Injuries and other reasons have hit the field for the US PGA Championship at Southern Hills in Tulsa, with world number 20 Sungjae Im among those from inside the world's top-30 forced to miss the event which starts on Thursday.
Im had returned home to South Korea for the first time in more than two years to play in the WFG Championship where he was to be the headline act but, unfortunately, tested positive for Covid and must follow health and safety protocols which prevent any travel for 10 days after a positive test.
Scott Stallings moved up from first reserve to take Im's place, while KH Lee's win in the AT&T Byron Nelson opened the door for Joel Dahmen to get a place in the field as Lee was already exempt.
Traditionally boasting the largest number of players from inside the world's top-100 of any of the Majors, Im's absence comes on top of the absence of a number of other players. Paul Casey, the world number 23, was forced to pull out of the championship due to an ongoing neck injury while Harris English, the world number 26, is recuperating from recent hip surgery.
And, of course, defending champion Phil Mickelson is a notable absentee following his decision not to play having been out of the game since February as he suffers the fallout for his ill-advised comments about the PGA Tour and the Saudi-backed new golf tour, which has put him into isolation with no sign any time soon of a return to competition.
Major advance in immersive experience
The advances in technology are reflected in the immersive experiences that fans following their favourite players at this week’s US PGA championship can enjoy.
The PGA Championship's official app and website (pgachampionship.com) will provide comprehensive coverage, featuring a live leaderboard which will enable users to click a player's scorecard to get shot trails and scoring data along with access to more than 1,000 automated, real-time video clips showing all the player's shots or best shots of the round.
Word of Mouth
"It's only going to keep getting stronger. The more I use it, the more strength it gains. Am I ever going to have full mobility? No. Never again. But I'll be able to get stronger. It's going to ache, but that's the way it's going to be. I'm excited about it [he PGA] , I'm not going to play that much going forward so anytime I do play, it's going to be fun to play and to compete" – Tiger Woods on improvement in strength to his right leg since playing in the Masters last month.
By the Numbers - 14
This is Rory McIlroy’s 14th career appearance in the US PGA Championship, an event he has won twice, in 2012 and 2014. His record since making his debut in 2009 is: 3-3-64-1-8-1-17-MC-22-50-8-33-49
On this day: May 17th, 1998
Se Ri Pak was something of an unknown quantity heading into the week of the McDonalds LPGA Championship at DuPont Country Club in Wilmington, Delaware: the South Korean had not finished better than 11th in any of her nine events on the US circuit but the 20-year-old rookie was the name on everyone's lips after scooping her first Major title.
In a dominant, wire-to-wire display, Pak - the first of what would become a tidal wave of South Koreans playing on the LPGA Tour – produced rounds of 65-68-72-68 for a total of 11-under-par 273, which gave her a three strokes winning margin over Lisa Hackney and Donna Andrews.
Pak picked up $195,000 for her breakthrough win on the LPGA Tour, was the first rookie winner of the LPGA Championship since Liselotte Neumann 10 years previously and became the third youngest winner of a Major title.
In the Bag
Soudal Belgian Open
Driver - TaylorMade Stealth Plus (8 degrees)
3-wood - TaylorMade M6 (15 degrees)
5-wood - TaylorMade M6 (18 degrees)
Driving Iron - TaylorMade P7MC (4)
Irons - TaylorMade P7TW (5-PW)
Wedges - Titleist Vokey Design SM9 (50 and 56 degrees), Vokey 2022 Proto (60 degrees)
Putter - Bettinardi Dass BBZero Tour
Ball - Titleist ProV1x
Battled hard this week, didn't have our best stuff but was great to be in contention. @attbyronnelson puts on an amazing event! @pgachampionship week is here - Justin Thomas on his fifth place finish behind KH Lee in the Byron Nelson. It was Thomas's fifth top-10 finish in his last eight events.
There's no doubt about it….@minjeegolf is a gun #golflife #BOOM #JustSayn - Scott Hend giving an Aussie salute to Minjee Lee after her latest win on the LPGA Tour in the Cognizant Founders Cup.
From someone who has known Greg for 50 years, Greg is only about Greg. He has been trying to take down the tour for 30 years . . . . The admiration I had for him for what he achieved and what he did for Australian golf is gone. For him to try and trivialise what the greats before him did to grow and create what the PGA Tour is today is an absolute disgrace. You should hang your head in shame. . . . GFY Shark – former PGA championship winner Wayne Grady gives Greg Norman a different kind of Aussie salute.
Know the Rules
Q In a strokeplay competition, a player bends long grass near her ball so that she can see the ball when playing her stroke. She plays her shot. Is she in breach of the rules for her actions?
A Yes. A player is not necessarily entitled to see her ball when making a stroke. By bending and moving the grass, the player improved the lie of her ball and the area of intended swing contrary to Rule 8.1(a)1. She receives a two stroke penalty for breaching the rule.