Published: Thu, August 09, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Five to watch at the US PGA Championship

Five to watch at the US PGA Championship

That's where some degree of normalcy returned.

"Right now it doesn't really favor anyone because it's playing so soft, " Woods said.

Oosthuizen was runner-up at the PGA a year ago and is one of a few players to have finished second at every major in his career.

The other was Woods, who has done it twice.

Northern Ireland's McIlroy has not won a major since the 2014 US PGA Championships title, which marked his second win in the event following a 2012 success.

Longtime golf instructor Peter Kostis thinks Tiger Woods has done "exactly what he needs to do" in remaking his swing after spinal fusion finally allowed him to overcome his back problems.

Rose admitted it's a different way to approach a major championship, but the victor of the 2013 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills has been in enough of those that he knows what to expect.

Prize money: TBA ($10.5 million in 2017).

It has now been more than a year since he recorded a PGA Tour victory.

Woods would end up winning the tournament five of the next six years.

"I needed Monday off so I spent a few times in the ice bath just trying to get some inflammation down and just trying to get ready for the rest of the week", he said.

This is a deep friendship that transcends any rivalry, and Thomas was never overly bothered by the mention of being Spieth's close friend. He used to lift and run more during the run-up to a major tournament, "to stay fresh".

"Maybe I'll get to see the nightlife", he said.

There remains another shadow that was even stronger at Bellerive, and Thomas fully expects that. Patrick Reed or Brooks Koepka would snare it with two major wins, while Justin Thomas or Bubba Watson would do the same with a major to combine with winning seasons. And you look at the guys that we're calling rookies even on both sides; you look at (Tyrrell) Hatton, (Tommy) Fleetwood, (Jon) Rahm, (Alex) Noren, and those are four of their hottest players. Coming to this course, however, makes him reflect on that fateful day back in 2001. I'm 42 now and I've had four back surgeries.

But he also enters playing well after a joint runner-up finish at the recent British Open. All that did was ratchet up the hysteria that perhaps another major is in the cards.

"It will be pretty insane out there", Thomas said. I've done a lot of good things. So yeah, it will be a cool week. I know how to play the game of golf.

The players with Woods on Wednesday - and for the next two days - were telling. In 1965, the then five-year-old course hosted the U.S. Open, still the youngest U.S. Open site ever.

Kerry Haigh of the PGA of America took what some considered a subtle shot at the USGA when he said Tuesday his goal in setting up courses for the PGA Championship is to let the players be the stars.

Woods hasn't won a tournament since 2013, but he's back to being a contender this year.

Jordan Spieth, one of the leaders struggling the most at the moment, after wins at the Masters, the US Open and the Open Championship, will try for a Grand Slam to join the list that includes Woods, Nicklaus, Gene Sarazen, Gary Player and Ben Hogan. "I've gotten into a couple of bad habits, as you said, and that just makes it a little tougher for me to be consistent with a shorter club in my hand". And while Gramps has been there for many of his career-defining moments, there are many distant relatives that will get to see him compete for the first time this week. "I'm looking for 12 guys that will really accept the challenge ahead of us because it's been 25 years since we won in Europe". So absolutely, you're very keenly aware that this is the last opportunity.

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