2017 PGA Championship…A Preview

By Joe Hines, Noted Club Pro

The final major of the golf season, the PGA Championship, is coming up this week at Quail Hollow Golf Club in North Carolina. Plenty of subplots pepper the landscape;  a schedule change has just been announced by the tour for this tourney, beginning in 2019 when it will move to a slot in May from its usual August schedule. The goal presumably, is to wrap up the bulk of the competitive season before the start of football season. Golf doesn’t do all that well in ratings, to begin with, so it only makes sense to give it the best opportunity for the most eyes on it. Since the NFL will lead its minions down the path to gape mouthed wonder as sweaty fat men whack each other beginning just after Labor Day, the PGA would prefer to be done by then. And there is still plenty to be had in the silly season between September and April when the Masters reappears on our screens.

The PGA, though no one from the tour would acknowledge it, is the poor step-child of major championships. I recall several years ago a player interview that had the player answering the question “What makes it a major?” with the following; “Because you guys(the press) say so.” Most players generally regard The Players Championship as a major, more significant than the PGA. But for our purposes, we will acknowledge its lofty status as a major, and the records that go along with it.

If Jordan Spieth or Rory McIlroy can capture the Wannamaker Trophy awarded to each year’s champion, they will complete the career grand slam, winning all 4 majors. Heady company indeed amongst the likes of Woods and Nicklaus, Hogan et al.

The hallmark of the PGA is that club pro’s, the guy you flip a 50 to for your weekly lesson, has the chance to compete in this championship. Chances are one of these no names will be sniffing the top of the leader board the first couple of rounds, before falling off on the weekend. My personal choice is University of Illinois head golf coach Mike Small, who has shepherded a handful of collegians through school on their way to competing on whichever tour will welcome them, post academia.

This final major is also the chance for TNT and Ernie Johnson to demonstrate their golf chops; unlike FOX and whipping boy Joe Buck, they actually do it pretty well. There is no word whether Charles Barkley will be weighing in on the intricacies of the golf swing. Coverage will begin Thursday at noon central time and continue on Friday, same bat time. I will fill in the weekend times and networks here, the next few days.

So kick back, relax. I’ll watch so you don’t have to.

As always, hit em long and straight. Peace.



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