(CBS San Francisco) — Going into the PGA Championship, it’s already been an extended, unusual season on the PGA Tour. And in some sense, it’s additionally solely simply starting.
PGA Tour Season So Far
The 2019-2020 schedule kicked off innocuously sufficient with A Army Tribute at The Greenbrier again in September and rolled by means of its fall and winter occasions with out a lot out of the extraordinary. Then COVID-19 hit, stopping the Gamers Championship after one spherical. The PGA Tour, like most sports activities and far of the nation generally was compelled into an prolonged break.
Three months and a number of cancellations and postponements later, the Tour picked up once more with a revised calendar. The Open Championship opted to take the 12 months off. The Masters was moved to November, and the U.S. Open to mid-September. Each shifted to the 2020-2021 schedule. The PGA Championship moved to early August, turning into the present season’s solely main.
Within the weeks because the restart, major-level fields have performed with out followers on web site to observe. The number-one rating has modified arms twice. Rory McIlroy gave it to Jon Rahm, who handed it alongside to Justin Thomas this week. Bryson DeChambeau has excelled because of his added measurement and distance off the tee. However among the world’s top-10 golfers, to not point out Tiger Woods, have didn’t regain some continuity.
>>STREAM: PGA Championship
PGA Tour Calendar Going Ahead
However the calendar will be considered trying ahead as properly. “We’re about to enter the best stretch of golf within the historical past of the sport,” in response to CBS Sports activities golf anchor Jim Nantz. “Beginning on Thursday, in an 11-month stretch, we’re going to have seven main championships. We’re going to have the (FedExCup) Playoffs. That features two Masters, two PGA Championships… the Gamers Championship.”
“This can be a large time for the sport,” says Nantz. “And what a time it’s for the premiere gamers. If their recreation is in an excellent place… You can see anyone take two, three, who is aware of, perhaps 4 of those seven majors.”
This week is the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park. The occasion will as soon as once more characteristic many of the world’s high gamers contained in the ropes, however no followers outdoors the ropes.
>>READ: Amanda Balionis On 2020 PGA Championship At TPC Harding Park: ‘The Ball Is Not Going To Go As Far As We’re Used To Seeing The Final Six Weeks’
PGA Championship Area
Your complete high 10 is about to tee off, together with roughly 90 of the world’s high 100 gamers. Thomas hopes to proceed his momentum after successful the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and returning to primary for the primary time since 2018. McIlroy, now third however solely weeks faraway from the highest rating, has received the occasion twice. Brooks Koepka, ranked sixth, shall be in search of a historic third consecutive PGA Championship. The ninth-ranked Adam Scott will see his first motion because the canceled Gamers Championship
The sector additionally contains each champion from the final decade and some from the earlier decade, corresponding to Tiger Woods (1999, 2000, 2006, 2007) and Phil Mickelson (2005). Padraig Harrington (2008) and Vijay Singh (1998, 2004) have each withdrawn.
With a stacked area, there shall be no scarcity of storylines enjoying out at Harding Park. The entire world’s top-10 gamers will enter the favorites dialog in some unspecified time in the future. However the play of lots of them since golf’s return raises questions. McIlroy hasn’t seen the highest 10 since earlier than the break. Dustin Johnson received the Vacationers Championship, however he’s additionally missed two cuts and withdrawn from the 3M Open. Koepka had regarded uninspired earlier than his tie for second finally week’s WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. Solely Thomas, whose win over Koepka elevated him to primary, has proven any type of consistency.
Woods will play in his second occasion because the Tour’s return. The primary was a tie for 40th on the Memorial Match two weeks in the past. He’s received the PGA Championship 4 occasions, although the final time was 13 years in the past. His second-place end in 2018 at Bellerive is his finest lately. He additionally has some aggressive expertise on this course, together with a win on the WGC-American Categorical Championship in 2005 and a robust efficiency on the Presidents Cup in 2009. An uneven recreation in restricted motion of late makes it unlikely he’ll be that aggressive this 12 months.
Jordan Spieth will get one other probability at a profession grand slam. Now ranked 62nd on the earth and some years faraway from his final Tour win of any type, the historic milestone nonetheless appears out of attain. (He can be simply the sixth participant ever.) A tie for 10th on the Charles Schwab Basic is his finest exhibiting over the past two months.
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TPC Harding Park
A winner from outdoors the highest 10 and past a handful of family names wouldn’t be all that stunning. That TPC Harding Park isn’t an everyday cease on the PGA Tour makes it somewhat extra possible. This “gem of San Francisco,” as CBS sports activities director Dennis O’Donnell describes it, is “… a shot-making course, not a boomers course. It’s going to be a course of technique, not wail away from 400 yards…”
The course shall be a par-70 for the occasion, stretching to 7,234 yards. Cypress bushes line the fairways, which can play agency and have been narrowed considerably. The bushes could induce conservative play given their propensity to vanish golf balls. The heavy sea air and cooler temperatures may even maintain balls from flying so far as they may in any other case. The greens, refurbished with bentgrass in 2014, are typically massive and comparatively flat, however ought to play quick. After which there’s the climate, with wind and fog all the time a possible issue.
“That is going to be the hardest take a look at these guys have confronted up to now,” says CBS Sports activities on-course reporter Dottie Pepper, who had sneak peak yesterday. “It’s imply. It’s moist. The tough is extraordinarily lengthy. The greens are agency. The wind did come up somewhat bit. The factor the gamers have been speaking about most… was A) the tough, and B) how moist that tough is true now and C) the distinction in temperature. This has been a very sizzling eight weeks we’ve coated main into this. And there’s a 30 or 40-degree drop in temperature they have been experiencing this morning. And everybody was speaking quite a bit about that. When that occurs, golf balls will not be flying as far. You’ve received a golf course that’s arrange extraordinarily tough. And it’s simply going to be an enormous take a look at.”
>>READ: PGA Championship: A Gap-By-Gap Look At TPC Harding Park
PGA Championship Favorites
Listed here are the favorites for the PGA Championship:
Justin Thomas (10-1)
Thomas has in all probability been probably the most constant participant because the PGA Tour’s return. His win on the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational elevated him to the highest of the rankings. However he additionally has a number of top-10 finishes because the return, together with a playoff loss on the Workday Charity Open. by no means thoughts his 2017 PGA Championship. If Thomas’s putter is buzzing, he shall be exhausting to beat.
Brooks Koepka (10-1)
Koepka appeared to show issues round a pair weeks in the past and has since appeared far more dialed in. He’s coming off a runner-up end behind Thomas on the St. Jude and all the time tends to punch it up a notch for the majors. As defending champion twice over, Koepka might develop into the primary participant because the 1920s to three-peat on the PGA Championship.
Bryson DeChambeau (11-1)
DeChambeau has by no means cracked the highest 10 at a significant, however that looks like an actual risk this week. Together with his bulked-up body, he’s added a long way to his drives. Harding Park has some driveable par-4s, which might current the aggressive DeChambeau with scoring alternatives. However hazard additionally awaits, as angles matter on this course too.
Watch the PGA Championship, Saturday, August 8, 4:00 – 10:00 p.m. ET and Sunday, August 9, 3:00 – 9:00 p.m. ET on CBS.