History awaits at Bellerive in 2018 PGA Championship
The fourth and final major of the season is upon us and all eyes turn to Bellerive and the PGA Championship this weekend.
Justin Thomas is the name on many lips as the defending champion, riding high after his victory at Firestone last week.
But there are storylines everywhere you look, not least Champion Golfer of the Year Francesco Molinari looking to complete an Open Championship and PGA double last achieved by Rory McIlory back in 2014.
Throw in Jordan Spieth, the Claret Jug winner last year at Royal Birkdale, who is looking to complete the career Grand Slam and a certain Tiger Woods and it is sure to be another week to remember.
ST LOUIS SLUG-FEST
With Missouri in the middle of a serious heatwave, the PGA have relaxed their rules to allow the players to practice wearing shorts.
Wide fairways and soft greens will give the long hitters and accurate iron players – such as world No.1 Dustin Johnson – opportunities.
With a five-year exemption to The Open Championship up for grabs for the winner – this year’s centenary PGA Championship could be one for the ages.
The last time a major was held here was the 1992 PGA Championship when Nick Price emerged victorious for the first of his three majors.
While Gary Player won the US Open here back in 1965 – becoming only the third man to complete the career Grand Slam in the process.
And Spieth will be looking to follow suit this year and complete his own Grand Slam. Should he do so, he would become the second youngest ever after Woods.
Molinari arrives at Bellerive looking to join an illustrious list of names to complete The Open and PGA Championship double.
McIlroy in 2014, Padraig Harrington in 2008, Woods twice in 2006 & 2000, Price in 1994 and Walter Hagen in 1924 are the other men to finish the summer in similar style.
Molinari is on form, with three wins including The Open and two runners-up in his past six starts although he ended up T39 at Bridgestone after taking a well-earned holiday post Carnoustie.
Throw in the fact that he flew under the radar after a second round 64 to finish second at last year’s PGA Championship and his chances of the double look impressive to say the least.
PAIRS TO WATCH
Woods – the four-time champion – is back at this major for the first time since 2015 and makes up an impressive Thursday trio with McIlroy and Thomas.
McIlroy – runner-up at Carnoustie – has a rounded game well suited to St Louis and if he can find the putting touch from Bay Hill he could be ready to shine at a major he was won twice already.
Meanwhile Thomas and Woods are not strangers having practiced together at Carnoustie in preparation for The Open.
🕗 Woods, McIlroy, Thomas— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) August 7, 2018
🕐 Reed, Molinari, Kopeka
🕢 Fowler, Poulter, Matsuyamahttps://t.co/dlDAarIoxz
The traditional pairing of the three major winnners of the season so far sees Molinari face off with Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.
But this is a major that has welcomed a few shocks over the years, Jimmy Walker, YE Yang, Shaun Micheel and Rich Beem to name but four since the turn of the century.
Could Tony Finau be the next man to come from long odds? Judging by his performances in 2018, he will be hard to overlook. He is the only man to have cracked the top ten at all three majors so far.
Should Finau make history though, he will have to overcome a star-studded field all chasing glory in the fourth and final major and with Ryder Cup spots up for grabs as well,
Next July The Open will return to Northern Ireland for the first time in 68 years. Tickets for The 148th Open at Royal Portrush are on sale and selling fast with Weekly Tickets, Weekend Bundles and Championship Sunday Ttickets already sold out. Visit TheOpen.com/PortrushTickets today for further details.