The First Look: PGA Championship
August 04, 2017
By Jeff Shain, Special to PGATOUR.COM
Jimmy Walker notches his first major win at the PGA Championship
• COURSE: Quail Hollow Club, 7,600 yards, par 71. Already a player favorite as host of the Wells Fargo Championship, Quail Hollow unveils a new look for its first step into the major spotlight. Tom Fazio’s latest upgrade created three new holes, including a new 524-yard opener made by merging the old first and second holes. Nos. 4 and 5 also are new, made from the previous par-5 fifth hole. There was no need to tinker with the “Green Mile,” already deemed perhaps the toughest closing three holes on the PGA TOUR. George Cobb built the original 1961 layout, with Arnold Palmer and later Fazio tabbed for modifications. Quail Hollow was the Kemper Open’s original venue (1969-79) and later staged the World Seniors Invitational (1980-89), with the Presidents Cup coming in 2021.
• FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 600 points.
• CHARITY: PGA Reach, formerly 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 military veterans, disabled and special-needs golfers.
• FIELD WATCH: Jordan Spieth, atop the FedExCup standings and pointing toward a shot at the career Grand Slam, is joined by No.2 Dustin Johnson and defending champion Jimmy Walker to headline one of the year’s deepest fields. … All but two of the top 115 in the world rankings are slated to compete, missing only No.63 Martin Kaymer (shoulder) and No.75 Scott Piercy (unspecified). … Spots remain for the winners of this week’s WGC Bridgestone Invitational and Barracuda Championship, if not already qualified. … The lineup also includes the top 20 finishers from June’s PGA Professional National Championship.
• 72-HOLE RECORD: 265, David Toms (2001 at Atlanta AC).
• 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 AC), Thomas Bjorn (3rd round, 2005 at Baltusrol), Tiger Woods (2nd round, 2007 at Southern Hills), Steve Stricker (1st round, 2011 at Atlanta AC), Jason Dufner (2nd round, 2013 at Oak Hill), Hiroshi Iwata (2nd round, 2015 at Whistling Straits), Robert Streb (2nd round, 2016 at Baltusrol).
• LAST YEAR: Walker stood tall on the PGA Championship’s longest day, enduring a 36-hole finale at Baltusrol to hold off Jason Day’s late charge and win his first major title. Walker, who held at least a share of the lead after each round, shot 68-67 on the final day, playing his final 29 holes without a bogey to stay one stroke clear of Day’s bid for back-to-back Wanamakers. A Day eagle at Baltusrol’s par-5 18th hole made it interesting, though, especially after Walker’s 3-wood from 289 yards came down in greenside rough. The 37-year-old Texan pitched to 30 feet, though, and two-putted from there to emerge triumphant. The win had special meaning for Walker and caddie Andy Sanders, who met at Baltusrol when both were competing in the 2000 U.S. Amateur. Eight years later, Walker turned his bag over to Sanders.
• STORYLINES: Spieth, fresh off his adventuresome Open Championship triumph, needs only the PGA Championship to complete the career Grand Slam – and can best Tiger Woods as the youngest to do it if he wins at Quail Hollow. The Texan celebrated his 24th birthday just last week. … Rory McIlroy has been Quail Hollow’s master, using a final-round 62 to win his first PGA TOUR title there in 2010 and shooting 61 on the way to a 2015 victory. He also lost a playoff to Rickie Fowler in 2013. … Johnson, who took three consecutive wins into Augusta back in April, is down to his final chance to win a major in 2017.
• SHORT CHIPS: Eight of the past 11 major winners have been first-timers, including Sergio Garcia and Brooks Koepka this year. The exceptions: Spieth (twice) and Zach Johnson at St. Andrews. … Before that, five of the previous six winners already had a major title on their portfolio. … This marks the 60th year in which the PGA Championship has been decided by stroke play, after match play was employed for the first 39 editions.
• TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 1-7 p.m. ET (TNT). Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (TNT), 2-7 p.m. (CBS).
• PGA TOUR LIVE: None.
• RADIO: Thursday-Friday, noon-6 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 1-7 p.m. (SiriusXM).