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Predictions

Who will win the PGA Championship?

The season’s final major championship is about to begin at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky. Here are the players to watch:

Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

J.B. Holmes

  • Age: 32. World ranking: 61

  • PGA starts/cuts made: 5/3

  • Best finish: T24 (2010)

  • Might win because: It’s tempting to go with fellow Kentucky native Kenny Perry instead, but Holmes is much younger and hits it much farther. From Campbellsville by way of the University of Kentucky, Holmes will be considered the local favorite, and he had success in the 2008 Ryder Cup at Valhalla, when he went 2-0-1. Has already won this year (Wells Fargo), making a triumphant return from brain surgery. Contending might be a stretch.


Warren Little/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy

  • Age: 25. World ranking: 1

  • PGA starts/cuts made: 5/5

  • Best finish: Win (2012)

  • Might win because: Come on, how can we not pick McIlroy? Even though he has no history at Valhalla, that won’t matter, considering how well he’s playing. The key will be whether he can continue pounding the driver straight. He led the field in driving distance last week, and if he can find enough fairways, he will take advantage with short irons. McIlroy is already on the short list for Player of the Year. A win here locks it up.

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Adam Scott

  • Age: 34. World ranking: 2

  • PGA starts/cuts made: 13/10

  • Best finish: T3 (2006)

  • Might win because: He wants to reclaim the top spot in the world rankings, and a win here would give it to him, regardless of what current No. 1 Rory McIlroy does. He can’t match McIlroy’s three victories this season, but Scott has been a model of consistency. His last five starts: Win (at Colonial), T4, T9, T5, T8. Scott has eight top-10 finishes in 12 events, and he’d like to make it two straight years winning a major. Last chance.

Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Keegan Bradley

  • Age: 28. World ranking: 21

  • PGA starts/cuts made: 3/3

  • Best finish: Win (2011)

  • Might win because: You won’t find anyone more determined to make the US Ryder Cup team, and Bradley knows he needs another great week to play his way onto it. The top nine on the points list after the PGA automatically qualify; Bradley sits 11th. After missing the cut at the Quicken Loans, Bradley has gone 4-19-4, and now he eyes another Wanamaker Trophy. He followed his 2011 win at the PGA with a T3 in 2012 and a T19 last year.

Jeff Gross/Getty Images

And the winner . . . Rickie Fowler

  • Age: 25. World ranking: 18

  • PGA starts/cuts made: 4/3

  • Best finish: T19 (2013)

  • Will win because: He has been knocking on the door long enough, and looks ready to finally break through. True, Fowler has but one PGA Tour win in his career, and that came more than two years ago. But look at his performance this year, especially in the majors: He tied for fifth at the Masters, tied for second at the US Open, and tied for second at the Open Championship. He is comfortable, he is confident. He can win.

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer.
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