Friday, August 2, 2013
10 Things about the PGA Championship
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Ten things to know about the PGA Championship, to be played Aug. 8-11 at Oak Hill Country Club:
TIGER'S LAST CHANCE
This is the 10th time Tiger Woods has come to the PGA Championship looking for his first major of the year. He only avoided a shutout in 1999 and 2007. A failure to win at Oak Hill would mean his fifth straight season without a major.
Oak Hill didn't start hosting big championships until 1956, though it has staged some big moments. It's where Lee Trevino first emerged as a major champion in 1968, and where Curtis Strange went back-to-back in the U.S. Open in 1989. Europe turned the tide in the Ryder Cup with a comeback at Oak Hill in 1995. And even when it had a surprise winner in Shaun Micheel, he clinched the 2003 PGA Championship with a 7-iron to 2 inches on the last hole.
WHERE IT ALL STARTED FOR MCILROY
A year ago, Rory McIlroy had gone five months without winning as questions swirled about his future. He won the PGA Championship by a record margin, won three other big events and ended the year at No. 1 in the world. Can he get his game back on track at the final major?
YOUTH IS SERVED
The last three PGA champions were all in their 20s -- Rory McIlroy (23), Keegan Bradley (25) and Martin Kaymer (27). That hasn't happened at any major in nearly 50 years, when Gary Player (25), Jack Nicklaus (23) and Bobby Nichols (28) won the PGA from 1962-64.
Eighteen days after Phil Mickelson's name was engraved on the claret jug at the British Open, the opening tee shot will be struck in the PGA Championship. It could be worse. Fifty years ago, Jack Nicklaus won the PGA just one week after the British Open.
Phil Mickelson will try to become the fourth player in the last 20 years to win the last two majors of the year, joining Padraig Harrington (2008), Tiger Woods (2006 and 2000) and Nick Price (1994). He has never won multiple majors. This one would virtually assure that Lefty is voted PGA Tour player of the year for the first time in his career.
EMPTY TROPHY CASE
Eleven players from the top 20 in the world ranking have yet to win a tournament this year, a list that includes Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood.
The PGA Championship is getting fans involved in the course setup for the final round. An online poll will allow them to pick one of four hole locations for the par-3 15th hole in the final round.
Tom Watson is playing in the PGA Championship for the 32nd time, his first appearance since he missed the cut at Oak Hill in 2003. He was invited as the U.S. Ryder Cup captain. The PGA Championship was the one major keeping Watson from the career Grand Slam.
Since the world ranking began in 1986, there has never been a season in which four different players inside the top 10 won the majors. That could change at Oak Hill. The major champions this year and their ranking when they won -- Adam Scott (7), Justin Rose (5) and Phil Mickelson (5).