Raising the Wanamaker: Live 5 team makes PGA predictions

As thousands of fans make their way to Kiawah Island this week for the 94th PGA Championship, Live 5 News continues to preview the big event out at The Ocean Course.

The question everyone wants to know is, who will win? Well, starting with Padraig Harrington's victory at the 2008 PGA Championship, there have been 16 different winners over the 16 major championships played in that time.

Not one of those winners has been Tiger Woods or the top-ranked player in the world, Luke Donald. In fact, the last three PGA Champions -- Y.E. Yang of South Korea in 2009, Martin Kaymer of Germany in 2010 and Keegan Bradley in 2011 -- were all first-time major champions.

Our golf experts at Live 5 News have picked three players to watch this week. Feel free to make your own picks below in the comments section of the story.

Andy Pruitt – Sports Director

Lee Westwood: Because I always pick him to win in every major ... and someday he might actually do it.  So, why not at The Ocean Course for his first career major?

Dustin Johnson: Palmetto native can bomb the ball off the tee.  And he's been close in a few majors before.  Maybe his gets over his late round jitters, and raises the Wannamaker Trophy (which is really heavy, but he's a big guy, so he can do it).

Bubba Watson: This year's Masters champ can mash the ball, and he's very creative with his shots (something necessary with all the trouble and wind at The Ocean Course).  Plus, it would be cool to have the first major in South Carolina won by a guy named Bubba.

Kevin Bilodeau – Sports Reporter / Anchor

Jim Furyk: Played well at the tournament in Ohio last weekend despite his final round collapse. He is also fourth in the PGA in Driving Accuracy, which could be key in the windy conditions.

Dustin Johnson: Generally considered one of the best players on the tour not to have won a major yet, he ranks seventh in driving distance. Plus, he'd love to win his first major in his home state.

Bill Haas: The last three winners of the PGA Championship have come from out of nowhere to shock the world. Maybe another South Carolina native could do it again on The Ocean Course.

Brad Miller – Meteorologist

Tiger Woods: Well the obvious is Tiger Woods. Even though didn't have a great week in Akron, he said that he loved the greens at The Ocean Course when he was here for his practice round.  Also, his all-around game looks fine. He has won three times this year and could become No. 1 in the world again if he wins this week.

Jason Dufner: He just missed winning it last year after getting into a playoff with the eventual winner Keegan Bradley.  He's won twice this year and I think he could get his first major at Kiawah.

John Daly: He is a long shot, but a fan favorite.  He's won two majors, including the 1991 PGA Championship at Crooked Stick, and had a great tournament in Reno last week, tying for fifth.  His short game is awesome for The Ocean Course and if he can keep it in play, you never know.

Mark Davenport - Reporter

Rory McIlroy: Hearts, stars, and horseshoes. Clovers and blue moons. Rory will need all of his 'Lucky Charms' to pull off a win at Kiawah but something tells me the Jumeirah junkie is due for a win. He's had a rough go recently (minus a strong finish at the Bridgestone Invitational) but the Irishman may fare the best in the unfair winds of The Ocean Course.

Jason Dufner: Duff's got the stuff to make a run at the Wanamaker. He got a fleeting taste of trophy last year but lost his nerves and eventually fell to Keegan Bradley in playoffs. He's also been playing great golf lately. In his last five events, he's finished four of them in the Top 10. Duff will be tough to beat in an event he's been salivating to win in his last two chances.

Matt Kuchar: He hasn't missed the CUT once this year. In those 16 events, he's finished 11 of them in the Top 25 (68 percent) but I've got a feeling Kuch will finish on top of the pack at Kiawah. The man can't help but smile on the golf course and when he's stroking it on the green like he did to finish the Bridgestone, it's hard to believe he won't rise to the top of a field where putting will separate the men from the boys on The Ocean Course.

Alex Kreitman – Media Research Director

Graeme McDowell: He doesn't hit the ball particularly far, but he is accurate. McDowell is second on the PGA Tour in driving accuracy, perhaps the most important stat at The Ocean Course where the wind can quickly take a quality shot and steer it into danger. Hailing from Northern Ireland, he is used to whipping winds. His 2010 U.S. Open victory came at Pebble Beach, another beautiful course nestled along the ocean. McDowell was one of a dozen or so players who snuck in an early practice round at Kiawah. That extra familiarity could help McDowell cash in for his second major.

Tiger Woods: Bottom line ... Tiger is due. Woods hasn't won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open, but has shown signs of brilliance this season after rattling off three wins and soaring to No. 2 in the World Golf Rankings. Add to that a second place finish at The Honda Classic and a third place finish at The Open Championship. Woods has won the PGA Championship four times and this week is his last chance this season to return to major champion status. Expect Woods to put it all on the line at The Ocean Course to avoid finishing 2012 without a major win notched on his belt.

Rory McIllroy: Another North Irishman, McIllroy grew up playing golf in windy conditions so he should feel right at home when he tees it up at Kiawah Island's Ocean Course this week. McIllroy is in the top 10 in driving distance, which will be a big help on the longest course to ever host a PGA Championship. A solid showing at the Bridgestone Invitational last week proves McIllroy is primed to win his second major championship.

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