The PGA Championship is known as "Glory's Last Shot," but recently, it's been many golfers' first shot at stardom.
Each of the past three PGA Championship winners entered the event with no more than one PGA Tour win. Two of the three entered outside the top 100 in the world rankings, with Martin Kaymer entering 13th.
It takes many qualities to win a major. You have to be able to go low, but that doesn't mean I'm going with Mitch Lowe. It takes birdies, but my pick's not Jonathan Byrd or Ben Crane. You have to be ballin', but I'm not picking Daniel Balin.
So, that makes it tough on those of us who put their reputation on the line to attempt to pick major winners, me among them. Some will glance over statistics and give it thought. Some just follow a hunch or go with their gut. Even more will just pick Tiger Woods.
I like to do things a little differently. First, I've analyzed years of PGA Championship and major results to try to find trends and statistics that will point out a winner. But I don't just pick a winner, instead finding reasons why the other 155 golfers in the field won't win. The man left standing in the end, by default, is your winner. I call it The Eliminator.
First of all, I like some experience hoisting a trophy. Eighteen of the past 20 PGA Championship winners had a previous PGA Tour win. Right off the bat, I'm going to take out 71 golfers and leave us with 85 choices.
Next, let's play the age game. I know we're coming off an Ernie Els win, but it doesn't pertain to the PGA Championship. Only one of the past 27 PGA Championship winners was 40 or older. So let's take out the 22 graybeards remaining, sorry Phil Mickelson.
Let's get more in depth with winners. Not only do you need a previous win, you need one this season. Eleven of the past 13 PGA Championship winners had a tour win earlier in the season. Another 36 are eliminated, and suddenly we're down to 27.
Now we'll turn back the clock, but not that far. The past eight PGA Championship winners finished in the top 22 in their last PGA Tour start. That takes out another dozen, such as Brandt Snedeker, Rickie Fowler and Zach Johnson.
From 2004 to '08, every PGA Championship winner was making at least his 10th start in the event, but that has changed course. The past three winners had made two or fewer previous PGA Championship starts. So let's take out the nine remaining with more than two starts in this event, such as Woods, Rory McIlroy and Bubba Watson, which brings us down to our final six.
Let's try reverse psychology. The past three PGA Championship winners did not make the cut at that year's Masters. Keegan Bradley, Bill Haas, Webb Simpson and Scott Stallings are gone, which leaves us with our final twosome.
Now, finish it off. Seven of the past eight PGA Championship winners had a top-10 finish in one of their last two PGA Tour starts. Kyle Stanley didn't do that, but one golfer does fit all seven steps.
So, I like yet another first-time major winner, and one who isn't yet a household name. He's coming off four straight top-20 finishes and a win in the RBC Canadian Open. He's the Eliminator's pick -- Scott Piercy.
The Eliminator: Step-by-Step:
1. Eighteen of the past 20 PGA Championship winners had a previous PGA Tour win.
71 eliminated, 85 left
Brendon de Jonge
Miguel Angel Jimenez
Jeev Milkha Singh
2. Only one of the past 27 PGA Championship winners has been 40 or older.
22 eliminated, 64 remaining
Davis Love III
Jose Maria Olazabal
3. Eleven of the past 13 PGA Championship winners had a PGA Tour win earlier in the season.
36 eliminated, 27 remaining
Charles Howell III
Bo Van Pelt
4. The past eight PGA Championship winners finished in the top 22 in their last start.
12 eliminated, 15 remaining
Ted Potter Jr.
5. The past three PGA Championship winners had made two or fewer previous PGA Championship starts.
Nine eliminated, six remaining
6. The past three PGA Championship winners did not make the cut at the same year's Masters.
Four eliminated, two remaining
7. Seven of the past eight PGA Championship winners had a top-10 finish in at least one of their last two starts.
One eliminated, one remaining
Your winner: Scott Piercy
Matt Willis has been a researcher with the ESPN Stats & Information Group since 2006, working on "NASCAR Now" and "SportsCenter," among other shows.