Major showdown between Schwartzel, Clarke and McIlroy

As is customary, the three major winners of 2011 will tee off together in the PGA Championship, and so Charl Schwartzel will face Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke at Atlanta Athletic Club tomorrow.

Schwartzel will compete with an eye on improving on his finish of tied 18th last year, continuing with his good form at majors in 2011 and aiming for ‘Glory’s Last Shot’.

After winning the Masters, tying 9th in the US Open and tying 16th in the Open Championship earlier this year, Schwartzel must rise to the challenge that the Northern Ireland pair will present.

The 93rd PGA Championship will be Schwartzel’s sixth, and he is excited about the major. “After the win at the Masters, I just feel like every time I enter one of these major championships that I can compete in them and get a win out of them,” said Schwartzel.

The Blair Atholl professional came to know Clarke through numerous Sunshine Tour appearances together, and has competed with McIlroy in many PGA and European Tour events, the most memorable of which was the 2011 Masters.

Schwartzel was happy with his preparation and found the course “phenomenal” in practicing on Monday. “I think if you haven’t found it by now you’re not going to find it by Thursday,” said Schwartzel.

The 27-year-old Schwartzel will use his knowledge of major tournaments to challenge defending champion Martin Kaymer for the Wanamaker Trophy. “I think you’ve just got to pace yourself really well these next couple days so you’re still strong when Sunday comes. That’s probably the most important round we play,” said Schwartzel.

Should he bring it home he will secure a grand-slam of majors for manager ‘Chubby’ Chandler, and as a new member of the PGA Tour, a win will certainly secure him the Rookie of the Year title.

The focus and drive of three major champions competing together for the final major of 2011 should produce a good result from Schwartzel.

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