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Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Spieth seeking to complete career Grand Slam of Majors

Jordan Spieth with the Claret Jug
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Jon Rahm
The Spanish youngster started this year outside the top 100 of the world rankings, but has quickly burst into the top ten. He won on the US Tour for the first time in January, then on the European Tour a month ago. Was runner-up in the WGC Match Play and at Colonial. Making his USPGA and Quail Hollow debuts this week.

Adam Rainaud
The PGA Pro National qualifier missed the cut by six shots on his USPGA debut in 2015.

Chez Reavie
The accurate 35-year-old has won only once on the US Tour (2008 Canadian Open). Has never been a factor in Major competition.

Patrick Reed
The American Ryder Cup talisman has struggled to find top form in individual competition this year. Has made the cut in each of his four Quail Hollow starts without getting near the lead. Yet to post a top-ten finish in 15 Major starts.

Patrick Rodgers
The promising young powerhouse finished runner-up in the John Deere Classic last month and is still seeking his US Tour breakthrough. Tied for second place behind Rory McIlroy in the 2015 Wells Fargo at Quail Hollow.

Justin Rose
The 2013 US Open champion lost a playoff for the Masters in April. Has solid five-year USPGA form figures of 3-33-24-4-22. Fifth and third in his two most recent Quail Hollow starts but his putting stroke is unconvincing.

Xander Schauffele 
The 23-year-old made his US Tour breakthrough in the Greenbrier Classic a month ago. Finished fifth on his Major debut in the US Open in June, then 20th at the Open. His glorious summer continues with a USPGA and Quail Hollow debut.

Charl Schwartzel 
The South African briefly got himself into title contention at the Open, before finishing 62nd. Has been winless for almost 17 months and appears to tighten up when on leaderboards. Has never finished in the top ten in the USPGA and never competed at Quail Hollow.

Adam Scott
The former world number one is winless for 17 months, his putting weakness a major handicap. The 2013 Masters champion has four USPGA top-tens to his name and two top-eights at Quail Hollow. This could be his last US Tour event of the season. He is taking time off for the birth of his second child. The Aussie has relieved Steve Williams of caddying duties.

Webb Simpson
The Charlotte man is on home turf and he has twice made the each-way places at Quail Hollow. The 2012 US Open champ is enjoying a decent season and could grind his way to a top-20 finish on a course he knows well.

Vijay Singh
The Fijian veteran was USPGA champion in 1998 and 2004. Was Quail Hollow champ in 2005, but is easy to dismiss at the age of 54.

Mike Small
The 51-year-old club pro is making his tenth USPGA start. Has made the cut three times. Three-time winner of the PGA Pro National.

Cameron Smith
The Australian youngster has bags of potential, but is enduring a summer of dire form. Tied for fourth in the 2015 US Open on his Major debut, then finished 25th in the USPGA.

Jordan Smith
The 24-year-old from Bath won his maiden European Tour title last month and has quickly established himself as a star of that circuit. A major debut awaits this week.

Brian Smock
A club pro with precious little to offer in a field of this quality. If somebody suggests you back him, tell them to put a Smock in it.

Younghan Song 
The 26-year-old Korean has won once on the Japan Tour, the 2016 Singapore Open. Should be comfortably outclassed in this grade.

Jordan Spieth
The Open champion was unlucky on the greens at Firestone last week, enduring several lip-outs, but 13th place was a steady return to action. Expect extreme focus for this crack at the career Grand Slam of Majors. USPGA form of MC-MC-2-13. Tied for 32nd on his only previous Quail Hollow start. An obvious runner, but an unattractive price.

Kyle Stanley 
The Washington man is having an excellent campaign and got back to winning ways in the Quicken Loans National a month ago. Tied for fourth at Sawgrass and sixth at Muirfield Village, and enjoys difficult tee-to-green layouts. He was sixth in the 2013 Wells Fargo and could post the first top-20 finish of his Major career.

Brendan Steele
The 34-year-old Californian has won twice on the US Tour, but is yet to record a top-ten finish in a Major. Has finished ninth and 14th at Quail Hollow in the last two years.

Henrik Stenson
Last year's Open champion has struggled to reproduce his 2016 form. The Swede, 41, has been cutting a frustrated figure, and he has an abysmal Quail Hollow record. Five of his last seven USPGA starts have yielded a top-seven finish, but he is difficult to fancy this time.

Richard Sterne
Injury-prone South African who has played in 16 Majors without notching a top-20 finish. There is no reason to expect that streak to end at Quail Hollow.

Brandon Stone 
A talented South African youngster who has won two European Tour events in his homeland, but is yet to make his mark on the world stage. Inexperienced Quail Hollow debutant.

Robert Streb 
The 30-year-old Oklahoma man rediscovered some form with second place in the Greenbrier Classic a month ago, and he was fourth at Quail Hollow in 2015. His USPGA results of 10-7 add to the feeling that the 2014 McGladrey Classic champion could be a serious contender.

Steve Stricker
The 50-year-old was USPGA runner-up in 1998 and has finished seventh three times since. He is still capable of competing on the US Tour, but will probably get outgunned by more powerful sorts at Quail Hollow.

Chris Stroud
Texan who made his US Tour breakthrough at the age of 35 on Sunday, winning a three-man playoff for the Barracuda Championship. Has never bettered 47th place in a Major.

Andy Sullivan
The Midlander made his Ryder Cup debut last year, but scored no points and has been unimpressive since. Tailed off at Firestone last week and easy to ignore.

Daniel Summerhays 
The Utah man has threatened a US Tour maiden triumph this term, but has failed to retain his composure on Sundays. He finished third in the USPGA last year and was 14th in the last Wells Fargo at Quail Hollow.

Hudson Swafford
Floridian giant who won his maiden US Tour title in January. Has never made the cut in a Major. This is his fourth attempt.

Hideto Tanihara 
The 38-year-old Japanese, a prolific winner in his homeland, has enjoyed the most lucrative season of his career. Fourth place in the WGC Match Play was followed by third in the BMW PGA. Has missed the cut in every Major this year, though, and is easily passed over.

Justin Thomas
The pint-sized powerhouse matched the lowest round in US Open history with a Saturday 63 at Erin Hills in June. The brilliant but inconsistent youngster followed up with a 75. Has played poorly since the US Open. Quail Hollow form of 7-MC.

Peter Uihlein
The 27-year-old American has played in seven Majors without bettering 44th place. Missed the cut in his only USPGA start. Quail Hollow debut.

Omar Uresti
Former tour pro who won the PGA Pro National Championship. Has never made the USPGA cut. Turns 50 next year.

Jhonattan Vegas 
Venezuelan who successfully defended his Canadian Open title the week before last, a shock victory after five missed cuts in a row. Has missed the cut in every Major this year.

Ryan Vermeer
The 39-year-old Omaha club pro qualified through his first start in the PGA Pro National. His touring career effectively ended after an unsuccessful 2001 on the Tour.

Jimmy Walker 
The defending champion appears to have little hope of keeping the Wanamaker Trophy. Has been struggling for fitness and form and dropped like a stone down the leaderboard when hitting the front at the halfway stage of the Bridgestone last week.

Jeunghun Wang 
The 21-year-old Korean has lost his way since claiming a third European Tour title at the Qatar Masters in January. Has made only four cuts since. Has never made the cut in a Major and a sixth successive failure seems likely.

Bubba Watson
The dual Masters champion is winless for almost 18 months, losing weight and switching golf-ball manufacturers in that period. Tied for second at Quail Hollow in 2009 and was USPGA runner-up in 2010, but looks a fading force at 38.

Lee Westwood
Englishman still seeking his Major breakthrough at 44. Tied for third in the 2009 USPGA. Has twice made the each-way places at Quail Hollow, but is probably not playing well enough to be a threat.

Bernd Wiesberger
The Austrian giant played in the final twoball alongside Rory McIlroy in the 2014 USPGA, fading to 15th. Missed the cut in his other four USPGA appearances. Quail Hollow debut.

Danny Willett
The 2016 Masters champion is enduring a miserable year, bereft of form and struggling with back problems. Likely to miss the cut on his Quail Hollow debut.

Chris Wood 
Bristolian who narrowly avoided the wooden-spoon in the no-cut Bridgestone on Sunday. Has had form and fitness issues over the last couple of months. Has missed four cuts in six USPGA starts. Quail Hollow debut.

JJ Wood 
Texas-based club pro who came through the PGA Pro Nationa in his first attempt at qualifying for the USPGA.

Gary Woodland 
The big-hitting Kansas man has failed to make the cut in his last two USPGA starts. Played superbly for fourth in the Canadian Open the week before last, but was tailed off at Firestone. Tied for fourth in the 2015 Wells Fargo at Quail Hollow.

Yong-Eun Yang
The Korean veteran stunned Tiger Woods to win the 2009 USPGA, but has gone seven years without lifting any silverware. A fading force at 45.

Fabrizio Zanotti
Paraguayan plodder who finished 46th in his only USPGA start. Unlikely to improve on that this week.

The Open champion was unlucky on the greens at Firestone last week, enduring several lip-outs, but 13th place was a steady return to action
E.W. Terms
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