5 talking points ahead of the US PGA Championship

Having moved from August to May, the second golf major of the year is just days away

Tiger Woods won his 15th major title in the 2019 Masters
Tiger Woods won his 15th major title in the 2019 Masters (Matt Slocum/AP)

The second golf major of the year is just days away, with the US PGA Championship having moved from August to May.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at five talking points ahead of the action at Bethpage State Park.

Can Tiger Woods win a 16th major title?

Not so long ago the question was whether Woods would ever play again after three operations failed to cure debilitating back problems and the former world number one was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after being found asleep at the wheel of his car. However, the spinal fusion surgery he underwent a month before that arrest saved the 43-year-old’s career and he rolled back the years to win a first major title since 2008 in last month’s Masters. Woods also won the 2002 US Open at Bethpage and was sixth in the same event there in 2009 and it would be a brave person to bet against him now.

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Will Jordan Spieth complete the career grand slam?

With the US PGA moving from August to May, each of the year’s first three majors has players trying to join Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Woods in having won all four major titles. Rory McIlroy was unable to do so in the Masters and six-time runner-up Phil Mickelson will attempt it at the US Open, but before then Spieth will have his third attempt to join golf’s most exclusive club. Spieth’s last win was the third leg of the career slam at the 2017 Open and the former world number one’s slide down the rankings shows no signs of abating.

5 talking points ahead of the US PGA Championship
Jordan Spieth at the 2018 Open Championship. (Jane Barlow/PA)

What difference will the change in date make?

An August date meant the US PGA had become synonymous with sweltering conditions but that will not be the case on Long Island in May, where temperatures are predicted to be in the mid-60s fahrenheit. The course has also remained open to the public until the end of April, but tournament officials are optimistic that the rough will grow enough to be around three and a half to four inches long by the time play gets under way. The par-70 layout measures 7,436 yards and is set to pose the same kind of test as when it hosted the US Open in 2002 and 2009, when the winning totals were three and four under respectively.

Is a shock winner possible?

Since Darren Clarke and Keegan Bradley won the last two majors of 2011 when ranked 111th and 108th in the world respectively, the lowest-ranked winner of any major has been Jimmy Walker, who was 48th when he won the 2016 US PGA Championship. In 2018, Patrick Reed was ranked 24th before his Masters victory, Brooks Koepka ninth ahead of the US Open, Francesco Molinari 15th before the Open and Koepka fourth ahead of the US PGA. Woods was 12th before winning the 2019 Masters.

5 talking points ahead of the US PGA Championship
Team USA’s Brooks Koepka during the Foursomes match on day two of the Ryder Cup. (David Davies/PA)

Will American dominance continue?

Although McIlroy won two US PGA titles in the space of three years and Padraig Harrington and Martin Kaymer have also tasted victory, American players have dominated the event in recent years, winning 15 of the last 23 and three in succession courtesy of Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Koepka. American players also filled eight of the top 11 places at the Masters.