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What a PGA Championship win would mean for these 10 golf stars

By Kyle Porter | Golf Writer

PGA Championship: Leaderboard | Photos | Odds & picks | Videos & GIFs | Stories | Tiger

Golf is a game that's only as great as its stars. If you didn't believe that before this season, surely you do now after one too many Tiger Woods' exits. With no Tiger, ratings take a nose dive.

There are still plenty of supernovas to go around, though, and the 10 guys I'm about to discuss will all have a great shot at winning the PGA Championship later this weekend.

So let's discuss legacies -- what a win for each would mean both in the present day as well as an historical context.

Here we go.

1. Phil Mickelson: I think he's on the precipice of being one of the 10 greatest golfers ever. A win here (or at any other major) pushes him over the top. I think.

Who knew all of this would happen back in the early 1990s?

2. Rickie Fowler: If he wins Valhalla we can officially throw him in the "best American golfer alive" conversation which seems crazy because he's only won one time on tour but that's what happens when you top-five three times in majors and win a PGA Championship. You know, if he wins the PGA Championship.

Also, he'll go from "young gun who could do some damage" at the Ryder Cup to "yeah, we need three points out of him" in a hurry.

3. Rory McIlroy: We could get the all-time hype machine cranking. More than it already is, anyway. There would only be 16 golfers from the modern era with more majors than Rory's four if he were to win.

I've been thinking about this, though. What will we do if he posts, say, 21-under and wins by eight? Will the "next Tiger" talk reach DEFCON 1? Will Augusta give him a complimentary green jacket before the Masters? So many questions.

Also, remember when this happened last year?

4. Sergio Garcia: The monkey, the King Kong-sized monkey, will have finally been removed from his back.

How fitting, too, that his first major would come at, still, his most memorable one way back in 1999 when he battled tree trunks, stared down Big Cat, and scissor-kicked his way into our living rooms.

Also, this is everything:

5. Adam Scott: Halfway to the career slam (and he's had the British Open in his grasp multiple times). That shows how difficult it is to pull the whole thing off.

It would be quite the message to McIlroy if Scott were to re-take his No. 1 ranking just one week after the Ulsterman swiped it. I wouldn't hate those two dueling for the next five years.

6. Bubba Watson: I'm not totally sure what Bubba's place is going to be historically. It's going to be confusing, that's for sure. Maybe as confusing as Bubba's on-course behavior at times:

If he wins that will be 28 majors played, three wins, and only two other top 10s. I don't know what to do with that.

7. Jordan Spieth: I don't think Spieth is going to win it and in a lot of ways I think it will be a disappointment (as ridiculous as that sounds) if he doesn't leave 2014 with a major (or any tournament win).

The problem for him is that his Masters performance said "I'm an uber-star for the next generation" when the reality is that he's probably just going to be a really good player for the next few decades and win the number of majors really good players win (1-3).

8. Matt Kuchar: It would be fitting for Kuchar to win a PGA Championship, I think. We'll always remember him as a nice golfer -- maybe a really good one -- but I don't know that the name "Matt Kuchar" will ever invoke the thought "great champion" so I'm not sure how much winning a PGA changes that trajectory.

9. Martin Kaymer: Kaymer can join Rory as the only golfers under age 30 with three major championships and edge closer to (already) being one of the five best European golfers ever. Ever! If he wins the only Europeans with more modern-day majors will be Seve Ballesteros and Nick Faldo.

10. Tiger Woods: Haha, no.

All GIFs courtesy of Adam Sarson unless otherwise noted.

PGA Championship: Leaderboard | Photos | Odds & picks | Videos & GIFs | Stories | Tiger

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf and @KylePorterCBS on Twitter or Google+ and like us on Facebook.

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