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Why Rory McIlroy Will Win the PGA Championship

Rory McIlroy PGA

The PGA Tour has seen an influx of young talent take the golfing world by storm in recent years, with the likes of Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Jason Day emerging to help fill the void left by Tiger Woods. While those three deserve the recognition they’re getting, don’t forget about Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy is my top selection for the PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club. The world No. 4 is available for a price of +850 at Bovada – not fantastic value by any means – but he’s that high on the list for a reason.

Past dominance

It’s quite clear McIlroy loves the PGA Championship, having triumphed there in 2012 and 2014. Since 2009, the Northern Irishman ranks first in scoring average, score to par, rounds in the 60s and birdies/eagles at the event. McIlroy has the most rounds under par (19) at the PGA Championship in that span, towering over Steve Stricker (14), Jim Furyk, Jason Dufner and Rickie Fowler (13).

McIlroy also has three top eight finishes in his last seven appearances at the tournament. “I feel like I can play my game in PGA Championships,” the 27-year-old told reporters earlier this week. “I can hit my driver off the tee most times and from there, if I drive it well, I feel like I have a big advantage.”

Major talent

McIlroy hasn’t won a major title since 2014, but he’s no stranger to the spotlight. Since 2011, he has the third-lowest scoring average in majors (70.93), ranking slightly behind Australians Adam Scott (70.92) and Jason Day (70.92). McIlroy possesses the most rounds under par in major championships over the course of the last five years at 36.

“I think winning a major every year is realistic, I really do,” McIlroy stated. “We’ve seen in the past that it’s achievable. That’s the benchmark. It’s hard but I guess from 2011-14 I averaged a major a year.”

Fresh off a fifth place showing at the British Open, McIlroy is in fine form ahead of the year’s final major. Look for him to tame the brutal Baltusrol with ease this weekend.

No pressure, no diamonds

When McIlroy collapsed in the final round of the 2011 Masters despite holding a four-shot lead, it was clear the heavy expectations placed on his shoulders got to his head. But that was five years ago, and this is a completely different golfer now.

The PGA Tour’s season has been extremely condensed this year due to golf’s return to the Olympic Games, and back-to-back majors in two weeks is unheard of. McIlroy has announced he will not partake in the Olympics due to Zika concerns, which means he’ll be totally focused on getting the job done at the PGA Championship.

McIlroy’s brutal honesty about how men’s Olympic golf doesn’t matter may have rubbed some the wrong way, but he’s entitled to his opinion. He’s not playing for anyone but himself at this point, and I think he’s ready to show the world he hasn’t gone anywhere.