PGA, Otaegui completes the Spanish debacle

The Spanish Curse at the PGA Championship, the only major missing from the national golf scene, has a new chapter as of this Saturday

by Andrea Gussoni
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PGA, Otaegui completes the Spanish debacle
© Getty Images Sport - Lintao Zhang / Staff

The Spanish Curse at the PGA Championship, the only major missing from the national golf scene, has a new chapter as of this Saturday. It was completed by the 31-year-old from San Sebastian, Adrián Otaegui, who secured his ticket to Valhalla at the last minute with his recent victory in China.

The Pirate experienced a debacle on Saturday, during the resumption of the second round, which was incomplete due to rain and morning chaos in Louisville. It marked the first weekend without Spaniards in a major since the 2007 PGA Championship (when Sergio García qualified but was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard in the third round), with the eliminations of Jon Rahm and David Puig already confirmed on Friday.

It's the first time since 1998 that no representative from Spain has qualified for the tournament.

Pga, results

Otaegui had three and a half holes left to play when he headed to the clubhouse after the customary horn sounded, with a putt of just over a meter for birdie on the 15th hole.

This would have taken him to -1, the promised land. He didn't miss, and managed a solid par on the 16th before encountering difficulties with a bogey on the 17th. As he reached the 18th, Valhalla's iconic hole and the most accessible par 5 on Jack Nicklaus' design, he needed a birdie.

However, his distance issues emerged. It took him four strokes to reach a green that many players reach in two. He came close to sinking a shot from the fairway, showcasing his skill, but the ball refused to drop, confirming his fifth early exit in seven majors played.

The tournament's venue changes annually, with various locations across the United States hosting the event, primarily in the Eastern states (as of 2016, only 10 editions have been held in Western states). The most frequently used course is the Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which has hosted the event four times, with the last occurrence in 2007.

From 1969 to 2018, the tournament took place in August, with exceptions in 1971 (February) and 2016 (late July, to avoid overlap with the Olympic tournament). Previously, it had been held at various times between May and July, but the move to August allowed players to participate in both the PGA Championship and the Open without conflict.

Since 2019, the tournament has been held in May, the week preceding Memorial Day. In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tournament was held in August. Like other majors, the qualification criteria for the PGA Championship are stringent.

Invitations are extended to: past champions, winners of the last five editions of the Masters, U.S. Open, and Open Championship, the most recent winner of the PGA Senior Championship, players in the top fifteen positions at the end of the last PGA Championship, players in the top twenty positions at the end of the last PGA Professional National Championship, the top 70 players on the PGA Tour money list, players from the American and European Ryder Cup teams who participated in the last event, provided they are among the top 100 players in the Official World Golf Ranking, winners of PGA Tour events since the last PGA Championship, and other players invited by the PGA of America to reach a total of 156 participants.

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