The Latest: Davis Love III to mark 100th major at PGA
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Latest from the PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club (all times local):
Davis Love III will join a select group led by Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player when he participates in his 100th major championship this weekend in St. Louis.
Love’s streak began with the 1986 PGA Championship at Inverness, and the 100th will come at this year’s PGA at Bellerive. In between, he won the 1997 tournament with an unforgettable rainbow providing the backdrop to the 18th green at Winged Foot.
Love has struggled with injuries in recent years, but a hip replacement has helped with some of the pain he’d been feeling. He hopes that his health will allow him to play in many more majors.
“As long as I can compete and have some fun,” he said, “and not get in the way.”
Rory McIlroy’s only complaint about his season is that he’s not winning enough.
McIlroy ended an 18-month drought when he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, and he would have expected more at this point. He played in the final group at the Masters, at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and last week at the Bridgestone Invitational.
McIlroy says he’s trying to figure out what steps he has to take to go from contending to playing in the final group to lifting trophies.
Just don’t get the idea the 29-year-old McIlroy is down on himself.
He was asked if he would take a year that included a major championship and a dozen missed cuts or the kind of consistency he has shown this year. McIlroy said he would take this year, because that would mean he has giving himself chances to win. He has been in the top 3 five times this year, including three runner-up finishes.
McIlroy is a two-time winner of the PGA Championship, the last one in 2014 at Valhalla. That also was the last of his four majors.
Tiger Woods wasn’t going to waste his time lobbying U.S. captain Jim Furyk for one of the at-large spots on the Ryder Cup team that will head to France next month.
That’s because Woods thinks he can still make the top eight and earn an automatic spot.
Woods has climbed from off-the-charts to 20th in the standings over the past seven months, taking a big jump after contending in the British Open at Carnoustie. If he contends again at Bellerive, much less wins his fifth PGA Championship, he could take all the drama out of his selection.
“We’ll see,” said Woods, who only played five holes before his practice round Tuesday was wiped out by thunderstorms. “As I said last week, I’m trending. That’s all I’m going to say.”
Dustin Johnson hopes some of his future father-in-law’s fans will have his back when the world’s top-ranked player tees off in the PGA Championship this week in St Louis.
Wayne Gretzky only played part of one season for the Blues, late in his Hall of Fame career, but it was enough to earn “The Great One” a legion of followers. And when Johnson became engaged to Paulina Gretzky, many of those fans became fans of the former U.S. Open champion, too.
If nothing else, Johnson pointed out Tuesday that he’ll have plenty of extended family in the crowd. Paulina’s mother, Janet, was born in the St. Louis suburb of Bridgeton.
Count three-time major winner Jordan Spieth among those happy the PGA Championship is moving from August to May next year, making it the second in line after the Masters.
The schedule change is designed in part to stoke interest in what has typically flown under the radar as golf’s fourth major. And while Spieth acknowledged Tuesday that the change will help with the overall calendar flow, he also pointed out another benefit: the weather.
“The move to May opens up a lot more venues,” Spieth said before his practice round at Bellerive. “You can really go anywhere in the country in May and have an opportunity to play.”
The PGA has already been awarded through 2029 with Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma, also due to host the event. But beyond that, courses such as Shoal Creek in Alabama and layouts in Texas, Florida and California that were written off because of oppressive summer heat could be in the mix.
The scoreboards for the PGA Championship aren’t the only ones worth watching this week.
That’s because the tournament at Bellerive is the last points-paying event for the U.S. team for the Ryder Cup, and a crucial opportunity for European players to impress captain Thomas Bjorn.
Justin Thomas clinched the fourth U.S. spot by winning the Bridgestone last week, and Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson hold the other four automatic slots. But with a big point total at stake this week, spots on captain Jim Furyk’s team are still in play.
Regardless of who makes the team for the matches in France this September, British Open winner Francesco Molinari of Italy predicted Tuesday the American team will be “one of the strongest ever.”
“We need to get there prepared and ready to go,” he said, “and make life hard on them.”
The withering heat that greeted players for the PGA Championship this week, and left them soaked in sweat after Monday practice rounds, has given way to thunderstorms and torrential rains.
Now, those who tried to get on the course at Bellerive are simply soaked.
The storms are particularly unwelcome for those arriving from last week’s Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio. Many squeezed in a practice round Monday, but nearly all hoped to do the bulk of their preparation at relatively unfamiliar Bellerive on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Justin Thomas is the defending champion, Tiger Woods is set to play his first PGA since 2015 and Jordan Spieth will be chasing the career Grand Slam when the tournament begins Thursday.