A PGA Championship with underlying tensions unlike any other

Usually, a major championship in golf is all about the golf, the golf course, the defending champ, and who could potentially emerge as the winner. This year, we have extras simmering beneath the surface with Tiger Woods, Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, LIV, Jimmy Dunne, and Brooks Koepka and it’s only Wednesday.
Tiger Woods - 2024 PGA Championship
Tiger Woods - 2024 PGA Championship / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

It’s impossible to tell if any of this will affect the outcome Sunday, even after Sunday rolls around. But if you’re a betting person, you should at least consider it before making your picks.  

Tiger Woods has a new position on the PGA Tour Policy Board, and he’s involved with decisions regarding the deal with LIV Golf.  He says it’s progressing, but naturally, it’s not going fast enough for anybody. These things never do. 

Then there’s the Ryder Cup. Woods is in discussions to captain at Bethpage Black. Will he or won’t he?

“We're still talking,” Woods said. “There's nothing that has been confirmed yet. We're still working on what that might look like.”

The issue for Woods is the time he has committed to the PGA Tour, mainly hammering out a deal with PIF.

“I'm dedicating my so much time to what we're doing with the PGA TOUR, I don't want to not fulfill the role of the captaincy if I can't do it,’ he explained. “I need to feel that I can give the amount of time that it deserves.”

If he does captain, he wants to make sure he doesn’t disappoint the PGA, the fans, the players, and the golfing public.  

Scottie Scheffler is the good news of the week, with his wife Meredith giving birth to a son that they have named Bennett. To say they are delighted is a complete understatement.  

“It's such an exciting time that I want to be able to share it with everybody, but there's also the balance of wanting to keep our private life private and at home,” he said, adding that he wanted to “share the joy of being a parent with everybody while also keeping our kids' lives as private as possible.”

What a guy, is all you can say to that.

Looking beyond several tournaments, he said he hopes to play in the Olympics.

"I think becoming an Olympian would be a dream come true, for sure,"

And there are a few other benefits of that.

“Be a nice little thing to be able to trash talk to my buddies about when they say golfers aren't athletes. I can claim I'm an Olympian,” he added.

Then a real shocker, TMZ reported that Rory McIlroy and his wife are getting divorced. The first thing that came to mind was what Dan Jenkins, the famous sportswriter, said about Tiger Woods. He said the only things that could stop Tiger Woods were a bad marriage or injury. No additional comments are necessary.  

The document filed in Palm Beach County requested shared custody of their daughter, Poppy, and that they both abide by a prenuptial agreement signed in 2017.  

Apparently the rumor mill, cruel and unreasonable as always, has created a scenario where McIlroy wants to get this divorce done and then he will sign with LIV for a gazillion dollars that he doesn’t have to share with his then ex-wife. Really? That’s what was making the rounds at lunch.

Speaking of awful situations, the PGA Tour/ LIV agreement isn’t really progressing as quickly as anyone wants. Jimmy Dunne, the Wall Street legend, vice chairman and senior managing principal of Piper Sandler, the man who put together the agreement to agree with PIF and the Tour, has resigned from the Tour Policy Board.

“Since the players now outnumber the independent directors on the board, and no meaningful progress has been made towards a transaction with the PIF, I feel like my vote and my role is utterly superfluous,” he wrote in a resignation letter which was sent to Sports Illustrated.

Brooks Koepka is back looking to add another PGA Championship trophy to his collection, now at three. 

It is completely amazing that he is somehow able to switch into a killer mode at major championships, well at least at the U.S. Open and the PGA. He at least is interested in the tournament and not distracted by the rest of this stuff on the fringes.

“It's a long golf course. So you've got to be able to hit the ball far,” he said about Valhalla Golf Club.

"The fairways, I wouldn't say -- they are generous. I don't think they are overly generous, but you can take advantage of them. The rough is thick. If you're going to miss fairways, you're going to be in trouble. I think that's pretty much the MO of a major championship. Got to hit fairways. Got to hit greens."

He called the course great. “You can kind of tell by the past champions, too,” he added.

Especially Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, is probably what he was thinking, but hopefully, he also meant the cunning and scrappy skill set that Mark Brooks brought to his victory here in the 1996 PGA. You want tough? That’s Mark Brooks on a golf course.

Next. 2024 PGA Championship Power Ranks. 2024 PGA Championship power rankings. light

Buckle up. It’s going to be a darn interesting PGA Championship, and not just because of what happens on the golf course.