US PGA Championship: Dustin Johnson the man to beat at Bellerive

Dustin Johnson's recent form has been hugely impressive and Omnisport's Chris Devine believes the American will win the US PGA Championship.

World number one Dustin Johnson   -  Getty Images

A host of recent men's major championships have produced first-time winners, but Omnisport's Chris Devine does not believe another maiden champion will be crowned at Bellerive this weekend.

Here, he explains why Dustin Johnson is his tip for the US PGA Championship.

---

If recent majors have taught us anything, it is surely to expect the unexpected.

From Danny Willett's shock Masters triumph in 2016, to Jordan Spieth's sensational recovery to win the 2017 Open Championship and Brooks Koepka becoming the first man in 29 years to retain the U.S. Open, there have certainly been no shortage of dramatic and unexpected events of late in golf's premier strokeplay tournaments.

And while Francesco Molinari was the world's form player prior to his Open success last month, the Italian was certainly not the favourite when the action got under way at Carnoustie.

Read: Woods still dealing with physical challenges of comeback

In securing the Claret Jug, Molinari became the 10th first-time winner in 12 majors, joining Jason Day, Willett, Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson, Jimmy Walker, Sergio Garcia, Koepka, Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed in making such a breakthrough since August 2015.

Plenty of players are capable of continuing the theme at Bellerive, the venue for the 100th staging of the US PGA Championship, but one existing major champion looks particularly tough for anyone to beat.

After a painful run of near-misses at the highest level, Johnson's triumph at the 2016 U.S. Open felt like a significant breakthrough that could spur the laconic South Carolinian to new heights.

In one sense, that has proven true. Since ending his wait for a major title, Johnson has established himself as the best golfer on the planet - illustrated by the fact he has topped the world rankings for all but two weeks since last February.

However, further major glory has eluded Johnson up to now, somewhat surprisingly given his frequent success on the PGA Tour.

It is that consistency, together with the obvious demand for accurate driving at Bellerive, which marks the world number one out as my undoubted favourite this week.

Yes, he missed the cut at The Open last month, but his results either side of that read; T8, 1, 3, 1, T3. Johnson quite simply appears primed for another major victory.

"I think I try to approach every major, every tournament that I go to, with kind of the same expectations. I expect to play well," he said at a news conference on Tuesday.

"I feel like, especially coming off of two really good weeks [at the Canadian Open and WGC-Bridgestone], the game's in good shape and so, yeah, I expect to play well here this week."

Also Read: McIlroy pleased with consistency ahead of US PGA Championship

Justin Thomas - the defending champion this week - was the man to triumph at Firestone as Johnson shared third and it would be no surprise if numbers one and two in the world rankings ultimately duelled it out down the stretch on Sunday.

Thomas will rightly have his backers in Missouri, but it is perhaps instructive to note that Tiger Woods is the only man to have won back-to-back US PGA Championships since World War II.

And while you could easily make a case for at least a dozen other potential challengers, nobody looks stronger than Johnson.

The wait for Dustin's first major was a long one, but a second title could well be imminent.