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Here are a few odds and ends as the 156 players this week get set to tee off Thursday at Oakland Hills.
BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Nine holes of practice doesn't seem like much in preparation for a major. But that's all Rocco Mediate will have at Oakland Hills before he cranks it up for Thursday's first round.
But is he concerned? Nah. It's been a whirlwind summer, and even though a potential Ryder Cup berth is on the line (a top-four finish would secure an automatic spot), Mediate is listening to his body, which is telling him one thing. He's tired.
Plus, he played the course last year during a qualifier for the British Open, so he doesn't expect to see any surprises.
"The greens are difficult, but they are still right in front of you," Mediate said. "I remember them all ... I know where the fairways are. Put the ball in the fairway and go from there.
"It's not rocket science. It's just you've got to be under these holes. You cannot play from over these greens. ... Obviously it was an original (Donald) Ross (course), so he didn't like you to go long. He hated that, actually. He made you pay. So he liked you to play short or on the green obviously." -- Mike McAllister
MORE ROCCO: Two majors down the road and ... Mediate is still shaking his head over all the rock-star attention.
Between practice, media interviews, a Jay Leno appearance and his new Q-rating with fans, Mediate says things are moving fast. Surreal, he said. Amazing.
"It's just, the amazing thing is the amount of people that saw that U.S. Open, and the amount of people that have come up to me just in the middle of wherever, it doesn't matter," he said. "Walking to dinner last night, one guy stopped the car on the street, sent his son over, I signed the autograph and he got back in the car.
"It was kind of freaky, actually. It was fine. There wasn't much going on. It wasn't a busy street."
And the reality? It's totally different. People are still coming up and telling him stories about them watching his duel with Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines or a friend of a friend's story or ... well, you get the picture.
"I've still got stories and there will be more stories, about how many people watched it, and I've told you it a million times; 'My father hates golf, my mother hates golf and she watched the whole thing,' " said Mediate, who tied for 19th at the British Open two weeks ago.
He's even hearing about it in the locker room.
"Some of the players, I was just talking to Parker McLachlin and he said, 'I watched you for five hours, I don't know what the heck I was thinking about. My wife was telling me to get the hell off the couch.' Stuff like that, it's pretty cool, it's kind of neat."
-- Melanie Hauser
BACK TO BALTUSROL: PGA of America president Brian Whitcomb confirmed Wednesday that Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J. will be the site of the 2016 PGA Championship.
Baltusrol hosted the 2005 PGA Championship won by Phil Mickelson, and has also hosted seven U.S. Opens and two U.S. Amateurs.
Playing at Baltusrol in 2016 will also allow the PGA to celebrate its 100th anniversary near its origins in New York.
"For us to be able to host our Centennial Championship there at Baltusrol is a wonderful opportunity for us," Whitcomb said. "We are honored to say that our friends at Baltusrol will have us as their partner in 2016." -- Mike McAllister
PRIZE MONEY: The PGA also released its prize money breakdown for this week's event. The total purse is $7.5 million, with first prize getting $1,350,000. That's the biggest purse and first prize in PGA Championship history.
Here is the breakdown this decade:
|PGA Championship prize money|
|Year||First place||Total purse|
PAIRINGS ADJUSTMENT: Usually, the winners of the first three majors of the season are paired together for the first two days at the PGA Championship. But since U.S. Open champion Tiger Woods is out, 2007 U.S. Open winner Angel Cabrera is filling Tiger's spot alongside Masters champ Trevor Immelman and Open Championship winner Padraig Harrington.
This will be the first time since 1994 that the traditional pairing has featured three international players. Since that time, American players have won at least two of the four majors each year.
Cabrera, Immelman and Harrington are set to tee off at 1:15 p.m. ET off the first tee Thursday and 8:05 a.m. ET Friday off the 10th tee. -- Mike McAllister
SPEAKING OF MAJORS: If Immelman or Harrington were to win the PGA Championship this week, not only would that give either player two major wins this year, it would also put them in the driver's seat as far as claiming Player of the Year honors.
But that deck is stacked against both players this week.
Just three players have won the British Open and the PGA Championship in the same year -- Walter Hagen (1924), Nick Price (1994) and Tiger Woods (2000, 2006).
Meanwhile, it has been 32 years since a player has won both the Masters and the PGA Championship in the same year, with Jack Nicklaus doing the trick in 1975. -- Mike McAllister
TIGER SUPPLIES DINNER: Woods, the two-time defending champ,
was unable to attend the traditional Champions Dinner held Tuesday night at Oakland Hills Country Club because of his season-ending knee surgery, but he and wife Elin still provided a taste of her native Sweden to the assembled Past Champions and PGA of America officials.
The traditional Swedish meal was highlighted by choices that included poached shrimp; dill-marinated herring; scallops; salmon; pike; swedish meatballs and seared swedish sausages; duck breast; and crusted elk medallions.
SPEAKING OF TIGER: He likely won't be watching the tournament this week.
Woods, who is rehabbing his surgically repaired knee, watched the final couple of holes of the British Open and told ESPN Radio's Scott Van Pelt he wouldn't watch the last major of 2008.
"I probably won't watch any of this one," Woods said Tuesday. "This one's a little more frustrating for me. I'm two-time defending, and not being able to get out there and defend something I've already defended once and can't do it twice, it's a little bit frustrating."
Woods called in from Orlando, Fla., and talked about everything from his rehab to daughter Sam to Brett Favre and Roger Federer.
Here are other highlights from Van Pelt's show:
* He's started riding a stationary bike and the knee is getting better. "Nice to be active again," he said. " ... Everything's progressing ... It's all been mini goals so far. The first step was to actually get off the crutches."
* He's taking things slowly and methodically. "This is the first time first time to be able to pick up Sam and walk around with her and know not do any damage.? And, he said it's frustrating to go from the top of your game to struggling to get to the bathroom.
* Sam, he said, isn't just walking, she's running. "I literally can't walk as fast as she can move around the house."
* He misses the preparation, the practice. "I miss getting out there, preparing and ultimately testing yourself."
* He understands Favre changing his mind and thinks that's ok. His friend Michael Jordan did the same thing. And he said, when the time comes to retire, he'll know it. "When I get to a point where my best is not good enough anymore, as I prepare and I practice and I get ready, and I know if I go out there and play the way I know I can play and it's just not good enough anymore, my skills have diminished that far, it's time for me to move on, rack the cue and go home."
* He isn't rushing anything. He said he could putt right now, but doesn't want to. "What's the point? I have another five months to kill ... I'll take it in stages."
* On enjoying being at home full time: "It's been absolutely incredible. Some people have told me this will be the greatest time you'll ever have. To be home and to see Sam develop and be with Elin and do all the things I'm never able to do ... So much fun to do those little things and to grow with my family." -- Melanie Hauser
WEATHER UPDATE: Here's the four-day outlook for the rest of this week:
Thursday -- Partly to mostly cloudy, with a chance of showers and thunderstorms mainly during the afternoon. Winds from the northwest between 8-15 mph.
Friday -- Partly to mostly cloudy and breezy, with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Winds from the northwest at 10-15 mph, gusting to 20-25 mph.
Saturday -- Partly cloudy and breezy, with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Winds from the north northwest at 10-15 mph, gusting to 20 mph.
Sunday -- Partly sunny and pleasant. Winds from the north northwest at 8-10 mph.
COURSE CHANGES: Wondering how different Oakland Hills is this week compared to when Ben Hogan tamed "the monster" at the 1951 U.S. Open? Here are the changes in yardage for each hole during the major championships held at Oakland Hills.
|Oakland Hills yardage variances|