Let’s face it. The PGA is the fourth major. Not just in terms of when it falls on the golf schedule, but also in prestige.
The Masters has spring, tradition, and a green jacket. The U.S. Open is (supposedly) the toughest test in golf. The Open Championship is the oldest and features crazy weather and those cool links courses. They’re all unique.
The PGA is… a major. That’s it. Nothing really defines the PGA in comparison with the other big three events on the world stage.
Sure, we’ve had some good stories at the PGA. Tiger beating Bob May in 2000. Tiger winning at Southern Hills in Tulsa in 2007. DJ’s “bunker” problem in 2010 that opened the door for Martin Kaymer to win. And cinderella wins by Rich Beem and Shaun Micheel in 2002 and 2003.
Still, the PGA doesn’t normally generate Augusta type “buzz.” The casual sports fan is going into football mode and paying more attention to the MLB races.
Sorry PGA. Like Bruce Hornsby said “That’s just the way it is. Some things will never change.”
But wait! It could change this year PGA! Here’s your chance to make history with some great possibilities!
1. Jordan Spieth becomes the youngest player to win the career grand slam.
Thanks to Spieth’s incredible win at Royal Birkdale, he’s got a chance to do it at Quail Hollow this week. He would replace Tiger as the youngest ever. And a win would put the young Texan in a select group that only includes Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Gene Sarazen and Gary Player as the only players to win all 4 golf majors.
That would give Spieth golf icon status at 24 years old. It would be impressive.
2. Hideki Matsuyama could become the first Japanese player to win a major.
Isao Aoki and Tommy Nakajima contended in majors, Ryo Ishikawa was supposed to have won by now. However, it is Matsuyama that is in prime position to do it this week.
He dominated the Bridgestone Invitational against the best players in the world last week with a sizzling 61 on Sunday.
3. Rory is the horse for the course.
McIlroy has been disappointing by his standards recently, but has played better of late. Rory finished strong at the Open Championship (T4th) and contended at Firestone last week (T5th) with four rounds in the 60s.
Rory also has 2 career wins at Quail Hollow and holds the course record with a 61. Sure, the course has undergone a Tom Fazio redesign since, but a lot of the holes are still similar, so Rory has a great chance.
Putting will be the key for McIlroy.
He should drive it just fine. It’s all about the flatstick.
4. Rickie has won here too.
Fowler won his first PGA Tour event, the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow in 2012, beating Rory and D.A. Points in a playoff.
I keep waiting for Rickie to get that first major. He’s finished in the top 5 in all four during his career. It feels like it’s eventually going to happen. Maybe this is the week.
Two of the three majors have been tremendous this year. Sergio’s breakthrough at the Masters, and Jordan’s “rules” to capture the Claret Jug last month. Both great.
Ok PGA. The stage is yours. Let’s see if you can deliver some history.