The second men’s Major Championship of the year takes place this week as the world’s best play in the 104th US PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club. Here are your five things to know.
Rahm bids to overtake Scheffler as World Number One
Jon Rahm is the only player in the field who can challenge Scottie Scheffler for the Number One spot in the Official World Golf Ranking this week.
Victory for the 27-year-old Spaniard coupled with Scheffler finishing worse than in a two-way tie for fifth would see Rahm return to the top of the standings, having been overhauled when the American won the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in March.
Rahm won his seventh PGA TOUR title at the Mexico Open earlier this month as he went wire-to-wire to claim his first title since he won the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines last year.
Scheffler, already a four-time winner this year, warmed up for the US PGA Championship by finishing tied 15th at the AT&T Byron Nelson last week in what was his only appearance since his maiden Major triumph at The Masters.
A venue steeped in Major history
The US PGA Championship returns to Southern Hills for the first time in 15 years. Back in 2007, defending champion Tiger Woods won his fourth – and most recent – US PGA Championship, finishing at eight under par and two strokes ahead of runner-up Woody Austin.
That year, England’s Simon Dyson shot a final round six-under-par 64 to finish as the highest-placed European in a tie for sixth after his countryman Graeme Storm had claimed the first-round lead.
Despite the long absence, Southern Hills is familiar ground for the US PGA Championship having held four editions. No other venue has hosted it on more occasions, and it will extend that record this week.
In total, Southern Hills has hosted seven men’s Major Championships throughout its history, including three U.S. Opens.
This year is the first time since 2008, when Woods was unable to play due to a season-ending knee injury, that a PGA Champion has not defended his title with Phil Mickelson not playing this week.
DP World Tour members set for US PGA debut
A total of 156 players are due to compete in the second Major of the year, including seven DP World Tour members set for their US PGA Championship debuts.
Arnaus is fresh off his first DP World Tour title on home soil at the Catalunya Championship at the start of May, while South African Bekker is at a career-high World Number 84 in the Official World Golf Ranking after he registered his eighth top ten of the 2022 season at last week’s Soudal Open.
English pair Richard Bland and Laurie Canter are also set for their first experience at the US PGA, with the latter preparing for his maiden Major Championship in America having previously only played at The Open in 2017.
Lee, ranked 54th in the Official World Golf Ranking, will hope to improve on his impressive debut performance at the Masters Tournament last month when he carded a front-nine 30 in the final round at Augusta National to finish tied 14th.
After twin brother Rasmus played at last year’s US PGA Championship, it is now the turn of Nicolai who won his second DP World Tour title at the Ras al Khaimah Championship presented by Phoenix Capital in February.
Meanwhile, Ireland’s Séamus Power secured his US PGA Championship exemption last July with victory at the Barbasol Championship on the PGA TOUR.
Spieth’s career Grand Slam bid
Jordan Spieth will attempt to complete the career Grand Slam by winning the US PGA Championship this week.
In his five previous attempts since winning his third Major at The Open in 2017, his best finish was tied third behind champion Brooks Koepka at Bethpage in 2019.
The American arrives at the second Major of the year in great form. After missing the cut at The Masters for the first time in his career, Spieth bounced back to beat Patrick Cantlay in a play-off to win the RBC Heritage the following week. That was despite him finishing 60th in the putting stats at Hilton Head Island.
Spieth will take further confidence into his quest to join Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Woods in golf’s most exclusive club from his runner-up finish at the AT&T Byron Nelson on Sunday.
McIlroy going for US PGA hat-trick
Rory McIlroy described himself as the ‘happiest I’ve ever been on a golf course’ following a brilliant final round 64 at Augusta to finish outright second at this year’s Masters.
Despite missing out on his own bid to complete the career Grand Slam, the Northern Irishman left with renewed confidence which was evident as he finished fifth at the Wells Fargo Championship on the PGA TOUR earlier this month.
McIlroy won his first PGA Championship and second Major crown at the US PGA in 2012 at Kiawah Island as his eight-stroke margin of victory set a record for the event.
Two years later and during a rich vein of form which saw him win the 2014 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool and then claim his maiden WGC title at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, McIlroy claimed his fourth Major and second Wanamaker Trophy at the PGA Championship later that summer in near darkness at Valhalla.