PGA Championship chances: Will Phil be in the equation?

We've reached the PGA Championship, the final major of the season. It's the field's last chance for majors glory in 2011. So who's going to take the prize at Atlanta? We'll run down the top players' chances, continuing with the runner-up the last time the tournament was held at this golf course.

Phil Mickelson

Current world ranking: 6

So far this year: Pin any possible finish on a wall, throw a dart at it, and that's where Phil has been each week this year. A second-place finish at Torrey Pines; a win in Houston; a tie for second at the British, and then a handful of random finishes, with only two of those being in the top 10. He's been all over the board, per the usual, and it seems trying to predict how he will play each week is like trying to figure out the stock market.

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Record at the PGA Championship: Just like every major besides the one he played well at this year, Phil has been great at this event, winning back in 2005 and finishing in the top 10 seven other times, including that runner-up finish the last time it was played at Atlanta Athletic Club, back in '01.

Why he could win: Because he's Phil, and it's moments like these when everyone counts him out that he goes out and does work (read: 2010 Masters, '11 British). He hasn't had a great year by his standards, but he's been just steady enough to be a factor this week, and on a golf course that he's played well in the past, Mickelson could make some noise if he can get those short putts to go in all week.

Why he could fall short: Because the golf course is stretched out, and the rough is nasty, and Phil is 181st on tour in driving accuracy this year, meaning he'll have to play a ton of shots out of that unpredictable rough to greens that are being compared to stone tablets this week. Phil's year has almost been flipped upside down, with poor finishes at the Masters and U.S. Open but great playing at the British, so while we expect him to come to Atlanta and be a serious contender, his play in '11 would point towards the opposite.

Our take: Honestly, I think he could win ... or miss the cut. I have absolutely no grasp on what to expect from Mickelson this week, but if I had to bet my life on it, I'd say a top-15 finish and that's about it.

Your turn, folks. Is Phil ready to claim his fifth major at the course that snubbed him 10 years ago?

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