PGA returns to Southern Hills while Mickelson is discussing his return | WGN Radio 720

As with the Masters, expectations for the PGA Championship in recent weeks have risen. And like the last major, it’s more about who plays than who has a chance to win.

Of course there are differences.

Social media tracked Tiger Woods’ private jet to Augusta National a week before the Masters, hoping he could play just 14 months after a car crash in Los Angeles broke his right foot and ankle. rice field. Sure enough, Woods walked and played a lot enough to go on the weekends.

Phil Mickelson hasn’t been contacted for nearly three months.

Mickelson, the defending champion of historic proportions, signed up for the PGA Championship on April 25 due to procedural issues. His manager said in a short statement that Lefty was about keeping his options open.

Will he appear next week in Southern Hills to defend the title he won last year at the age of 50?

“It would be great if he were there. You are defending. I think of that historic victory,” said Nick Faldo, a six-time major champion and CBS analyst. “I personally think it’s an incredible spiritual challenge to play back after he’s done himself. It’s as easy as going back to the bike and arriving at a golf tournament to play. I don’t think it’s a thing.

“Attention will be monumental.”

Woods played a practice round in Tulsa, Oklahoma last week and hasn’t definitely declared that he will play another major to walk. It would be a surprise if he didn’t play. Woods won the last PGA Championship in Southern Hills in 2007.

For Mickelson, it’s not just golf.

His public image is unprecedented in February when Alan Shipnack, whose unauthorized biography of Mickelson will be released next week, published an excerpt outlining Mickelson’s involvement with Saudi-funded rival leagues. I was hit hard.

He was negative, saying that the killings of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi and Saudi Arabia’s human rights records were worth the effort if they meant they could be used to change the way the PGA Tour was run. He even said he had recruited three other players to pay lawyers to write a new league operating agreement.

Top sponsors dropped him, and Mickelson issued a statement that could be read more like an explanation than an apology, saying he needed “desperately” time.

Now it’s time to return to the PGA Championship. This is one of several subplots to the majors that will definitely provide a plot even before the first shot is hit.

Woods was the last PGA champion who did not return in 2008 as he had recovered from reconstructive surgery on his left knee. Prior to that, Ben Hogan recovered from a much more severe injury in 1949 when a bus hit a car in western Texas.

Mickelson’s injury was a self-harm.

Rather than trying to attack the Southern Hills Green, which was recreated by architect Gilhans in a restoration project aimed at making the course a modern test without losing the charm of the original Perry Maxwell design, to the general public and the press. It can be difficult to face.

Woods and Mickelson have long been a huge part of golf, but can mask the generation that is likely to carry the 27-pound Wanamaker trophy.

It begins with a pair of Texas people heading to the other side of the Red River and chasing different versions of the Grand Slam.

Masters champion Scottie Scheffler has a long way to go. He rarely thinks about anything other than the next shot, but he realizes that in the last 20 years, only three players have won the first two majors of the year.

Still, he’s got everyone’s attention with his four big titles that have taken him to the top of the world in the last four months.

“He’s set a pretty high standard right now, and he’s the kind of person who chases us all,” said Will Zaratris. “What he’s doing is the border Tigers. He’s pretty cool to see.”

Jordan Spieth is chasing the Grand Slam of his career. This is his sixth shot at the Wanamaker Trophy and may be his best chance since the third round of the 2017 British Open. His swing is approaching where he can trust it, and his confidence was boosted by a playoff victory at Hilton Head a month ago.

Spieth and Justin Thomas stopped at Southern Hills earlier in the week. Spieth last played in 2009, losing to the big playoffs in the last four spots of match play in US amateurs. He shot 75. He was 16 years old.

And there have been many changes, especially in Southern Hills.

The most prominent part of the restoration was the green edge to funnel the shot from the putting surface. Spieth felt that the target was smaller than it looked. Spieth also expects accurate testing, as the hydronic system beneath the green gives more control over the hardness of the turf.

“I think this will be one of the highest-scoring PGAs we’ve seen,” he said.

Southern Hills has hosted the eighth major since 1958 (three US Open), with the last five champions being inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

It was supposed to host the PGA until 2030. This year’s championship was scheduled for former President Donald Trump’s course in Bedminster, NJ. However, four days after the violent riots at the US Capitol on January 6, when Congress had proved the presidential election, the Professional Golfers’Association unanimously voted to move the Professional Golfers’ Association of America to Southern Hills.

It avoided what might have felt like a circus. Now there is another kind.


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PGA returns to Southern Hills while Mickelson is discussing his return | WGN Radio 720

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