2023 PGA Championship notes

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Oak Hill CC (East Course), May 18-21, Pittsford, New York
Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

Pittsford, New York. The second major of 2023 commences this week at storied Oak Hill Country Club. The storylines for this week's battle for the famed Wannamaker Trophy includes the on-again, off-again intersection of players from the LIV Tour and those from the PGA TOUR.

At April's Masters Jon Rahm captured his first Green Jacket and became Spain's third winner at Augusta. Finishing in the runner-up position were two LIV players, Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson. Rahm will attempt to become the first player from Spain to hoist the Wannamaker Trophy.

Jordan Spieth comes into the PGA Championship searching for a win that would propel him into golf's most exclusive clubs, winners of all the Grand Slam events. The three-time major winner withdrew from last week's Byron Nelson event citing a wrist injury.

 

Other news of note​

  • Oak Hill Country Club is hosting the PGA Championship for the fourth time, having previously done so in 1980, 2003 and 2013. Only Southern Hills, the site of last year’s PGA Championship, has hosted this championship as often (five times).  Oak Hill CC has also hosted three U.S. Open Championships (1956, 1968, 1989). Only three other clubs have hosted at least three PGA Championships and three U.S. Opens: Oakmont (3 PGA, 9 US), Oakland Hills (3 PGA, 6 US) and Southern Hills (5 PGA, 3 US).
  • Jack Nicklaus won the 1980 PGA Championship here at Oak Hill CC, while Lee Trevino won the U.S. Open here in 1968.  The only other club at which both Nicklaus and Trevino won major championships is Muirfield, at which Nicklaus and Trevino won Open Championships in 1966 and 1972, respectively.
2023 PGA Championship notes
Jon Rahm (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)
  • Ninety-nine of the top 100 golfers on the Official World Golf Ranking are expected to tee it up this week at Oak Hill CC, with the injured Will Zalatoris being the only omission.  It is the third time in the last five years that the PGA Championship has had 99 or 100 of the top 100 players in the world, having had 99 in 2021 at Kiawah Island and 99 in 2019 at Bethpage State Park.  There were 95 of the top 100 players at last year’s PGA Championship. The 100th ranked player entering last year’s championship at Southern Hills was Mito Pereira.
  • This year marks the 20th anniversary of Shaun Micheel’s 2003 PGA Championship victory at Oak Hill CC.  The four major winners that year (Mike Weir-Masters, Jim Furyk-USA Open, Ben Curtis-The Open Championship and Micheel) are all one-time major championship winners.  It is the only year in which the four major championships were won by players who never won another major either before or since.
  • This year marks the 10th anniversary of Jason Dufner’s PGA Championship here at Oak Hill CC.  Dufner catapulted to the lead after firing a 63 in the second round, matching the record for the lowest round in PGA Championship history.  It is the lowest score ever recorded at Oak Hill during a major championship.  Two players shot 64 during major championship play here: Curtis Strange in the second round of the 1989 U.S. Open and Webb Simpson in the second round of the 2013 PGA Championship.
Brooks Koepka (Mark Baker/AP)
  • Dufner was the only player at the 2013 PGA Championship to play the par-3s (-2), par-4s (-4) and par-5s (-4) under par.
  • During the second round of the 2013 PGA Championship, Woody Austin was penalized four shots for having too many clubs in his bag over the first two holes. He missed the cut by two shots.
  • Justin Thomas won the 2022 PGA Championship after entering the final round seven shots behind then-leader Mito Pereira, who stood at -9 through 54 holes.  It matched the largest fourth-round comeback in PGA Championship history.  John Mahaffey was seven shots back of 54-hole leader Tom Watson at Oakmont Country Club in 1978 and ultimately won in a three-man playoff alongside Watson and Jerry Pate.
  • In addition to Thomas and Mahaffey, four other major champions overcame a seven-or-more-shot deficit entering the final round: Paul Lawrie (10 shots back at the 1999 Open Championship at Carnoustie), Jack Burke, Jr. (8 shots back at the 1956 Masters), Arnold Palmer (7 shots back at the 1960 U.S. Open at Cherry Hills) and Gary Player (7 shots back at the 1978 Masters).
  • Justin Thomas is one of nine PGA Championship winners whose father was a PGA professional. The others are Keegan Bradley (2011), Rich Beem (2002), Davis Love III (1997), Raymond Floyd (1969 &1982), Dave Marr II (1965), Jack Burke, Jr. (1956), Doug Ford (1955) and Chick Harbert (1954).
Justin Thomas (AP Photo/Erik Verduzco)
  • During the 2013 PGA Championship at Oak Hill CC, 14 of the 18 holes played over par for the Championship. The two most difficult holes, ranked by stroke average relative to par were the par-four 17th hole (4.416) and the par-four 18th hole (4.344).  It is one of only two major championships over the last 30 years at which the final two holes played as the most difficult for the week (in either order).  That was also the case at the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, at which the par-3 17th played as the most difficult (3.53) and the par-4 18th played as the second-most difficult (4.39).
  • Each of the top three finishers at the 2013 PGA Championship at Oak Hill C.C. was 36 years old or older (Jason Dufner-36, Jim Furyk-43 and Henrik Stenson-37).  Of the last 278 majors played, it is the only one in which each player among the top three and ties was at least 36 years old.  You have to go back to the 1953 U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club to find the previous such major (Ben Hogan-40, Sam Snead-41 and Lloyd Mangrum-38).
  • Consider that each player among the top 3 and ties from the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills was in his 20s: Justin Thomas-29, Will Zalatoris-25, Mito Pereira-27 and Cameron Young-25.
  • Starting with Jimmy Walker’s win at Baltusrol in 2016, each of the last seven PGA Championships has been won by an American (Walker, Thomas, Koepka (twice), Morikawa, Mickelson, Thomas).  It is the longest such streak at this championship since a 10-year run from 1980-1989.
2023 PGA Championship notes
Scottie Scheffler (Stephen B. Morton/AP)
  • Englishman Jim Barnes won the first two PGA Championships, in 1916 and 1919, however no player representing Great Britain has won this championship since.
  • In both of the last two PGA Championships, the player ranked #1 in the Official World Golf Rankings at the time ended up missing the cut (Dustin Johnson in 2021 and Scottie Scheffler in 2022).  Prior to 2021, the last time the #1 player in the world missed the cut at the PGA Championship was in 1986, when Seve Ballesteros failed to qualify for weekend play at Inverness Club.
  • Masters winner and world number one Jon Rahm will attempt to start 2022 by winning the first two major championships of the year.  Over the last 70 years, only five golfers have been able to pull that off: Ben Hogan (1953), Arnold Palmer (1960), Jack Nicklaus (1972), Tiger Woods (2002) and Jordan Spieth (2015).  Spieth winning the 2015 Masters and U.S. Open also marks the last time that a player won consecutive majors, regardless of time of year.
  • Five of the last six Masters champions went on to miss the cut in their first PGA Championship subsequent to slipping on the green jacket: Scottie Scheffler (2022), Dustin Johnson (2021), Tiger Woods (2019), Patrick Reed (2018) and Sergio Garcia (2017).  The only recent exception is Hideki Matsuyama, who finished T-23 at the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. Note that Kiawah was the first PGA Championship following a Masters victory for both Dustin Johnson (November 2020 Masters) and Hideki Matsuyama (2021 Masters).
  • Three of the last four PGA Championship winners had a winning score that was single digits under par: Koepka (2019 at Bethpage State Park, -8), Mickelson (2021 at Kiawah Island, -6) and Thomas (2022 at Southern Hills, -5). Just prior to this stretch (2012-2018), the PGA Championship winner had a score that was 10 or more under par in six out of seven years, with an average score relative to par of -14.  That includes a PGA Championship record-setting -20 score by Jason Day at Whistling Straits in 2015.
Xander Schauffele (Chris Carlson/AP)
  • Xander Schauffele finished T-13 at the 2022 PGA Championship, followed by finishing T-14 at the U.S. Open at the The Country Club, T-15 at The Open Championship at St. Andrews and T-10 at the Masters last month.  He is the only player with a top-20 finish in each of the last four majors.
  • Starting with his 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills, Brooks Koepka has finished either first or second in eight of the last 21 majors in which he has competed. That includes his T-2 finish at Augusta GC last month. The only other players with as many as three top-2 finishes in majors since June 2017 are Dustin Johnson (4), Louis Oosthuizen (3) and Will Zalatoris (3). Over the last 50 years, the only other players to finish either first or second place eight times over a span of 21 major championship starts are Tiger Woods, Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus.
  • Forty-two-year-old Justin Rose is the only player who has finished among the top 20 in each of the last three PGA Championships, finishing 9th in 2020 at TPC Harding Park, T-8 in 2021 at Kiawah Island and T-13 last year at Southern Hills.  The only other player since 2000 to forge three consecutive top 20 finishes at the PGA Championship after turning 40 years old was Steve Stricker, who did it five times in a row as a 40-something from 2010 through 2014.
2023 PGA Championship notes
Justin Rose (AP Photo/John Raoux)
  • Francesco Molinari, who is a PGAA invitee this week, has made the cut at the PGA Championship in each of his last 12 starts, dating back to 2009 (he did not compete in either 2020 or 2021).  That is the longest active streak of its kind, ahead of Hideki Matsuyama (10), Brooks Koepka (10) and Jason Day (10).
  • John Rahm has made the cut in each the last 14 major championships, last missing the cut at the 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage State Park .  That is the longest current streak of its kind.
  • During the streak, Rahm’s scoring average is 70.20, which is the best among the 76 players with at least 25 major championship rounds played over that time, ahead of Scottie Scheffler (70.23), Will Zalatoris (70.45), Xander Schauffele (70.50) and Rory McIlroy (70.52).
  • The best current players without a major? Here is the list of players currently under 50 years old with the most top-10 finishes in major championships without a victory: Matt Kuchar (12 top-10s, 44 year old), Paul Casey (12, 45 y/o), Ricky Fowler (12 34 y/o), Tony Finau (10, 33 y/o) and  Xander Schauffele (10, 29 y/o).  What about Patrick Cantlay? Surprisingly, he has only three top-10 finishes at the majors (2019 Masters-T9, 2019 PGA-T3 and 2022 Open Championship-T8).
2023 PGA Championship notes
Rory McIlroy (David Davies/PA)
  • This is the fourth year, since the PGA Championship moved to May in 2019, that the AT&T Byron Nelson was played the week immediately prior to this championship.  Sung Kang won the 2019 Byron Nelson then finished T-7th the next week at the PGA Championship at Bethpage State Park.  K.H. Lee won the 2021 Byron Nelson and then missed the cut at the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island Resort.  Lee won the Byron Nelson again in 2022 and then finished T-41st at Southern Hills.
  • The last player to win a tournament on the PGA TOUR and then win the PGA Championship one week later was Rory McIlroy, who won the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla a week after winning the WGC Bridgestone Invitational in early August.
  • Since 2010, a club professional has made the cut at the PGA Championship ten times, including two made cuts by Rob Labritz (T-68 in 2010 at Whistling Straits and T-60 2019 at Bethpage State Park). None of the ‘Team of Twenty’ made the cut in 2022.  The last club professional to finish among the top 40 was Steve Schneiter at Baltusrol in 2005 (T-40).

***

Compiled by Elias Sprots Bureau, Inc.

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About M. James Ward

A GWAA and MGWA member, the 66-year-old from the USA has covered golf in all facets since 1980, notably the major championships and other high level events. He has played over 2,000 courses globally and has competed in USGA Championships.

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US PGA Championship 2023 preview

Date: May 18th - 21st 2023

Location: Oak Hill CC (East Course), Pittsford, New York

Purse: $15,000,000

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