Back to win: Rory McIlroy

McIlroy has been hit-and-miss in majors over the past couple of years, with three top fives and four finishes outside of the top 20 in his past seven starts.

The world No. 4 looks poised to contend this week, though, in an event that he won in both 2012 and 2014.

A T21 at the Masters last month was McIlroy’s only finish outside of the top 10 in nine starts this season – a run that includes a victory at the PLAYERS Championship – and he ranks first in total shots gained, shots gained off the tee and from tee to green on the PGA Tour in 2019.

The monster 7,432 layout at Bethpage Black suits McIlroy – he finished T10 when this venue hosted the US Open in 2009 – and the wet weather should also play to his strengths given his preference for softer conditions.

Each-way shout: Rickie Fowler

Seven of the last 10 winners of the PGA Championship had never previously won a major, so this could be Fowler’s opportunity to finally break through.

The 30-year-old – widely considered the best player in the world to have not won one – finished third in this tournament in 2014 and fifth in 2017, and he comes into this year’s event in great form.

Fowler won the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February and finished T4 at the Wells Fargo Championship – which should be a good guide for this week’s event – in his last start a fortnight ago.

He fits our profile of a winner of this event and has a good record at Bethpage Black, having finished T7 when the Barclays was played at the course in 2016.

Outside shot: Ian Poulter

Poulter looks great value this week after he impressed at the Masters last month.

The Englishman went into the final round tied for fifth at Augusta but ultimately finished T12, just short of a place.

Poulter’s ball striking has been great all season. He ranks 11th in greens in regulation percentage on the PGA Tour in 2019, which bodes well for his chances at Bethpage Black, where finding the fairways and greens is of absolute importance.

With figures of T17-T12-T10 in his last three starts and four finishes of sixth or better already this season, the world No. 28 is on his best run of form for a few years and has a great chance to get into contention this week.

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