Glory’s last shot! This is major! Please like us as much as the Masters! Whatever your preferred slogan, it’s time again for the PGA Championship, and time to see who captures the season’s last major. It’ll be hot in St. Louis, with storylines aplenty, so let’s run down the various scenarios.
Fresh off the sumptuous buffet that is British Open TV coverage, where every minute of the long, long days across the pond reaches your TV, the PGA Championship seems positively spartan. But with some help from online coverage, streaming at PGA.com and the PGA Championship Live app — plus, of course, your coverage from your pals right here at Yahoo Sports — we’ll muddle on through. The TV component:
Thursday, Friday: 2 p.m.-8 p.m., TNT
Saturday, Sunday: 11 a.m.-2 p.m., TNT; 2 p.m.-7 p.m., CBS
What’s the story with Bellerive Country Club?
Bellerive hasn’t hosted a PGA Championship since 1992, which, if you’re keeping track, is a year before Jordan Spieth was even born. It’s a classic layout, dating to 1960, which means it’s required some tricking up to accommodate today’s beasts. It’s entirely possible that the tournament will devolve into a bomb-and-gouge-fest, hammering drives off the tee and wedging shots into the green hole after hole, but the narrow fairways ought to keep at least some of the players honest. Look for the 17th (creek-guarded par 5) and 18th (tight landing fairway) to play a role in the late stages of the tournament.
The big question will be the greens; the combination of searing summer heat and early-week downpours have had a less-than-optimal effect on the course:
There were rumors that Bellerive’s greens were burnt out this summer. It appears those rumors were true. That said, not in an unplayable state, mostly just fuzzy around the edges #PGAChampionship pic.twitter.com/NVZNtvlv1o
— Joel Beall (@JoelMBeall) August 6, 2018
Last year as the last major: Starting in 2019, the PGA Championship will move to May, part of an overall schedule overhaul that will give the major season more continuity … but it’ll also mean a long wait from the British Open in July to the Masters in April. 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.
Ryder Cup jockeying: This is the last opportunity for American players to play their way into a guaranteed pick for the Ryder Cup team by finishing among the top 8 in points. While the top 7 are almost certain to make the team via either automatic pick or captain’s pick, it gets a little dicier from eight on downward. Webb Simpson holds the eighth spot by 49 points over Bryson Dechambeau, but considering the fact that the winner of the PGA Championship gets 4,000 points, that’s not exactly a stable lead. Also in the hunt: majors bridesmaid Matt Kuchar, British Open darling Xander Schauffele, and Masters anklebreaker Tony Finau. All might well be captain’s picks, but all would like to take the decision out of captain Jim Furyk’s hands.
Player of the Year: The PGA Championship gives everyone one more shot at Player of the Year status, and with no clear leader, there’s the chance for someone to swoop in and claim a bit of glory. Patrick Reed or Brooks Koepka would snare it with two major wins, while Justin Thomas or Bubba Watson would do the same with a major to combine with winning seasons. And how about Jordan Spieth, who would finish off the career Grand Slam with a win? That in itself likely wouldn’t be enough to get Spieth Player of the Year, but it’s out there.
How will Tiger Woods play?
All of a sudden, Woods is relevant again thanks to a T-6 at the British Open. Could he win once again? Perhaps. Let’s discuss via video:
The tournament tees off Thursday morning; tune in and hang at Yahoo Sports for complete PGA Championship coverage.
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