The season’s second main is upon us, the newest in a COVID-initiated seven majors in 12 months. After a one-year delay, the PGA Championship returns to its new spot on the sports activities calendar. Here’s all you want to know prior to Thursday’s first pictures.
Setting the stage
Golf’s transforming of its annual calendar shifted the PGA Championship from the late-summer doldrums of August to the still-warming days of May. We’ve solely had one true 12 months with the brand new calendar — 2019, when Brooks Koepka repeated as PGA champion at Bethpage Black — however the reworked lineup places the PGA within the coronary heart of main season, quite than on the tail finish of it.
A chameleon amongst majors — for a time it was match play, and it’s bounced throughout golf’s annual schedule — the PGA Championship usually struggles to outline itself towards the opposite three titans of the golf calendar. With an infinite subject of 156 gamers, made up of each prime execs and PGA membership professionals, it’s a little bit of an odd mixture of identified stars and unknown cameos. Those 20 membership professionals don’t have a tendency to dangle round too lengthy — solely three have even made the lower within the final seven years — however when one does, it’s all the time price seeing how they deal with the game’s brightest highlight.
The PGA Championship has a well-deserved status for first-time, and infrequently only-time, main winners. It’s a hospitable match for gamers who in any other case wrestle at Augusta, the U.S. Open or the Open Championship. In the final 10 years, as an illustration, six of the match’s winners gained what’s, to date, their solely main. (Rory McIlroy and Koepka additionally took two apiece over that timespan.) Whatever it’s possible you’ll consider the main futures of Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner, Jason Day, Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa — and a few positively have brighter futures than others — they’re all main champions thanks to the PGA.
Key storylines: Who’s coming in scorching?
The final time the PGA Championship got here to South Carolina, McIlroy took the place aside. The 2012 PGA Championship marked McIlroy’s second main in as a few years, second gained by a large margin, and appeared to kick McIlroy right into a Tiger-esque run into historical past. McIlroy would go on to win two extra majors in 2014, after which … nothing since. But McIlroy’s victory earlier this month on the Wells Fargo Championship, his first win in 19 months, has followers questioning if he may simply be prepared for an additional main.
Also price noting: Jordan Spieth, who lacks solely a PGA Championship to full the profession Grand Slam. After 4 years of wandering in golf’s wilderness, Spieth has rediscovered his recreation. He’s on a run of 4 straight top-10 finishes, together with a win on the Valero Texas Open simply prior to the Masters. He’s coming off a bout with COVID but additionally a ninth-place end on the AT&T Byron Nelson.
Beyond these two mid-2010s legends, you’ve bought a powerful lineup of contenders: Jon Rahm, nonetheless in search of that first main; Justin Thomas, hoping to declare a second PGA; Bryson DeChambeau, bringing his large driver to a course the place a driver is a legal responsibility; Dustin Johnson, trying to reclaim that Masters mojo. Who are the favorites? Glad you requested …
The odds: Who’s the favourite?
BetMGM favors McIlroy (+1100, guess $100 to win $1100) thanks to his latest success and his sturdy historical past on this course. Rahm, Spieth and Thomas all are available in subsequent at +1400. DeChambeau and Johnson are at +1600, the one different gamers at higher than 20-1 odds. Defending champion Collin Morikawa is available in at +3000. A contact additional down, Koepka and reigning Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama are in at +3300.
The course: Kiawah Island
The windswept greens and oceanside fairways of Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course will host this 12 months’s championship. Located 30 miles from Charleston, S.C., the Ocean Course is a devious magnificence. Every gap has a view of the Atlantic Ocean, which suggests each single gap is topic to unpredictable crosswinds.
Kiawah hosted the Ryder Cup in 1991, a legendary, patriotism-soaked battle that ended with the United States claiming a late victory. Thirteen years later, in 2012, the PGA Championship got here to Kiawah, and McIlroy placed on one of many dominating performances of the last decade in successful by a record-breaking eight strokes.
The Ocean Course runs in a figure-eight out-and-back alignment alongside the water. Its greens are elevated to give gamers a view of the water over the beachside sand dunes … which additionally permits the wind to play a task in placing. This 12 months, the course will play 7.876 yards at a par 72, 200 yards longer than in 2012 and the longest in main championship historical past. Somehow, immediately’s large swingers will most likely handle.
TV/Streaming Times: Where and how to watch
ESPN and CBS will deal with the printed of the PGA Championship this 12 months, with ESPN dealing with the primary two days and CBS stepping in to shut it out. Bad information is, if you need the complete match expertise, you’ll have to subscribe to ESPN+. Good information is, for those who do, you’ll get wall-to-wall protection of the match, daybreak to nightfall. Tournament broadcast times are as follows:
Thursday & Friday, May 20-21: ESPN+ (on-line, subscription required), 7 a.m.- 1 p.m; ESPN, 1 p.m.-7 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday, May 22-23: ESPN+, 8 a.m.-10 a.m.; ESPN, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.; CBS, 1 p.m.-7 p.m.
All times Eastern. Featured group protection and featured holes will run on ESPN+.
Tee times: When to watch
The PGA Championship will launch its groupings later within the week.
The climate: Windy however lovely
We’re nonetheless a methods out from the primary tee times, however in the intervening time, the climate is trying just about splendid for South Carolina in May. Temps can be excessive 70s/low 80s, with little to no rain forecast. The solely trick would be the wind, at present predicted to run within the double digits day by day. Will gusts form pictures? Will the course play longer, or shorter, than anticipated? Will excessive winds have an effect on approaches and putts? Yes, sure, sure, sure and sure. Should be an impressive main match.
Jay Busbee is a author for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook at @jaybusbee or contact him at [email protected]
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