With the dust barely settled after the enthralling finish to the Open Championship less than three weeks ago, which saw heartbreak for Adam Scott as Ernie Els clinched the Claret Jug at Royal Lytham, the fourth and final golfing major of the year is already upon us as the world’s elite golfers compete for the Wanamaker Trophy in the 94th PGA Championship at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, South Carolina.With the previous sixteen Majors producing sixteen different winners, twelve of them first-time Major victors, pinpointing an eventual winner would once again be an improbable task amongst the variable field of 156 players who will arrive at the Ocean Course. With no standout player dominating the game since Tiger Woods’ reign came to an end a few years ago, the window of opportunity for someone to put their name in history by claiming one of golf’s biggest prizes is as open as ever. The varied list of winnners since Woods’ last Major success in the U. Open in 2008, in which it has often seemed to be the norm to see an unfancied underdog triumph on the big stage demonstrates the current fluctuant nature of Major tournament golf.

The mammoth Kiawah Island Ocean Course, which opened in 1991, is considered one of the toughest courses in America and will test the 156-strong field to the limit.

The big guns occupying the top of the world rankings who are always tipped going into the Majors will want to put an end to recent trends and restore a bit of normality to the golfing world by taking the Wanamaker Trophy out on the infamous Ocean Course. The swashbuckling Rory McIlroy is searching for his second Major success following his demolition job on the field in the 2010 U.S Open, whilst English stalwarts of the top of the rankings, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald are both still seeking their maiden Major win.

Hopes of a 78th American success in the competition’s history will also be strong with upcoming names such as Matt Kuchar, Nick Watney and Dustin Johnson searching for success. The bookies are still shying away from giving too long odds on Tiger Woods restoring himself back on the Major-winning pedestal to win his 15th Major title, despite the golfing supremo lacking the ruthless edge since his comeback that he once possessed when he blitzed Major fields apart single-handedly on regular occasion.

And with plenty of contenders throughout Europe and across the globe amongst the customary international field, the challenge against a home American win could well be prominent especially considering the rise in non-American or European winners of Major championships in recent years.

Whether normality will be restored to see a big gun shine or whether there will be yet another surprise winner come Sunday night it promises to be another fascinating Major golfing story set to be told over the next 4 days.

Simon Mulligan