Sports

PGA CHAMPIONSHIP ’18: Facts about final major of the year

PGA CHAMPIONSHIP ’18: Facts about final major of the year

Love's streak began with the 1986 PGA Championship at Inverness, and the 100th will come at this year's PGA at Bellerive.

This week is Woods' 19th appearance in the event since making his debut in 1997.

The Fleetwood playing at Bellerive this week told Britain's Press Association he didn't know if he'd been paid "because I don't really look". Somebody asked me [a similar question] the other day, and I said: "I guess 8500 to 8800 yards for these guys to be hitting driver 5 iron to a hole".

McIlroy ended an 18-month drought when he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, and he would have expected more at this point. This should have the benefit of reducing the likelihood that a PGA Championship will be played in a blast furnace, and might also get rid of the appendix feel that the event has dangling in the dog days of summer the way it does now.

The focus this week, and in the year's final Major, is whether the 14-time Major Champion can capture a first tournament since his very well-documented fourth back surgery. And there were parents with a stroller and crying kid, the parents hoping they could get through the day to then someday say, "You were there! I think it would make it into a great year".

Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson now occupy the other automatic qualifying berths for what promises to be one of the strongest American teams ever assembled, with Fowler the only one of the top eight without a major title.

Bellerive will be the fifth PGA Championship venue in six years to measure longer than 7300 yards - the other four were won by notable long drivers Justin Thomas, Jason Day and two-time victor Rory McIlroy. That also was the last of his four majors.

Woods would still have two US PGA playoff events to impress Furyk if he doesn't win this week.

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That's because Woods thinks he can still make the top eight and earn an automatic spot. Next year, it's moving to May, the month after the Masters and the month before the U.S. Open.

A day earlier, it was his choice to not play at all, which furthers the theory he was not quite right physically over the weekend in Akron, Ohio. "I know technology allows them to do it a little bit, from a technical standpoint, being able to trap the ball - I've been playing a long time and I'm still trying to figure out how to trap it enough to be consistent and keep the ball online".

In singles, however, where he can be the lone wolf, Woods is 4-1-2, hardly a co-incidence one would think.

The PGA Championship celebrates its centennial edition this week at Bellerive Country Club in suburban St. Louis. My knee used to hurt a lot, but I could play around that. And when Johnson became engaged to Paulina Gretzky, many of those fans became fans of the former U.S. Open champion, too.

If nothing else, Spieth should have plenty of support this week.

Smith was joined Wednesday by an honor roll of St. Louis sports royalty, including his longtime manager Whitey Herzog; Cardinals broadcaster Mike Shannon; Blues standouts Keith Tkachuk, Al MacInnnis and Bernie Federko; and three-time Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

"I want to try and win the grand slam in my career (all four majors), but mind you I would take 10 PGA Championships if that's what it had to be". And while Spieth acknowledged Tuesday that the change will help with the overall calendar flow, he also pointed out another benefit: the weather.

Somehow, though, the experience left Spieth more inspired than discouraged. "You can really go anywhere in the country in May and have an opportunity to play".


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