US PGA 2014

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US PGA Championship 2014: Winning form key to finding out who will triumph

By Dave Tindall Twitter: @DaveTindallgolf.   Last Updated: 30/07/14 10:56pm

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Keegan Bradley: Fitted the pattern in 2011 despite it being his first major

Keegan Bradley: Fitted the pattern in 2011 despite it being his first major

When Keegan Bradley took victory in the 2011 US PGA, there was a desperate search for clues.

How on earth could someone playing in his first major even think about winning the title - after all it had only been done twice in the game's history.

What did Bradley have on his CV that suggested he would become a major champion?

As it happened it was really rather obvious.

And, crucially, if you're trying to pick the winner of the US PGA Championship at Valhalla it's the same thing that has united so many winners of the year's final major.

The 'secret' couldn't be more straightforward and it doesn't take a genius to figure out its power.

Quite simply, Bradley went to Atlanta Athletic Club with the benefit of a recent win under his belt - a play-off victory in the HP Byron Nelson Championship just three months earlier.

The belief it gave him was clear and Bradley's story is no one-off.

The effect of being boosted by a recent win certainly applies to many major winners but it's particularly strong at the US PGA.

Here's the list dating back to the start of the millennium: Had they won previously that year?

2013 Jason Dufner NO
2012 Rory McIlroy YES
2011 Keegan Bradley YES
2010 Martin Kaymer YES
2009 YE Yang YES
2008 Padraig Harrington YES
2007 Tiger Woods YES
2006 Tiger Woods YES
2005 Phil Mickelson YES
2004 Vijay Singh YES
2003 Shaun Micheel NO
2002 Rich Beem YES
2001 David Toms YES
2000 Tiger Woods YES
1999 Tiger Woods YES

So 13 of the last 15 US PGA winners had won that same season - the only exceptions Jason Dufner and Shaun Micheel, who both won their titles at Oak Hill.

Valhalla has staged two fairly recent US PGAs (1996 and 2000) and Tiger, as you'd imagine, had won earlier in the season (six times in fact, including the US Open and The Open Championship).

It's interesting to note that 1996 winner Mark Brooks had also racked up two victories in that campaign - the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in January and May's Shell Houston Open.  

The correlation is extremely strong although it's worth remembering that, as it's the final major of the year, the pot of players who have had chance to post a victory is obviously much bigger than it would be for April's Masters.

Still, backing a 2014 winner makes plenty of sense and should be the foundation of your staking plan or fantasy picks.

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