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PGA Championship capsules

Saturday - 8/4/2012, 12:02am  ET

By DOUG FERGUSON
AP Golf Writer

(AP) - A capsule look at 20 top players for the 94th PGA Championship, to be played Aug. 9-12 on The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, S.C. (listed in predicted order of finish):

DUSTIN JOHNSON

Age: 28.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 16.

Worldwide wins: 6.

Majors: None.

Best 2012 performances: Won St. Jude Classic.

2012 majors: Masters-DNP, US Open-Cut, British Open-T9.

Backspin: He's still the most talented young American, even if it feels as though he has disappeared this season. Missed two months with a back injury, and then won in his second week back. A South Carolina native who grew up on this style of golf, and he has the power to handle the longest course in major championship history if it stays soft from rain. Best of all? The sandy areas (lots of them) have been declared waste areas. He can ground his club without a two-shot penalty.

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TIGER WOODS

Age: 36.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 2.

Worldwide wins: 86.

Majors: Masters (1997, 2001, 2002, 2005), U.S. Open (2000, 2002, 2008), British Open (2000, 2005, 2006), PGA Championship (1999, 2000, 2006, 2007).

Best 2012 performances: Wins at Arnold Palmer Invitational, Memorial, AT&T National.

2012 majors: Masters-T40, US Open-T21, British Open-T3.

Backspin: There should be no more questions about whether Woods is "back" based on his swing. He has won three times this year, and no one has won more in one season on the PGA Tour since ... Woods in 2009. But no one will think of him as being "back" until he wins another major. The game is fine. He doesn't hole as many putts as he once did, but that was bound to happen. No one said this about Woods before, but what he needs to win a major is a few good breaks.

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PADRAIG HARRINGTON

Age: 40.

Country: Ireland.

World ranking: 62.

Worldwide wins: 19.

Majors: British Open (2007, 2008), PGA Championship (2008).

Best 2012 performances: Tie for 4th in the U.S. Open.

2012 majors: Masters-T8, US Open-T4, British Open-T39.

Backspin: There is a feeling Harrington is getting closer to form, as he showed at the U.S. Open and Irish Open. Throw in a little experience on Kiawah Island from the World Cup in 1997 _ OK, he was only 26 _ and he could surprise a few people. The key will be to narrow his misses and to stay in the game for the first three days, and then have his eyes get wide and his tongue hang out of the side of his mouth on the back nine Sunday.

___

BUBBA WATSON

Age: 33.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 7.

Worldwide wins: 4.

Majors: Masters (2012).

Best 2012 performances: Won the Masters.

2012 majors: Masters-1, US Open-Cut, British Open-T23.

Backspin: Players who win majors early tend to fare well the rest of the year, so maybe Bubba is due. It won't be from burnout, as he will have played only six times since the Masters when he arrives at Kiawah Island. Watson's length should help him, and he can move the ball wherever he wants. He is familiar with this kind of Southern coastal golf, though the wind might not be ideal if it kicks up. The last player to win the Masters and PGA Championship in the same year? Jack Nicklaus in 1975.

___

JONATHAN BYRD

Age: 34.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 49.

Worldwide wins: 5.

Majors: None.

Best 2012 performances: Tie for 3rd at the Tournament of Champions.

2012 majors: Masters-T27, US Open-T56, British Open-Cut.

Backspin: Sticking with the South Carolina theme (see Dustin Johnson) and the notion that in the last five years, the majors have delivered winners that not many saw coming (show of hands for Keegan Bradley? Lucas Glover? Zach Johnson?). He grew up in the Palmetto State and went to Clemson, and plays out of Sea Island about two hours down the coast. He's a long hitter and a very good iron player. Plus, he has made two cuts in the majors this year. His last cut in a major was in 2007 at Carnoustie.

___

RICKIE FOWLER

Age: 23.

Country: United States.

World ranking: 20.

Worldwide wins: 2.

Majors: None.

Best 2012 performances: Won the Wells Fargo Championship.

2012 majors: Masters-T27, US Open-T41, British Open-T31.

Backspin: His breakthrough, with due respect to the Korea Open, came in May at Quail Hollow when he beat Rory McIlroy and D.A. Points in a playoff for his first PGA Tour win. He was a runner-up the next week at The Players Championship, finished a distant fifth at Colonial ... and then went quiet. He will have played only four times in 10 weeks when he gets to the final major of the year. He's either in a lull or bracing for a big finish. The hunch here is the latter.

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