Larry Canning: Some Major musings – a little research might have come in handy!

By Larry Canning.


PGA Championship observations –

You know how we all sometimes say something that we might just regret? No no, not something like – “Ooo Darl, was that you?” or “She’s beautiful. Is she really YOUR girlfriend, Son?” even worse –  “When is the baby due?”

In a Bunker to Bunker piece a few issues ago I might have questioned the qualification process used in the PGA Championship and even the fact there are 20 Club Professionals taking up cherished positions for some up and coming tour players.

After some, should have done earlier, research I discovered the PGA Championship was created by Professional Golfers who were being somewhat shunned by the wealthy amateur sect who pretty much ran the game in America in the early 1900’s.

For this reason there has always been positions held in the field for PGA Club Professionals as a sign of respect for not only the championships origins but for the people who are the heart and soul of the game across the country.

On top of that, the US PGA have always maintained they have the strongest field of any tournament. This term seems to be thrown around quite a bit but when we were told of the 13 LIV golfers being invited, it was clear they intend to stand by these words and I for one, take my hat off my Callaway bucket hat to them.

As far as this year’s actual tournament went, I think it’s fair to say it was a week of firsts. Day 1 – the 7,700-yard monster was sleighed by Sir Xander of Long Beach with a ludicrous 9 under par 62 which at that point was the lowest round in PGA Championship history. But readers, did you know Schauffele also shares the lowest round in US Open history? 62 at last year’s US Open at L.A. Country Club.

Sir Xander of Long Beach

Day 2 – Now we’re taking firsts to a brand-new level arnt we?

To begin with, I would like to acknowledge the tragic death of John Mills who was on his way to the tournament to help with security only to be hit by a bus on a dark rainy morning. I hope his family and friends are doing OK.

My newly acquired research skills haven’t found anything resembling a precedent for the world number one golfer who was trying to gain access to the course for his early tee time winding up in a photo shoot wearing a lovely apricot, off the shoulder top with no signs of any sponsors’ logos, standing in front of a jail wall. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest this is another “first”.

May I also suggest it’s the first time a Professional Golfer has been released from said jail then 4 hours later, shoots 66?

Day 3 – Am I stretching the theme of this piece by saying Shane Lowry became the first Irishman to shoot 62 in a PGA Championship? Whoops, looks like I just did. On a less positive “first”, Scottie Scheffler had some time to sleep on what had transpired in his previous 24 hours and what’s to come next and shot his first over par round for 2024. And to be honest I thought his third-round outfit was a huge improvement.

Day 4 – After one of the most riveting final rounds in recent Major Championships, Xander Schauffele takes his first Major with a gutsy birdie on the final hole. It was a master class of superb driving, clinical iron play and courageous putting when it really mattered. It was interesting to see his swing changes from a year ago until now, particularly given his nearest pursuer for most of the round, Victor Hovland, had tried to change his action over a similar timeframe only to seemingly give it all the flick and go back to his old coach just a week earlier.

And then there was Bryson DeChambeau! Again, good on the PGA of America for seeing the value for not only their tournament but for the game of golf in general by inviting a bunch of LIV players. If there ever is some kind of unification with LIV and PGA Tour than surely this sensible gesture is a massive step in that direction.

Bryson would be one of, if not the most exciting player in world golf and brings so much to any tournament he plays in. With all the quirk he brings, like rounded iron faces, same length clubs, stance that rigid you could build use him for scaffolding, I can’t help marvelling at the size of his grips! Does his caddy put them in his bag head first?

It will be interesting to see who receives a gig for the upcoming US Open at the Pinehurst number 2. Traditionally this course set up is brutal. I wonder if that’s why they call it a Number 2???



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