PGA Championship Preview
The second major championship of the season is on the horizon as members of the PGA Tour head to Tulsa for the PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club.
Phil Mickelson would have been attending this event as the defending champion, but the American pulled out a few weeks ago.
The Previous Edition
Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course provided a tremendous test for the players at last year’s PGA Championship, where Phil Mickelson was crowned champion at the age of 50.
Corey Conners led the field after the opening round, shooting 67 and two ahead of a plethora of players who finished in 69.
Hideki Matsuyama and Louis Oosthuizen charged during the second day, which was hugely needed for Matsuyama as he shot over-par on the Thursday.
Saturday was another reminder of Kiawah Island’s stern defense, as the lowest score of the day was 68 and only six players broke 70.
Both Billy Horschel and Jordan Spieth enjoyed positive afternoons, whilst Rickie Fowler and Patrick Reed shot in the sixties too.
Abraham Ancer shot the lowest round of the week during the final outing, carding 65 on his way to a one-under finish that would see him break into the top 10 at T8.
The attention, however, was on two men: Brooks Koepka and Mickelson.
Koepka endured several frustrating moments but after making consecutive birdies on 15 and 16, he pushed himself back into contention late on.
Mickelson rallied alongside his competitor, and thanks to a birdie on 16, he remained ahead of both Koepka and Oosthuizen who were in a tie for second.
Measuring 7,556 yards and boasting a par of 70, Southern Hills Country Club has hosted major championship golf previously.
Perry Maxwell was the original architect for the stunning golf course, but Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner had modernized the layout in 2018, re-opening the following year.
The task was relatively hefty too, with the removal of trees and introduction of plenty more bunkers.
Players looking to exploit par fives may be a tad disappointed with only two at Southern Hills – with both measuring in excess of 630 yards.
Course Record: 63 (Raymond Floyd, 1982; Tiger Woods, 2007)
Scottie Scheffler tops a star-studded field and he’ll be looking to double his major tally after his impressive stint in Georgia.
Tiger Woods will be making his first appearance since The Masters and he looks to be recovering well from his horrendous injury.
Woods provided the golfing globe with an afternoon of pure bliss after he opened up with a one-under score at Augusta.
Despite failing to maintain that level of focus, he still entertained fans and no-one can draw a crowd quite like Tiger Woods.
Collin Morikawa – who has been relatively quiet recently – will have fond memories of this tournament, considering it was his first major capture.
The 25-year-old is always in contention wherever he plays, and he’ll be another to keep a close eye on as the tournament ramps up.
Brooks Koepka worried fans when he pulled out of the AT&T Byron Nelson, but he looks set to be participating in Oklahoma.
It’s now been three years since his major dominance – picking up four from a possible eight – and he is yet to add to his cabinet.
Perhaps the most interesting story-line will be Rory McIlroy and how he supports that mesmerizing display from the final day of The Masters.
Despite it being fairly well documented that McIlroy never truly stood a chance, that was the first time the Northern Irishman had finished within the top 3 at Augusta.
If he can replicate that stupendous round only twice this week, he will surely be in contention for his first major championship since 2014.
With a field this strong, a winner can come from any position – this is golf at the absolute pinnacle!