How are the world's top 10 faring ahead of next week's PGA Championship?

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It's been a rum few weeks on the PGA Tour; an odd period between the year's first and second Major Championships which has spluttered rather than flowed. The Heritage at Harbour Town is a much-loved event and did what it always does which is to provide a chilled-out post-Masters vibe. It was followed by the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, the Mexico Open and a downbeat Wells Fargo Championship. The first is a bit of silly season hit-and-giggle in the middle of the year, the second a new event which almost all top stars dodged, the latter was on a new course (another excuse for the elite to avoid it) and was hit by nasty weather.

This week's AT&T Byron Nelson has the best field of this in-between period and still plenty of the world's top 10 are elsewhere.

What state is their game in ahead of next week's visit to Southern Hills in Oklahoma? Let's take a look.

1. Scottie Scheffler

His victory in the Masters was not just dominant and a first Major Championship triumph, but also a fourth win in just half a dozen starts - astonishing stuff from a man who was previously seen as someone who struggled to get over the finish line.

Only seen one since then, in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, when T18th with Ryan Palmer and he said of the Masters: "I wouldn't say it's really sunk in yet. I was a bit drained. I just chilled at home. Took a good five days off, and for me, that's a decent amount of time." Plays this week in Texas.

2. Jon Rahm

The Masters was the end of a frustrating period for the man who started the year top of the rankings. He played well in his first three starts of 2022, but the win wouldn't come and frustration grew. His short game was very poor all year, but it improved in the Mexico, his only start since Augusta, and he duly landed the win. "I got a little tired of talking about stats and short game," he said. "I think that playing Saturday with Tiger at Augusta gave me quite a bit of confidence." The Spaniard doesn't play this week.

3. Collin Morikawa

The two-time Major Champion was excited to have holed his bunker shot on 18 at the Masters, shortly after Rory McIlroy did the same thing, but he didn't ride the wave a week later in The Heritage, finishing T26th and he was T29th in the New Orleans pairs.

He also doesn't play this week. His SG Approach rank was his best of the year in the Heritage but for a fourth time this year (in just six measured events) he ranked outside the top 60 for Around the Green.

4. Cameron Smith

So disappointed in the aftermath of the near-miss at the Masters, the Aussie missed the cut straight afterwards at Harbour Town and was T21st with Marc Leishman when defending their New Orleans title, since when he's played no golf and doesn't play this week. "It was a tough pill to swallow, but I think I've learned from it, and I'm ready for the next one," he said in Louisiana of the Masters. "I've done everything I could reflecting on it. I wouldn't have changed anything, just a bad swing at the wrong time."

5. Patrick Cantlay

Yet another who doesn't play this week but the American has had a fine time of it since the Masters. His T39th at Augusta was a fourth consecutive failure to finish in the top 20 - and before then he'd never been outside the top 10 in six starts.

But he was second in The Heritage and then teamed up with Xander Schauffele to win the Zurich Classic. He ranked first for Approaches at Harbour Town and third for Tee to Green, easily his best number in those categories since the first start of the year.

6. Viktor Hovland

The Norwegian was flying high either side of New Year, landing seven top 10s in nine starts, which included wins on the PGA Tour, the DP World Tour and in Tiger Woods' Hero World Challenge. That run ended with tied ninth in THE PLAYERS and he then hit a flat spot. T27th in the Masters is his best finish in his next four starts and very typical of his Major Championship efforts: he's completed eight appearances in them, always finished top 40 but is yet to land a top 10. Warms up for the PGA at home which is handy - he lives in Oklahoma.

7. Rory McIlroy

Departed the Masters on cloud nine following his fast-finishing round of 64 for second and backed it up with fifth at the Wells Fargo Championship last week in appalling conditions. He has now gone sub-69 in four of his last five rounds. Before that he failed to break 72 10 times in 12 laps.

Said after last week's final round: "I'm really happy with where my game is. I think just another week of practising and playing. My approach game's much better than it has been."

8. Justin Thomas

Quietly, Thomas's quest for more Major glory is stuck in a slump much like McIlroy's: it's now five years since he won the PGA Championship. He was tied eighth at Augusta and in the top 10 throughout the final 54 holes but never closer than seven shots to the lead. He followed it up with a flat T35th in The Heritage and now returns to action this week in Texas.

9. Jordan Spieth

Failure to turn a golden opportunity into the win at Pebble Beach seemed to knock Spieth, who rounded off a run of six failures to make the top 20 with a poor missed cut at the Masters. Then he bounced back with victory at Harbour Town. "I hated it," he said of the MC after the win. "It was the worst feeling as a golfer that I can remember. It's my favourite tournament in the world. I was hitting it really, really well and honestly just didn't feel like I deserved to miss that cut." He worked on his putting and it came good. He did warn that he needed more work and presumably has been doing that ahead of teeing it up in Texas.

10. Sam Burns

A winner in his last start before the Masters (at the Valspar Championship), he was second in his first start after it (in the Zurich Classic) and has a good chance this week in Texas, on a course where he led through 36 and 54 holes last year ahead of finishing second. At the Masters, however, he missed the cut on debut. Undoubtedly on the rise in the game, but still raw in the Majors: seven starts, three cuts made, a best of T29th.

The article How are the world’s top 10 faring ahead of next week’s PGA Championship? appeared first on Planetsport.com.

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