Who will play in the PGA Championship? In just over a week, from May 19th to 22nd, the 103rd edition of the PGA Championship will be held. The race course, Tulsa's Southern Hills Country Club, will host the tournament for the fifth time in its history.
Previous editions were held in 1970, 1982, 1994 and 2007 (the latter won by Tiger Woods).
Tiger Woods, Pga Championship
The field of participants has been defined. Or rather, it should be. Scrolling through the 14 categories that contain the names of those entitled to a place on the tee of the 1 at Southern Hills, we find all the players in the best shape of the moment.
I don't want to talk about the favorites, the Majors are always the stage for the most unexpected twists. The categories that we can define as "active" are 10 out of 14. The most particular is certainly the 9, dedicated to the club professionals of the PGA of America who finished in the top 20 at the National Championship, which this year was played at OMNI Barton Creek in Austin.
Another "dedicated" category is 7, which includes an invitation for the current Senior PGA champion. The curious thing is that the German Alex Cejka will return to play on the same path where he won the title last year.
Category 4 is of direct interest to us. It is the one reserved for the winners of the Open Championship, from 2016 to 2021. And, therefore, here we find Francesco Molinari, the only blue in the field. I'm not saying anything out of luck, just "Daje Chicco!" , as my friend Isabella Calogero would say.
We arrive at category 1, that of the Past Champions, which has kept the interest of fans and professionals in this event alive as never before. Scrolling through it we find both the name of Tiger Woods and that of Phil Mickelson (the Defending Champion).
Their presence, currently confirmed, has been and is a topic of discussion, obviously for different reasons. Tiger tried the route a couple of weeks ago to figure out whether or not he would sign up for the tournament. This provoked the enthusiasm of the fans, but also some criticism.
In particular, a Twitter account (@useGolfFacts) which is allegedly attributable to a group of Patrick Reed fans, in a tweet on May 1, defined "embarrassing" the fact that the PGA of America had given space on his account to the visit of Woods at the field.
The tweet adds to the dose by defining the one reserved for Tiger as "preferential treatment" As for Phil Mickelson, the discussion concerns the ongoing negotiations with the leaders of the PGA of America. After his absence at the Masters, whose real motivation is unknown to date, it seems that the PGA has given its willingness to a confrontation with the Californian southpaw to ensure that he can defend the title in Tulsa.
What is undeniable is the fact that Phil's popularity has not plummeted as noticeably as a result of his PGA Tour and USGA remarks. The image that US golf governing bodies give of Mickelson does not coincide with the perception that fans have. And I think golfers want to see it again on the tee of a PGA Tour event.