In the build up to the Scottish Senior Open last weekend we caught up with the eventual winner, Paul Broadhurst, and his fellow competitors messers James, Lane, Rafferty, Torrance and Woosnam to get their take on the final major of the year. Read on to find out who they think will be victorious at Quail Hollow this year.
Two-time Scottish Senior Open champion Paul Broadhurst and his fellow Scottish Senior Open competitors provide their thoughts on this year's US PGA Championships.
What are the US PGA Championships all about?
It's a proper examination. The courses are set up in a really difficult way, but you know, it's the fourth major and I'm sure the guys are really looking forward to playing in it.
What do you make of the British challenge?
I'll guess it will be the likely suspects. The Justin Roses, the Rories (hopefully), the Westwoods - Poulter has come into a bit of form and seems to be playing better now, but it's always difficult on US turf for a European to win out there I feel.
And Rory McIlroy - familiar course to him, unfamiliar caddy?
I would guess he'll be working with his new caddy this week on aspects of his game, but Rory's concern is his game - really, it's a little bit and up and down at the moment. We saw that at The Open, but Rory's A-game has every chance of winning - and hopefully, he cuts out those errors and finds some good form.
What are the US PGA Championships all about?
Well, I played five or six times in the US PGA, and obviously it’s one of the four majors - it’s probably the best field where actually you’ve got the best 100 players in the world, not just the top 50.
It was always a very difficult course whenever we played - a bit like the US Open, but very fair - and they played it on a lot of different golf courses, obviously.
It’s a great tournament, absolutely great tournament. It will be fun as the last major of the year, obviously. You’ve got Jordan winning in Birkdale, you’ve got all the guys, obviously - and Garcia’s playing well, and it’ll be a great championship. I'd love to see Rory win.
Who has a great chance to win this year?
You’d have to look at Tommy Fleetwood, but Rory is always going to look dangerous. He looked to be getting back to decent form at the open - not there yet, but certainly threatening. I mean, we’ve got such good players - I think those two are probably favourites.
And Jordan Spieth?
Ah, yeah - ridiculous! What he did at The Open was beyond belief. It’s the sort of thing you can’t teach. You can either do that sort of thing or you can't, and he does it repeatedly - and you hear people saying “well, he’s not that good,” but actually he is that good. Because he gets it round fantastically, he hits a lot of greens, he putts well, he chips well, he thinks well.
He has no weaknesses - and even if no part of your game is impressive, if you have no weaknesses it can make you an incredibly good player.
He seems to relish the heat of battle, relishes trying to win new majors, and he just enjoys being at the top of the game a huge amount. So right now, at his age, he’s definitely the man to beat. And in everything he’s going through, he’s got the exuberance of youth, he’s got no battle scars to speak of - so everything for him right now is fantastic. He’ll grow up one day.
What are your thoughts on this year’s US PGA?
It was McIlroy’s first win in America where he shot 62 in the first round in Quail Hollow. I think he’s won there a couple of times since, so you’d have to put him up there. He seemed to do everything wrong at Birkdale, lost the ball at 15, never really holed much and still finished fourth, so I’d say McIlroy.
What are your thoughts on the British challenge led by McIlroy?
Good, I think. Seeing Rory changing his caddy, it'll be interesting to see how he gets on. We’ve got world class players. It doesn’t matter where they play; they’ve got a good chance of winning.
Do you think Rory’s record at Quail Hollow stands him in good stead?
Absolutely. I remember him winning one of his first tournaments in America, I think it was Quail Hollow, and he holed a 40 foot putt on the last green to win. Obviously, coming off The Open championship playing pretty good, he’s getting a bit more confident with his putter and I expect him to do well there.
Can Mcllroy put his problems behind him at Quail Hollow?
Well, there’s lots of things changing in Rory’s life at the moment, let alone his caddy the other day.
It will be interesting to see if he does come out slightly refreshed, maybe thinking a bit differently, maybe with a new set of eyes on the bag just seeing what he’s doing.
You do feel that Rory is ready - you saw glimpses of it at Birkdale a week or so ago: bad for a while, and then suddenly clicked into form and found a different gear altogether.
We all know he’s capable of wonderful things. You know he shot 32 on the back nine on Thursday (at The Open), but it could have been 28.
Rory on that sort of form is unbeatable. He knows the course very well and he’s won there before, he knows what he’s trying to do, but a major's a major and it’s a different thing to a normal PGA tour event.
Who do you think will win?
There’s some people playing really well.
It’s a course that you need some accuracy on, and you need to putt well. I wouldn’t be surprised to see someone like Poulter maybe not win, but certainly up in the top 10.
Majors are too hard to call these days, that’s the problem. There used to be about half a dozen players - now there’s 20 plus.
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