by Dan O’Neill

How could he not be the favorite, right?

When Justin Thomas took a ball-striking tour of Bellerive Country Club on June 4, he owned the place. He capped off a media-day 65 with an eagle on the par 4 No. 18, holing out from 150 yards. It was reminiscent of his third round in the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills, when he eagled No. 18 for a stunning 63.  


by John Hawkins

The PGA Championship has an identity crisis. Educated golf fans recognize the tournament’s importance, but a casual follower easily could figure that its three-lettered title makes it a product of the PGA Tour, which it isn’t. The PGA of America, an organization built for club pros, runs a major championship structured almost solely for touring pros. From a marketing standpoint, it’s a bit like playing “Sunday Night Football” on Thursday night.

Branding is pointless if it’s not believable, and besides, the other majors need no introduction. The Masters has more distinguishable qualities than perhaps any sporting event on earth. The U.S. Open has a distinct character, most of it mean, and the British Open represents the game in its most natural, sacred state.


by Gary Van Sickle

For the second year in a row, the PGA Championship may determine who wins golf’s version of the Heisman Trophy, otherwise uncolorfully known as Player of the Year.

There was parity on the PGA Tour last season. No one player really stood out. Then Justin Thomas, who’d racked up three victories at the start of the year (that were somewhat forgotten by August), busted out to win the PGA, a FedEx Cup playoff event and the whole FedEx Cup enchilada. The golfing Heisman race was over.


A man with inner peace
If only Dustin Johnson hated bogeys as badly as Tiger Woods did and had that must-win attitude, he’d be an even bigger world-beater (“World No. 1 merits a bit more respect,” Aug. 6).

But, I’ll bet he’s a lot happier and more peaceful than Woods ever was or probably will be. Johnson might never win another major championship, or he could win three or four, but when he’s 50, he’ll still be content.



Number of PGA Tour events that Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis has hosted before this week’s PGA Championship (tee times): the 1965 U.S. Open (won by Gary Player), 1992 PGA Championship (Nick Price) and the 2008 BMW Championship (Camilo Villegas). The 2001 WGC American Express Championship, which had been scheduled to be played at Bellerive, was canceled because of the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S.


Established: The dates for the 2019 ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth tournament, on Feb. 14-17 at Lake Karrinyup Country Club in Perth, Australia. The format combines stroke and match play: 54 holes of medal play over the first three days, followed by a knockout round of match play on the final day. The tournament, which will be in its third year of the format, is co-sponsored by the European, Asian and Australasian tours.



Hawk & Rude: Feasting on Firestone
In Hawk & Rude, a podcast featuring veteran golf journalists John Hawkins and Jeff Rude, the hosts discuss the PGA Tour’s final trip to Akron, Ohio, and mull the landscape heading into this week’s PGA Championship.


Andrew Putnam won the recent Barracuda Championship, his first PGA Tour title, playing Srixon and Cleveland Golf equipment, the companies announced. Putnam played the Srixon Z-Star XV ball, a Cleveland Launcher DST 13-degree wood, Srixon Z 745 irons and Cleveland RTX-3 wedges.


The winner of the recent Ricoh Women’s British Open played Nippon Shaft products, the company announced. She used Nippon’s N.S. Pro 950GH steel shafts in her irons and wedges.


Ahead will introduce its spring 2019 headwear collection at the PGA Fashion and Demo Experience next week in Las Vegas. The company also will be exhibiting its Kate Lord line for women.


Scheyden Eyewear, an established product in general aviation, has made a move into golf with its latest release. The Confidence In Action, or CIA, sunglasses are golf-specific and designed to protect the eyes and improve vision and performance.


International Club Suppliers, the sales and marketing arm for Entegra Procurement Services, has added four agronomy vendors to the ICS Marketplace. Easy Picker, Global Turf, Green Jacket and Pure Seed are available.


August 6-9
Men’s amateur: Canadian Amateur

Duncan Meadows GC, Duncan, British Columbia

August 6-12
Women’s amateur: U.S. Women’s Amateur

The Golf Club of Tennessee, Kingston Springs, Tenn.

August 7-10
Men’s amateur: British Senior Amateur

 Royal Porthcawl GC, Rest Bay, Wales

August 8-12
European Tour: European Golf Team Championships

Gleneagles, Auchterarder, Scotland

August 9-12
Web.com Tour: Ellie Mae Classic

TPC Stonebrae, Hayward, Calif.

PGA Tour: PGA Championship

Bellerive CC, St. Louis

August 10-12
Symetra Tour: PHC Classic

Brown Deer Park GC, Milwaukee

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