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Golf

2014 PGA Championship: 15 Dark Horse Contenders

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Dark Horse Contenders at the PGA Championship

Zach Johnson
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Players like Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott will enter the 2014 PGA Championship as huge favorites to take home the trophy. That doesn’t mean one of the two stars will be able to pull off that feat. In fact, there are 15 dark horse contenders who are more than capable of winning at Valhalla this weekend.

15. Angel Cabrera

Angel Cabrera
Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

15. Angel Cabrera

Angel Cabrera
Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

Angel Cabrera has cooled down since his victory at The Greenbrier Classic, but he still managed a 19th-place finish at the Open Championship.

14. Padraig Harrington

Padraig Harrington
Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

14. Padraig Harrington

Padraig Harrington
Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

Padraig Harrington is not having a good season, but you would think he would eventually breakthrough at some point. Maybe that breakthrough will come at the 2014 PGA Championship. He has won this tournament before.

13. Bill Haas

Bill Haas
Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

13. Bill Haas

Bill Haas
Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Haas is another golfer who hasn’t been blowing anyone away with his performances on the golf course as of late, but he does have three top 10 finishes on the year.

12. Patrick Reed

Patrick Reed
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

12. Patrick Reed

Patrick Reed
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Reed has been rather bad at majors this year, but he is coming off of a fourth-place finish at Bridgestone. He enters the PGA Championship with momentum, which is exactly what he needs.

11. Luke Donald

Luke Donald
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

11. Luke Donald

Luke Donald
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

There was a time when Luke Donald would have been considered one of the favorites entering a major. That time wasn’t too long ago, but Donald has, in a sense, lost his game since being the No. 1 golfer in the world. If anything, he has a good chance of having his best finish at a major this year. The only problem is the fact that his best finish was a 64th-place finish at the Open Championship, so that's not that hard to accomplish.

10. Webb Simpson

Webb Simpson
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

10. Webb Simpson

Webb Simpson
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The trend of this list seems to be players who have had some success, but have been struggling as of late. Well, Webb Simpson fits into that category. He has yet to have a solid finish at a major this year, but he is still a well-known golfer who could do work this weekend.

9. Matt Kuchar

Matt Kuchar
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

9. Matt Kuchar

Matt Kuchar
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Finally, a golfer who has played well as of late. Matt Kuchar finished 12th at Bridgestone and fourth in the RBC Canadian Open. He has also done relatively well at majors this year (12th at the U.S. Open, fifth at the Masters).

8. Hunter Mahan

Hunter Mahan
Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

8. Hunter Mahan

Hunter Mahan
Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

A 15th-place finish at the Bridgestone has Hunter Mahan headed in the right direction. Considering he missed the cut in the tournament before, he really needed a finish like that.

7. Steve Stricker

Steve Stricker
Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

7. Steve Stricker

Steve Stricker
Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Stricker hasn’t had the best season, but he is still one of the best golfers in the world. He isn’t entering this tournament with a bunch of momentum, but Stricker did finish in 12th place at last year’s PGA Championship. That has to count for something.

6. Keegan Bradley

Keegan Bradley
Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

6. Keegan Bradley

Keegan Bradley
Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

In Keegan Bradley’s last three tournaments, he hasn’t finished any worse than 19th place. In two of those tourneys, he finished in fourth place. Other than the Masters, where he missed the cut, Bradley has found quite a bit of success at the majors this year.

5. Brandt Snedeker

Brandt Snedeker
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

5. Brandt Snedeker

Brandt Snedeker
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Brandt Snedeker has finished at minus-6 in his last two tournaments. One of those scores resulted in a 25th-place finish and the other a 12th-place finish. Regardless, the man is shooting in the reds, which is always a great sign for any golfer.

4. Graeme McDowell

Graeme McDowell
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

4. Graeme McDowell

Graeme McDowell
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Graeme McDowell has been playing some of his best golf of the season as of late. After all, McDowell has finished in the top 10 in three straight tournaments.

3. Lee Westwood

Lee Westwood
Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

3. Lee Westwood

Lee Westwood
Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

Lee Westwood is due for a good outing in a major. Sure, he finished in seventh at the Masters this year, but he missed the cut at the two majors that followed. For what it’s worth, Westwood did shoot a 63 in his last round at the Bridgestone.

2. Jim Furyk

Jim Furyk
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

2. Jim Furyk

Jim Furyk
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Over the last four tournaments or so, Jim Furyk has played great golf. Not to mention, he always seems to be near the top of the leaderboard in majors.

1. Zach Johnson

Zach Johnson
Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

1. Zach Johnson

Zach Johnson
Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Johnson has had his ups and downs this season, but that is golf. The former green jacket winner hasn’t played his best in his last two tournaments, but it wasn’t long ago when he finished in second place at the John Deere Classic.