Sport

Competitors galore when the PGA Championship comes to Tulsa

Golf was very different in 2007, when the PGA Championship was last played at Southern Hills Country Club.

The PGA Championship was played in August back then, and temperatures during the week of the tournament topped 100 degrees almost every day. Temperatures are forecast to be around 20 degrees cooler this week for the 104th PGA Championship in Tulsa, Okla.

Tiger Woods ruled the world in 2007 and won that PGA in the sweltering heat, his second start in a remarkable 12-tournament nine-win streak that stretched into the 2008 season.

Phil Mickelson was one of the game’s most revered figures, having won three of his six career majors by then.

The world order is slightly different this year in Southern Hills, which has been tweaked by renowned course architect Gil Hanse.

Woods, 46, has played once since his near-fatal car accident in February 2021, made the cut at last month’s Masters and finished 47th. Woods’ 2007 PGA win was his 13th major championship and one of four Wannamaker trophies he has won as a PGA champion.

Mickelson, 51, withdrew from the championship amid controversy over derogatory comments he made about the PGA Tour and a new Saudi-backed opposing league. Mickelson has been in exile since his explosive and controversial remarks criticizing the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia-led Greg Norman-fronted LIV Golf Invitational Series were released in February.

Here is a look at the new order in sport:

Scottie Scheffler won the Masters in April for his first major title of his career.
Scottie Scheffler won the Masters in April for his first major title of his career.
AP

Scottie Scheffler, who at the age of 25 had no PGA Tour wins until he won the Phoenix Open in February, comes this week with four career wins – including the Masters, by the way – and is ranked No. 1 in the world.

Jordan Spieth, 28, only needs a PGA championship title to complete the rare career grand slam, something only five players have achieved. Spieth has improved in form; He won at Hilton Head and performed well at the Byron Nelson last week.

Spieth said he played Southern Hills in a US amateur, “but it’s changed so much and I was 15 or 16 years old, so I just wanted to see it.”

So he recently went on a reconnaissance training session with Justin Thomas “to maybe take some stress off of the training sessions … and be able to do maybe nine every day instead of feeling like I have to go out there and study a lot.” .”

Spieth liked what he saw.

Jordan Spieth would cap out the career grand slam with a win at the PGA.
Jordan Spieth would cap out the career grand slam with a win at the PGA.
Getty Images

“I thought the golf course was fantastic,” he said. “I loved it. I think the green complexes match the holes perfectly. It was a great stage. I really enjoyed playing it.”

The entire CBS talent crew covering the PGA — including Jim Nantz, Dottie Pepper and Nick Faldo — all believe Spieth is coming in strong form this week.

“I like the way he comes into play, not just because he won at Hilton Head, but because he’s not the lead for the career slam,” Nantz said.

“I think of many things [are] Trending to make a profit and when the putter wasn’t [going well]but the scrambling was so damn good,” Faldo said of Spieth, who won Hilton Head despite his stubborn putting.

“I thought the statement from the whole week at the Hilton Head [from Spieth] it was, ‘I won without a putter,'” Pepper said. “It shows you how talented he is and how much his ball-stroke has improved. That [he’s] With some confidence from that win, which was scratchy at best, it really puts him in a good position to try to finish the job here and get that elusive final major.

Among the other top players who cannot be ruled out this week is Jon Rahm, who wrested Scheffler’s No. 1 ranking but remains in excellent form after his recent victory in Mexico. Rahm placed eighth at last year’s PGA Championship on Kiawah Island and 13th at Harding Park in 2020.

Viktor Hovland, who played college golf in the state of Oklahoma, will have a home state advantage.

Rory McIlroy, a two-time PGA Championship winner who hasn’t won a major championship since 2014, is hungry and irritated at having to continue answering questions about the drought. He has two consecutive top five finishes at the Masters and Wells Fargo Championship.

Justin Thomas is another top player who has publicly expressed disappointment with his performance in major championships. His only major is the 2017 PGA Championship.

Cam Smith, the quiet Australian, has two wins this season including The Players Championship.

Collin Morikawa is impossible to miss. He won the 2020 PGA at Harding Park in his first PGA championship start and has six top 10 finishes in 10 PGA Tour starts this season.

Patrick Cantlay has quietly settled into the dubious role of one of the best players in the world without a major championship win. He tied for third at the 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage Black and more recently has had strong performances at Hilton Hear and the Zurich Classic, which he won with teammate Xander Schauffele.

https://nypost.com/2022/05/14/contenders-aplenty-as-pga-championship-descends-on-tulsa/ Competitors galore when the PGA Championship comes to Tulsa

JOE HERNANDEZ

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