There's nothing better for a golf fan than watching major championships. All four are special in their own ways.
Here are six things that make the PGA Championship great:
It has the strongest field in golf
Unlike the season's first three majors, which feature some amateur qualifiers/invitees, the PGA Championship is reserved for professionals. It always features more players in the top 100 of the Official World Golf Ranking than any of the other majors, making it the deepest field.
PGA Professionals — the experts in the game and the business of golf — don't get enough credit for what they do. And in regard to the 20 PGA pros who qualify for the PGA Championship each year through the PGA Professional Championship ... well, they just don't get enough credit for just how talented they are. For the most part, those 20 professionals spend the bulk of their year focusing on their students' games. To see the way they compete at such a high level in the PPC to earn a spot at the PGA Championship is inspiring.
It has the best course setup
If there's one thing we always hear at PGA Championships — no matter the venue — it's how satisfied the players are with the setup. The PGA's Kerry Haigh, the man responsible for that, provides as fair a test as you're going to find in championship golf. It's not the kind of tournament that tries to make the world's best players look silly. Great shots will be rewarded. And birdies and eagles are welcome, which makes it all the more exciting for fans and players.
Due to the favorable course setup, players can make up a lot of ground in a hurry. That can lead to some fantastic duels; Tiger Woods/Bob May in 2000 at Valhalla; Tiger/Y.E. Yang in 2009 at Hazeltine National; Rory McIlroy/Phil Mickelson/Rickie Fowler in 2014 at Valhalla; Jason Day/Jordan Spieth in 2015 at Whistling Straits, just to name a few. Because of the ability to score, the PGA Championship is probably the most wide-open of majors. At other majors where par might be considered your friend, the PGA Championship not only encourages but demands aggressive play for players to succeed.
The 3-hole aggregate playoff
A sudden-death playoff can be exciting, but it seems like a cruel way to decide a major. When players grind their tails off for 72 holes, it's a bummer when a hiccup on the first hole of a playoff leads to their downfall. At the PGA Championship, a three-hole, aggregate playoff feels just right. If you have a rough hole, you at least have an opportunity to fight back instead of it being one and done.
It's the last chance to win a major championship for eight, long months
While it isn't the end of golf season, for years the PGA Championship has marked the end of the major season. Top players who came up short in one of the season's previous three majors are trying desperately to pick off that last major so they don't have to spend all those months waiting for their next chance. Then there are the guys who can have an entire season turn around, like former champion Jimmy Walker. Walker put in so much work throughout the 2016 season but had little to show for it. With a win at Baltusrol, he earned the biggest highlight of his career. This year's PGA Championship brings with it even more meaning. A win by Jordan Spieth at Bellerive would make him just the sixth player in the Masters era (starting in 1934) to complete a career Grand Slam.