I’LL BE IN LOUISVILLE THIS WEEK for the 96th PGA Championship, which will be played for the third time at Valhalla Golf Club. Mark Brooks defeated Kenny Perry in a playoff to win the title in 1996. Tiger Woods beat Bob May in 2000, also in extra holes.
As the PGA of America reported last week, its major championship boasts the best field in golf:
“[T]he top 100 players in the Official World Golf Ranking have committed to play in the 96th PGA Championship….Barring any withdrawals before the opening round, this would be the first time any major championship would feature every one of the top 100 world-ranked players.”
We now know there will be some exceptions.
For one, Dustin Johnson, who last week announced his leave from golf for an indefinite period of time. And after his withdrawal yesterday from the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational due to more back problems, Tiger Woods is certainly questionable for the year’s last major.
The PGA Championship won’t be the same without marquee players such as Johnson and Woods (if Tiger withdraws, as I expect he might). But it can still be compelling with Rory McIlroy and his recent run, as well as the rest of the Top 100 primed for the challenge.
Added the host organization, “The PGA Championship has featured the most top 100 world-ranked players of any event in golf since 1994. The field for the 96th PGA Championship includes 29 major champions, 70 international players representing 24 countries, and all three of the year’s major championship winners. They will compete for the coveted Wanamaker Trophy….”
15 PGA Champions in Field
Defending champion Jason Dufner is one of 15 former champions who will tee it up at Valhalla.
The others, in alphabetical order, are:
Rich Beem (2002), Keegan Bradley (2011), Mark Brooks (1996), John Daly (1991), Padraig Harrington (2008), Martin Kaymer (2010), Davis Love III (1997), Rory McIlroy (2012), Shaun Micheel (2003), Phil Mickelson (2005), Vijay Singh (1998, 2004), David Toms (2001), Tiger Woods (1999, 2000, ’06, ’07), and Y.E. Yang (2009)
The field of 156 players also includes 20 PGA club professionals who qualified in June at the PGA Professional National Championship in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.