Date: August 07, 2014
Author: Martin Blake /

PGA Championship Guide

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Originally set up as the championship for professionals in a time when the game was dominated by wealthy amateurs, the PGA is always considered the least of the four majors in golf.

Yet it has retained its place as a bona fide major, the last of the season. From 1916 to 1957 it was a matchplay tournament, then it reverted to strokeplay. Twenty spots in the field are reserved for club professionals, and it is difficult to get into the field as an amateur, unlike at the other majors where a few starts are handed out.

 Four Australians — Steve Elkington (1995), Wayne Grady (1990), David Graham (1979) and Jim Ferrier (1947) — have won the tournament. Greg Norman was denied by Bob Tway's hole-out from a bunker at Inverness in 1986, and the Shark never won the PGA despite finishing in the top five on five occasions.

 The course:

 Valhalla Golf Club, in Louisville, Kentucky is a Jack Nicklaus-designed course opened in 1986, and has already hosted a Ryder Cup (2008) and a few majors. It last hosted the PGA Championship in 2000, when Tiger Woods beat Bob May in a three-hole playoff. It will play at par-71 this time, with one of the par-fives converted to par-four, and is 6820 metres long, finishing with a par-five.

 Recent PGA winners:

2013 Jason Dufner (USA)  Oak Hill

2012 Rory McIlroy (NIR)  Kiawah Island

2011 Keegan Bradley (USA)   Atlanta Athletic Club

2010 Martin Kaymer (GER)  Whistling Straits

2009 Y.E Yang (KOR)  Hazeltine National

2008 Padraig Harrington (IRE)  Oakland Hills

 Leading contenders

 Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland) the world No. 1 is coming off consecutive wins.

Phil Mickelson (USA) was white hot in the final round at Firestone.

Adam Scott (Australia) Keeps chipping away and is due a good week with the putter.

Justin Rose (England) Was T4 at Firestone and has the game for the grind of a major.

Sergio Garcia (Spain) Faded under McIlroy's blowtorch last week but playing superbly.

 Tiger Watch

 Tiger Woods has indicated that he will play, having been advised the back spasms that forced his withdrawal at Firestone last week were unrelated to this year's back surgery. "I feel fine,'' he said, completing nine holes of a practice round. Woods has won four PGA Championships. His appearance and his apparent demise as a major force in the game is sure to attract plenty of attention this week.

 The Australians:

 Adam Scott: world No. 2 has been amazingly consistent, and has saved energy for this stretch.

Jason Day: battling illness and injury after early-2014 surge.

Marc Leishman: Third at Firestone last week and top-five at the Open Championship, seems ready to take another step forward.

John Senden: Continues to improve his game, especially on the greens, and could contend.

Steven Bowditch: Early-season win put him in the field, and he has been solid.

Matt Jones: Has not contended since he won the Houston Open in April.

Geoff Ogilvy: won in Nevada last week to grab a place, and playing better after a dry spell.

Stuart Deane: An Australian PGA Club Professional who is based in the United States and qualified.

 Television/ Round 1 Tee Times:

 Fox Sports from 3am Friday

10.15 pm (Thursday AEST) Adam Scott

10.25pm Jason Day

11.15pm Marc Leishman

3.20am (Friday) John Senden

4am Matt Jones

4.35am  Geoff Ogilvy

4.40am Steven Bowditch