Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy caused a stir at The Players

NCG writers predict what will (and won’t) happen at the PGA Championship

Will Rory walk it at one of his favouring stomping grounds? Or shall we file him under "surprise flop"? The NCG team have their say...

In NCG’s PGA Championship preview, our team of writers predict who will triumph at Quail Hollow where Rory McIlroy will be looking to capatalise on his recent success at the North Carolina track…

Dan Murphy, editor

PGA Championship betting tips

Winner: Rickie Fowler is in quietly good form, going about his business nicely while all the talk is of Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy.
Winning score: A 12-under 276.

Player to watch: Justin Thomas has a huge win in him. We know his scoring is volatile so perhaps this will be the week when he puts it all together.

Surprise flop: By his own high standards, Justin Rose’s play has been uninspired in recent months.

Most looking forward to: Seeing how Spieth goes about his first chance to complete the Grand Slam and win back-to-back majors. Something he has, of course, done before.

What will happen: We’ll hear how tremendously difficult the Green Mile is and how the course has some of the toughest holes on tour. Then we’ll watch 600 yards being routinely covered in two shots and see plenty of eagles.
What won’t happen: I don’t see any European players finishing above McIlroy. I’m not convinced he wins this week but I’d be surprised if he didn’t finish comfortably inside the top 10 and I don’t see compelling cases being made by many of his Ryder Cup teammates to go any better than that.

Alex Perry, digital editor

Winner: With everyone talking about Rory McIlroy’s affinity for Quail Hollow and recent caddie change, Jordan Spieth can crack right on with that Grand Slam attempt. He’ll do it.
Winning score: I had 11-under in my head, then I checked the average winning score at the PGA Championship over the last decade and it’s 11-under. So 11-under.
Player to watch: I said Jon Rahm for the Masters, US Open and Open Championship and I can’t change that now. It’s a matter of when rather than if for this lad.
Surprise flop: Hideki Matsuyama doesn’t strike me as a grinder, so the adverse weather coupled with the pressure of competing the week after such a big win, it doesn’t bode well for the Japanese.
Most looking forward to: Spieth and McIlroy going toe-to-toe down the stretch on Sunday.
What will happen: Jon Rahm will be a good price to be the lowest-scoring player from his three-ball with McIlroy and Rickie Fowler.
What won’t happen: Spieth and McIlroy going toe-to-toe down the stretch on Sunday.

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Mark Townsend, deputy editor

masters betting guide

Winner: Justin Rose is not exactly leftfield but he’s had a very quiet time of things. Has a bit of form here, got the wrong side of the draw and time for him to double his major tally.

Winning score: 13-under.

Player to watch: Again not going out on a limb for a player who has finished 8-3-39-20-2-3 since the US Open, but you can still get Charley Hoffman at 50-1. Best backed each-way.

Surprise flop: I can’t see Rory McIlroy or Jordan Spieth having quiet weeks so that only really leaves big Dustin Johnson. Two days before Augusta he was set to rule the world – he won three on the bounce in February-March – now he looks a very different player.

Most looking forward to: A few nice montages of Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els as they play their 100th major.

What will happen: We’ll spend large chunks of Thursday and Friday finding out all about Harry Diamond. McIlroy will be doing his own yardages this week.

What won’t happen: Nobody in the commentary booths will say that the PGA moving to May is a bad idea.

James Savage, equipment editor

Challenge Tour

Winner: Rory McIlroy. His game is in good shape, he likes the course. And he’s so overdue a major it’s starting to get a bit silly.
Winning score: The same score McIlroy won the Wells Fargo in 2010, 15-under. Just for the romance… 
Player to watch: Jordan Smith will be riding the crest of a wave after his first European Tour win and by all accounts he’s the real deal.
Surprise flop: Jordan Spieth. His luck will surely run out soon.
Most looking forward to: Replays of McIlroy’s winning putt at Quail Hollow in 2010. The commentary is superb: “Welcome to the big time!”
What will happen: Dustin Johnson will hit some really long drives and people will moan about how far the ball goes. Get over it 15 years ago.
What won’t happen: McIlroy blaming someone else for poor club selection and strategy.

Steve Carroll, club editor

PGA Championship

Winner: Rory McIlroy looks to be coming back to form and is playing on a course he adores. 
Winning score: 12-under.
Player to watch: Daniel Berger has a win already this season and three top 20s in his last four starts. Sustained major contention is the next step.
Surprise flop: It’s very hard to get the mental energy to perform the week after a victory, even if you’re as good as the Hideki Matsuyama.
Most looking forward to: Four days of cracking action. Next April seems a long way away…
What will happen: A succession of pundits will claim the PGA will be much better in May.
What won’t happen: Jordan Spieth winning his career grand slam. Not this year, anyway…

James Broadhurst, production editor

Winner: Rory McIlroy looks a lot more comfortable with his game. I can see him making it a hat-trick of PGA Championship titles.
Winning score: The weather forecast doesn’t look great but I still expect a fairly hefty winning score. I’ll go for 15-under.
Player to watch: It will be a totally different setup, atmosphere and field to what he faced for his victory at the European Open, but I’m really excited to see what Jordan Smith can do on his first outing at a major.
Surprise flop: Justin Rose’s performances have been slightly underwhelming lately, including a tied-54th at the Open. I can see him struggling at the 7,600-yard Quail Hollow.
Most looking forward to: Seeing if Jordan Spieth will be up there challenging for his Grand Slam. The PGA Championship doesn’t excite me all that much but that would quickly change if Spieth was in with a shout of the Grand Slam come Sunday.
What will happen: Someone boring like Zach Johnson will win.
What won’t happen: The champion won’t reference the fans in his winner’s speech like Spieth did at Royal Birkdale. I am already dreading yet another four days of fans screaming random words after every shot.

Joe Urquhart, social media editor

bald golfers

Winner: Bill Haas. It doesn’t need an explanation.
Winning score: 12-under.
Player to watch: I fancy Jimmy Walker to put up a strong defence. He found some form last week and despite his illness has had a strong season under the radar.
Surprise flop: Jason Day. (Is that a surprise? Probably not.)
Most looking forward to: Everyone saying how not-as-good-as-the-other-majors the PGA Championship is.
What will happen: Everyone will be overjoyed that golf is back on the BBC – probably a little too much.
What won’t happen: We won’t see any threatening of the course/major records following the last two major outings.

Craig Middleton, digital journalist

Patrick Reed

Winner: Jordan Spieth. I’m in love with his golf.
Winning score: With the weather looking pretty nasty I’m going to go for 8-under.
Player to watch: Patrick Reed has got to get the business done at some point in a major.
Surprise flop: Dustin Johnson hasn’t looked great the last few weeks, has he?
Most looking forward to: Golf on the BBC, even if it is on the red button. Get over it.
What will happen: The commentators laughing every time a drive over 300 yards is recorded.
What won’t happen: Charley Hoffman will take his caddies advice when he’s three back with three to play.

Matt Beedle, digital journalist

US Open gallery

Winner: I’m going to go with the narrative of Jordan Spieth taking home the Wanamaker and completing the Grand Slam. The changes made to Quail Hollow suit his game with the change of grass on the greens and removal of trees will help his inconsistent driving.
Winning score: 10-under-par sounds about right.
Player to watch: Thomas Pieters had a good week at the Bridgsetone but his second and fourth rounds were his downfall. If he can have a consistent week then there is no reason why he can’t be in contention on Sunday.
Surprise flop: The most talked about player heading into this week is Rory McIlroy so I’ll go for the bold prediction that he will flop. I’m not saying he’ll miss the cut but I don’t feel like he’s going to contend or win the tournament.
Most looking forward to: The shock on everyone’s face when Zach Johnson takes an early lead and people realise he can join the Grand Slam-chasing group of McIlroy, Spieth and Phil Mickelson heading into 2018.
What will happen: After Spieth’s Open win halted the run, we’ll get another first-time major champion. Hideki Matsuyama might have something to say about everyone’s predictions, including my own…
What won’t happen: I hope I can be proved wrong but we’ll still be waiting for the next English major champion by the end of the week.

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