Whistling Straits: In the eyes of the players and many of the fans, this week`s US PGA Championship at Whistling Straits is wide open for the taking, especially given the recent struggles of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
World number one Woods produced his worst ever PGA Tour finish at last week`s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational where Mickelson, poised to take over at the top of the rankings for the first time, spectacularly flopped in Sunday`s final round.
Add to that the fact that there have been five first-time winners in the last six majors and you have the recipe for an intriguing menu over the next four days on the Straits Course.
"There`s no doubt about it, this is probably as wide open a major as we have seen in a long time," American world number four Steve Stricker told reporters.
"And I still think Tiger and Phil are going to be there come Sunday. Last week, they played not very well ... but I imagine they will get their games going here."
Stricker, who has triumphed twice on the PGA Tour this season, said he and his peers were excited by the large number of players capable of winning at Whistling Straits this week.
"It is wide open and as players we all sense that too," he added. "If you can play well and get it going, then you have a great opportunity to win here."
British world number nine Paul Casey agreed.
"The feeling in the locker room is slightly different," said the Englishman, who tied for third in last month`s British Open at St. Andrews.
"With the way he (Woods) played the past week, guys feel like this tournament is wide open, and that`s not a feeling that a lot of guys have had before."