We waited patiently for the 2014 major season to get underway at Augusta back in April, and already it’s time for the finale’. The PGA Championship gets underway on Thursday morning from the Valhalla Golf Course in Louisville, Kentucky. It’s been a crazy summer but with 156 of the best players in world teeing it up this week, it should be a nice finish to a great season of PGA golf.
On a golf course where there is a premium on driving the golf ball, we should probably just give the trophy to Rory McIlroy now, and go on to the Wyndahm. But like Chris Berman says on Monday Night Football, that’s why they play the game. 2013 PGA Champ, Jason Dufner is you’re defending champion.
Dufner outlasted Jim Furyk last year to avenge his 2012, four-shot meltdown to Keegan Bradley.
The Valhalla Golf Course is a private club, was established in 1986 and is owned by The PGA of America. It was designed by Jack Nicklaus, is 7458 yards, and plays to a par of 71. It is a monster with a rating of 76.4 and a slope rating for us mortals at 145.
Valhalla has hosted two previous PGA Championships in 1996, and 2000. We all know who won the tournament in 2000, and of course, Mark Brooks beat homeboy, Kenny Perry in 1996.
Two Senior PGA Championships were held here in 2004, and 2011 with Hale Irwin winning in 2004, and Tom Watson in 2011.
The Ryder Cup was hosted at Valhalla in 2008 with Capatain Paul Azinger leadingTeam USA to win the cup for the first time since 1999.
Ten of the top ten players in the Official World Golf Rankings(OWGR) will tee it up on Thursday with 88 PGA Tour winners, and 30 previous Major Champions.
Even though Rory McIlroy moved into the number one position last week with his win at Firestone, his longevity is up for grabs again this week. Adam Scott, Justin Rose, and Henrik Stenson all have a chance to take over on Sunday with the right scenarios.
The big question on everyone’s mind as we get closer to the first tee time, is the health of Tiger Woods, and will he play this week, or call it quits for the season. If he doesn’t play, he is pretty much out of the FedEx Cup race, and Ryder Cup considerations.
The oldest player in the field will be Ryder Cup Captain, Tom Watson at age 64, and the youngest is Jordan Spieth at age 21. With Ryder Cup qualifications ending after the PGA, this will be Tom’s last chance to see his team close up before he will have to make his Captain’s Picks.
There will be 15 former PGA Champs in the field this week if Tiger can come back, and 14 if he doesn’t. Rory McIlroy already owns one Wanamaker Trophy, and will be bringing his A Game to win his fourth major, and second PGA Championship.
His driver, and game looked almost invincible last week at Bridgestone, and in my opinion, is the man to beat this week at Valhalla.
With a $10 Million Dollar purse, and 600 FedEx Cup points on the line, this should be a great tournament. I can’t wait, this is going to be good!
• TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 1-7 p.m. ET (TNT). Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (TNT), 2-7 p.m. (CBS).
• RADIO: Thursday-Friday, noon-7 p.m. ET; Saturday-Sunday 1-7 p.m. ET (SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio).