This year's winner of the Players Championship in March hasn't been as sharp lately, although he did play well in his last PGA Tour event, the Buick Open, finishing T15. Plus, he's definitely not fazed by Medinah's major-record-breaking length. "This is the longest ever?" he said after a practice round Monday. "Geez, I must be hitting it miles."
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He has plenty of motivation, needing a strong showing to move into the top 10 in the Ryder Cup standings. He's playing well, with three top 10s in his last five starts, and he obviously likes Medinah, having finished tied for third there at the 1999 PGA Championship. Add 'em together and that's a super sleeper.
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He's won twice this season on the European Tour and comes off a second-place finish at the Scandinavian Masters. Plus, he's eyeing a European Ryder Cup spot. But history is not on his side -- besides the lack of recent Euro success in this event, no Swedish men's player has ever won a major. Fortunately, Annika Sorenstam has balanced out that drought on the women's side.
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The 2003 Masters champ obviously knows how to handle major pressure, and he has sniffed around the top of several leader boards this season (including a T6 at the U.S. Open). Plus, perhaps he thinks Medinah owes him one -- his final-round 80 in 1999 remains a bitter taste.
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Kelly has never had a top 10 in a major. He finished tied for 26th the last time the PGA Championship was played at Medinah, in 1999, but he's a much better golfer now. "Man, I'm telling you, I'm playing great," Kelly said. "I'm playing good enough to win this tournament. It's all I think about." If nothing else, he doesn't lack for confidence.
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