A total of 31 European Tour Members will this week attempt to prevent World No.1 Tiger Woods from retaining his US PGA Championship and becoming the first player since Ben Hogan in 1953 to capture three major titles in the same year.
Woods, holder of the US and British Opens in the Millennium season following his remarkable 15-stroke success at Pebble Beach and eight shot victory at St.Andrews, is a short priced 7-4 favourite to hang onto the US PGA crown he won at Medinah last year.
The European challenge, though, has never been stronger. Ernie Els of South Africa, now the World No.2, will be seeking to enter the winner's enclosure after three successive majors in which he has finished second to Woods. Els jokingly remarked that he is chasing the "second place Slam" after St.Andrews - but his recent victories at Loch Lomond and in the United States make him a worthy rival to the defending champion.
Lee Westwood, who has collected four titles this year and goes to Valhalla, Kentucky buoyed by a pillar to post victory in the Volvo Scandinavian Masters, hopes to break his major duck while the same applies to Colin Montgomerie and Darren Clarke, principal rivals in the race for the Volvo Order of Merit.
Also in the field are Thomas Björn of Denmark and Spain's Miguel Angel Jiménez - joint second respectively in the Open and US Open - along with Sergio Garcia, who ran Woods so close at Medinah and produced that never to be forgotten five iron at the 70th hole which won him the Canon Shot of the Year Award
The strength of the European challenge is further emphasised by the presence of Nick Faldo - back to form after a fallow spell - two-time Masters champions José Maria Olazábal and Bernhard Langer as well as another Augusta National champion in Ian Woosnam.