THE FIRST LOOK
August 02, 2014
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM
- Jason Dufner captured the 2013 PGA Championship for his first major victory. (Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
• COURSE: Valhalla Golf Club, 7,458 yards, par 71. Once a quarterhorse farm and a Boy Scout camp on the outskirts of Louisville, Kentucky, Valhalla has been on a fast track since not long after the Jack Nicklaus design opened its doors in 1986. It took just six years to pique the PGA of America’s interest, landing the 1996 PGA Championship and before long a bid for the organization to buy the property. Another PGA Championship arrived in 2000, climaxed by Tiger Woods’ epic three-hole playoff win over Bob May. In 2008, Paul Azinger’s underdog U.S. Ryder Cup side produced the Americans’ only victory this century in the rivalry.
• FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 600 points.
• CHARITY: The PGA Foundation has contributed more than $40 million over the past two decades to growth-of-the-game initiatives, ranging from establishment of The First Tee to teaching grants and funding for disabled and special-needs golfers.
• FIELD WATCH: Reigning major champions Rory McIlroy (Open Championship), Martin Kaymer (U.S. Open) and Bubba Watson (Masters) head traditionally the strongest field of the year, with 99 of the top 100 in the world rankings expected to participate. … The only exception is No. 16 Dustin Johnson, who Thursday announced a leave of absence from golf to deal with personal issues. … Openings remain for the winners of this week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and Barracuda Championship if not already qualified. … Champions Tour pros Colin Montgomerie (Senior PGA Championship winner) and Kenny Perry (special invite) have spots booked. … The lineup also includes the top 20 finishers from June’s PGA Professional National Championship.
• 72-HOLE RECORD: 265, David Toms (2001 at Atlanta Athletic Club).
• 18-HOLE RECORD: 63, Bruce Crampton (2nd round, 1975 at Firestone CC), Raymond Floyd (1st round, 1982 at Southern Hills), Gary Player (2nd round, 1984 at Shoal Creek), Michael Bradley (1st round, 1993 at Inverness), Vijay Singh (2nd round, 1993 at Inverness), Brad Faxon (4th round, 1995 at Riviera CC), José María Olazábal (3rd round, 2000 at Valhalla), Mark O’Meara (2nd round, 2001 at Atlanta Athletic Club), Thomas Bjorn (3rd round, 2005 at Baltusrol), Tiger Woods (2nd round, 2007 at Southern Hills), Steve Stricker (1st round, 2011 at Atlanta Athletic Club), Jason Dufner (2nd round, 2013 at Oak Hill).
• LAST YEAR: Jason Dufner made a second chance pay off, outpacing Jim Furyk down the stretch at Oak Hill to claim the major crown he left on the table exactly two years earlier. Dufner, whose Friday 63 matched the 18-hole record in a major, began the final day one shot behind Furyk but moved in front with a birdie at No. 8. Furyk bogeyed the next hole, and never managed to make up ground against Dufner’s steady play. Dufner’s four-day total of 270 was four shots better than any other major held at Oak Hill. It also was redemption for missteps at the 2011 PGA, when he blew a four-shot lead over the final four holes and lost a playoff to Keegan Bradley.
• STORYLINES: Tiger Woods, now down to No. 10 in the world, returns to the scene of his epic three-hole playoff triumph in 2000. Still without a top-10 finish in 2014, he’s in need of FedExCup points as much as a 15th major title. … It’s also the last crack at a major for everyone else this year, with an eight-month wait before next year’s Masters. … Valhalla is the final chance for U.S. golfers to earn an automatic berth onto this year’s Ryder Cup team. The top nine on the U.S. points list after the PGA will book passage to Gleneagles. Captain Tom Watson then will have two weeks to decide on three captain's picks.
• SHORT CHIPS: After a run of 15 first-time major champions in five years, all three of 2014’s winners already had one in their trophy collection. The last time all four had won majors previously: 2000, when Vijay Singh won the Masters and Woods swept the other three. … The last time anyone captured two majors in the same year was 2008, when Padraig Harrington doubled up at The Open Championship and PGA. … The PGA of America once again is giving fans a chance to vote on the Sunday hole location at Valhalla’s long par-4 16th. Voting takes place online, with four options to choose from.
• TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 1-7 p.m. ET (TNT). Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (TNT), 2-7 p.m. (CBS).
• RADIO: Thursday-Friday, noon-7 p.m. ET; Saturday-Sunday 1-7 p.m. ET (SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio).