Golf: While Jordan Spieth seeks the career Grand Slam this week, the PGA Championship announces a move to May starting in 2019. The domino effect sends The Players back to March.
By Jeff Shain, PSN managing editor
>>Listen live to Prime Sports Golf, Wednesday at noon ET
- The PGA Championship is relocating to May, becoming the year’s second major championship starting in 2019 and clearing room for the FedExCup playoffs to take over August. The move is just the first in a domino effect on the PGA Tour schedule, with The Players Championship now returning to a March date that will precede the four majors. The Open Championship now will be the year’s final major. Though mid-May might be too early for such northern venues as Hazeltine and Whistling Straits, it opens new horizons to go to Florida or Texas. The 2019 PGA will tee off May 16 at New York’s Bethpage Black.
- This week’s PGA Championship could be the final event of Adam Scott’s PGA Tour season, disclosing plans to skip the first two FedExCup playoff events to welcome a second child into the world. Scott currently stands 61st on the FedExCup points chart – enough to get into the 70-man BMW Championship after Labor Day but leaving him vulnerable to get passed if he doesn’t add to his total at Quail Hollow.
- Sunday was a big day in the Piller household, where Gerina was named to her third straight U.S. Solheim Cup team and husband Martin scored a comeback victory at the Web.com Tour’s Ellie Mae Classic. Now Martin Piller can make plans to watch his wife help defend the Solheim crown in Iowa next week. That wouldn’t have been possible before, when he was 105th on the Web.com money list.
- Sangmoon Bae, twice a PGA Tour winner, is pointing to an October return when the new season begins and his mandatory Korean military service ends. Bae’s military term expires next week, and his agent told Golf Channel he’d play a Korean Tour event in September as a tuneup. Bae will have full membership for 2017-18 on a major medical/family leave extension.
- Stewart Hagestad, low amateur at this year’s Masters, heads to next week’s U.S. Amateur with a harsh handicap – his clubs were stolen out of his car last week. The California native and USC grad had targeted the U.S. Amateur – in home territory at Riviera Country Club – and Walker Cup as his last big events before heading off to business school. Good luck with the replacements.
PGA TOUR/EUROPEAN TOUR: PGA Championship
Site: Quail Hollow Club, Charlotte, N.C.
- Defending champion: Jimmy Walker held steady in a marathon 36-hole finale at Baltusrol, holding off Jason Day’s late charge to complete a wire-to-wire victory for his first major title. Walker shot 68-67 on the final day, playing his final 29 holes without a bogey to stay one stroke clear of Day. The Aussie eagled the par-5 18th in his bid for back-to-back PGA crowns, but Walker’s par proved victorious.
- Last week: Hideki Matsuyama captured the WGC Bridgestone Invitational in emphatic fashion, matching Firestone CC’s course record with a 9-under-par 61 that left him five shots up on Zach Johnson. The Japanese pro also won last November’s WGC event in China, along with a stop in Phoenix. … Chris Stroud went overtime for his first PGA Tour victory at the Barracuda Championship, outlasting Greg Owen and Richy Werenski in a playoff at the tour’s only Modified Stableford event.
- Tour talk: Jordan Spieth, fresh off his adventuresome Open Championship win, needs only the Wanamaker Trophy to complete the career Grand Slam. If it happens this week, he’ll best Tiger Woods as the youngest ever. … Rory McIlroy has been Quail Hollow’s master, with a final-round 62 to win his first PGA Tour title there in 2010 and shooting 61 on the way to a 2015 crown. … A field that boasts 113 of the top 115 in the world rankings once again lays claim as strongest of the year.
- TV: TNT (Thursday-Friday, 1-7 p.m. ET; Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.) and CBS (Saturday-Sunday, 2-7 p.m.).
- Etc.: First Look from PGATour.com; PGA Championship primer from Pro Golf Weekly.
WEB.COM TOUR: Price Cutter Charity Championship
Site: Highland Springs CC, Springfield, Mo.
- 2016 champion: Canada’s Mackenzie Hughes locked up a PGA Tour card with a one-shot victory, capping a 6-under-par 66 with a birdie that held off Richy Werenski’s late charge. Werenski had eagled the par-5 closing hole for his own 66, but Hughes took the safe route to rule out any playoff.
- Last week: Martin Piller came from three strokes back on the final day to win the Ellie Mae Classic in California, firing a 6-under-par 64 to edge Brandon Hawkins by a shot. It was Piller’s sixth career Web.com Tour victory – one shy of matching Jason Gore for a somewhat ignominious career mark.
- Tour talk: The buzz at TPC Stonebrae continued to center around Steph Curry, who missed the cut but did so with a pair of 74s. Consider that Jerry Rice played the same event three times and only once broke 80. … Springfield is one of four Web.com Tour mainstays still in existence from the circuit’s 1990 debut season. Wichita, Knoxville and Boise are the others, with Knoxville up next week.
- TV: None.
LPGA TOUR: Idle
Next up: Solheim Cup, Aug. 18-20, West Des Moines, Iowa
- Tour talk: I.K. Kim’s triumph at the Women’s British Open not only put to rest any lingering torment from that 14-inch miss at the 2012 Kraft Nabisco, it might have stamped her as today’s best on a very level LPGA playing field. Kim is the only three-time winner in 2017, all in the past two months. … Plenty of new faces dot the U.S. and European Solheim Cup teams finalized Sunday, with four European rookies heading to Iowa and three on the U.S. side. One late addition: Paula Creamer gets her seventh Solheim callup, replacing the injured Jessica Korda.
PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS: Idle
Next up: Dick’s Sporting Goods Open, Aug. 18-20, Endicott, N.Y.
- Tour talk: Four Champions pros will tee it up at Quail Hollow this week: Former PGA Championship winners Davis Love III, John Daly and Vijay Singh, along with Steve Stricker. Senior PGA champ Bernhard Langer declined his spot in the field. … Paul Goydos’ victory at the 3M Championship gives him a win in each of his four years on the Champions circuit. He played his final 38 holes without a bogey. … Runner-up Gene Sauers hit 53 of 54 greens in regulation, tying the Champions record.