What are the key US PGA Championship talking points?-News

Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy lead the list of favorites for the PGA Championship
Location: Oak Hill Country Club, New York Date: 18-21 May
Access: Latest reviews of all four matches on the BBC Sport website. Commentary on Saturday from 20:00 BST and Sunday from 21:00

The second men’s championship of the season begins on Thursday when the 105th US PGA Championship is played at Oak Hill Country Club in upstate New York.

99 of the top 100 players in the world have played in this tournament, which unlike the Masters, US Open and Open Championship, does not feature non-players.

Shaun Michel, and 2003 champion at Oak Hill, are in the opening group, which kicks off the tournament at 12:00 BST – with 156 players aiming to lift the Wanamaker Trophy, come Sunday.

American Justin Thomas is the winner but two of the best players in the world, Jon Rahm and Masters champion Scottie Scheffler come into the tournament in excellent form.

There will be no more Tiger Woods as he continues his recovery neck injury,

Here are some of the biggest stories heading into the 105th edition of the PGA Championship.

A battle of the two giants?

Rahm’s win at Augusta National saw him leapfrog Scheffler at the top of the world rankings.

The Spaniard’s four wins in 11 matches and a runner-up finish in his most recent start, in the Mexico Open, show that he is in a very good position to get closer to winning a Grand Slam, after a successful career. US Open in 2021.

However, five of the past six Masters champions missed that year’s US PGA Championship.

Another notable star this time around is undoubtedly Scheffler, the player who put the Green Jacket on Rahm’s shoulders for the first time in April.

The American has repeatedly emphasized his credentials at the top of the game, finishing in the top 12 in his last 13 events, including wins at the prestigious Players Championship and WM Phoenix Open.

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy is also a favorite of the course which is an honorary member, although he arrived in New York looking to change his style.

The world number three won twice earlier in the season but missed out on The Players and Masters and recently finished tied for 47th at the Wells Fargo Championship, 19 strokes behind American winner Wyndham Clark, an event he has won three times. .

McIlroy has played 30 majors since winning his last of four – the 2014 US PGA – although he has finished in the top 10 at four majors in 2022.

Jordan Spieth is making his seventh attempt at a Grand Slam after recovering from a hand injury, while his fellow Americans Patrick Kantlay, Xander Schauffele and Max Homaboth chasing their first major after consistently impressing so far.

Among those on the Saudi-sponsored LIV Tour are two US PGA Championship winners Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepkafinished in a tie for second at the Masters, when Patrick Reed he finished the fourth round to show that those playing the 54-hole game can also make long jumps.

Likewise, a new look

Having previously hosted the US Open three times and the 1995 Ryder Cup, the PGA Championship returns to Oak Hill for the fourth time, ten years since Jason Dufner won in 2013.

However, it may go unrecognized in places, with architect Andrew Green’s renovation – completed in 2019 – aiming to bring Donald Ross’ classic creations from a century ago back to life.

Luke Donald visits the sixth hole
Oak Hill’s fourth PGA Championship is the second most in major history behind Southern Hills (five).

Along with major work to the entire green – which has been rebuilt to modern standards – many trees have been removed and another 231 yards have been added to the course.

A dramatic change to the front nine sees the mammoth 615-yard fourth and fifth lengthened by 45 yards and the former third and sixth replaced by a shorter hole that enters as the fifth – effectively one of three new holes.

The sixth, now 503 yards, has a small dog hole on the right and fairway bunkers on the left and Allen’s Creek runs down the right, cutting across the fairway and then down the left.

Fans who remember the closing stretch will also notice the pond on the par 3 15th hole has been filled in.

The removal of some of the treed fairways provides more incentive for the tree hitters but the change should also make the bunkers more punishing and the greens more attractive allowing for more dangerous areas.

Best of Brits

The reigning champion of the US Open Matt Fitzpatrickwho is in the marquee group that includes Rahm and Open champion Cameron Smith for the first two rounds, started the season slowly after a neck injury but has looked very good. won the RBC Heritage last month.

In a field full of character, Tommy Fleetwood hopefully we will eventually get our first major and become the first English winner since Jim Barnes in 1919.

Biography of Tyrell Hatton Placing could undoubtedly put him in contention, with the Englishman placing in the top five in three of his last six events.

European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald he is expected to use Oak Hill as a benchmark for future prospects in his group after a number of rounds such as Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia. they gave up their membership on the DP World Tour.

In Scotland Robert MacIntyre he will be one of those who hope to take one of these lodgings and show strong after overcoming the problems of the recent past, while Justin Rose, who has the best third round in 2012 and three consecutive 15 finishes in the last three tournaments of the US PGA. , it can also be good for what promises to be a tough test.

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