MADE IN THE USA
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, with Brooks Koepka (2018), Justin Thomas (2017) and Jimmy Walker (2016) winning the last three PGA Championships, note that only once in the last 30 years have four consecutive American-born players won the PGA. That last happened when Tiger Woods (2000), David Toms (’01), Rich Beem (’02) and Shaun Micheel (’03) won four straight PGA Championships from 2000-03.
COMMON THREAD AMONG TIGER, PHIL AND SERGIO
Two previous Major Championships have been played at Bethpage Black: the 2002 and ’09 US Opens. Only three players finished in the top 10 in both events: Tiger Woods (winner in 2002, T-6 in ’09), Phil Mickelson (second in both 2002 and ’09) and Sergio Garcia (fourth in 2002, T-10 in ’09). Note courtesy of Elias Sports Bureau.
27 AND COUNTING FOR PHIL
2005 Champion Phil Mickelson is playing in his 27th consecutive PGA Championship this week, which is the longest current streak among those in the field.
IT’S BEEN TOO LONG
There are 12 Englishmen at Bethpage Black this week attempting to end their homeland’s 100-year PGA Championship victory drought. The first and only native of England to win the PGA Championship was Jim Barnes, who claimed the initial two Championships in 1916 and 1919.
SPIETH HOPING THAT THE THIRD TIME IS HIS CHARM
For a third straight year, one of the primary storylines of the PGA Championship will focus on Jordan Spieth’s quest to complete the career grand slam. His first pursuit came in 2017 at Quail Hollow Club, where he finished T-28. Last year, in his second try, Spieth finished T-12 at Bellerive.
Only five players have achieved the Career Grand Slam to date: Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods. If Spieth were able to finish off his Slam this week, he’d also make history as the first player to complete the Grand Slam at the PGA Championship.
There will not be a KitchenAid Senior PGA Champion in the field this week at Bethpage Black, as there usually is. While the Senior PGA Champion is granted an exemption every year into the PGA Championship Field, there has not been a KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship played since last August’s 2018 PGA Championship. Paul Broadhurst, the 2018 KitchenAid Senior PGA Champion, played last year at Bellerive. The 2019 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship will be played at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York next week, May 23-26.
CRAFTSMAN AND PGA CLUB PROFESSIONAL HOCKNULL PUTS A NEW PUTTER IN PLAY
Australian-born Craig Hocknull will use a new putter in competition this week at Bethpage Black. Hocknull designed three “Tour White Laser Picture” mallet putters, with each bearing a separate laser image of his three sons – JC, Gregor and Hugh – on the sole. It was the “Hugh” model that carried Hocknull to a second straight PGA Championship berth, when he finished among the low 20 scorers in the PGA Professional Championship earlier this month at Belfair in Bluffton, South Carolina. Hocknull, the PGA Director of Instruction at his company, Saber Golf, in Gilbert, Arizona, will rely upon the heavier (510 cc) “Gregor” model this week. “The greens are faster here than at Belfair,” said Hocknull. “I like how the Gregor has felt in getting the ball to the hole.”