of another mediocre season, there are two huge reasons to include the big German on this list. He won the PGA Championship when it was last played at Whistling Straits in 2010 and he came out of nowhere last year to claim his second major title, winning the U.S. Open by eighth strokes at Pinehurst No. 2. Kaymer, who has won 22 times as a pro, beat Bubba Watson in a three-hole aggregate playoff five years ago in the PGA, winning with a closing bogey after Watson hit into the water and made double bogey. Kaymer showed some of his best form when he tied for 12th in the Open Championship at St. Andrews.
10. Tiger Woods/Phil Mickelson, United States — If odds makers can lump these guys together at 50-1, guess we can too. The best players in the previous era are on the downside of greatness, but have summoned their best golf in recent years in the majors. Lefty claimed his fifth major title in the 2013 Open Championship at Turnberry and tied for second this year in the Masters. Tiger was in the hunt this year at Augusta until fading in the final round to tie for 17th and had two top-10s in the majors two years ago. Mickelson captured the PGA in 2005 at Baltusrol and Woods counts four PGAs (2000, 2005, 2006, 2007) among his 14 major titles.