Justin Thomas is No. 1 again
Justin Thomas is the defending champion of the US PGA Championship Image Credit: AFP

This week starting on Thursday, sees the second golfing major of the year, the US PGA Championship taking place at Oak Hill Country Club’s East Course, in New York with a prizefund of $15 million.

The venue will host its fourth US PGA Championship a decade removed from Jason Dufner’s 2013 triumph. It also hosted the 1995 Ryder Cup as well as three US Opens. It measures 7,394 yards and plays at a par 70, and was originally designed by Donald Ross and in 2019 was restored more to its original design. It is recognized as one of the finest and most difficult golf courses in the world.

One of the world’s top coaches Peter Cowen, with Dubai Golf Academies at both Emirates Golf Club and Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, who is attending this week told GULF NEWS, ‘I was at LIV Golf Tulsa last week. Of my players in this week’s field Brooks Koepka is fully fit and cannot be overlooked. He finished last week in tied fifth on 12 under par. He is always in with a chance of adding to his four career majors, including the US PGA Championship in both 2018 and 2019. Other LIV players to watch in New York include Cam Smith and Dustin Johnson, the latter with his win in Tulsa looks strong. When Dustin gets in the winning mood – he can keep it going, he is lightly raced and should be in the mix at the end of the week. Rory McIlroy has another important week as he goes for his fifth major, having won his last major at this event in 2014. Defending champion Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler are also looking match fit for this week.’

‘Despite being as close as anyone to the players inside the ropes, especially on the range, my recommendation to everyone is not to follow my tips – I am the worst of anyone and my track record as a tipster, is not good. My only point is that the winner will have to hit it a long way – they all do these days! A word for one of my players, 51 year-old Padraig Harrington playing this week. The 2008 US PGA Champion is still capable of winning anywhere in the world. He is currently 38th in the Race to Dubai Rankings and is my outside tip to make the European Team in this year’s Ryder Cup.’

‘What I am struggling to get my head around is that in just 68 days, the major golf season will be over for 2023. This year has the Ryder Cup in late September in Rome, but I am still not comfortable with this new global all year round schedule,’ concluded Cowen.

Looking at the statistics it seems remarkable that the last Englishman to win the US PGA Championship was Jim Barnes, born in 1886.

He won the first US PGA in 1916 and then again in 1919. This was when it had a matchplay format with the Championship Match over 36 holes. In 1958 the format changed to medal play.

The scene is set for another seemingly ‘open’ major.

Records are there to be broken – perhaps it is time for an Englishman to win again? Matt Fitzpatrick coached by Mike Walker, the 2022 US Open champion is also one to watch.

On the ladies’ golfing scene, Dubai based Chiara Noja, representing Jumeirah Golf Estates, returns to action in the 54-hole $1 million Aramco Team Series Presented By Public Investment Fund at Trump International, West Palm Beach, Florida starting on Friday.

Jessica Korda, Lexi Thompson and Lydia Ko are in the strong field of 108 players as the LPGA takes a week off from their schedule.

17 year-old Chiara currently stands 10th in the LET’s Race to Costa del Sol Order of Merit Rankings, fifth in the LET Money List, 24th in the Solheim Cup Rankings and 100th in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings.

Mens Majors

Thursday 18th – Sunday 21st May, 2023

US PGA Championship

Venue: Oak Hill East Course, Rochester, New York, US

Purse: $15 million

Ladies European Tour

Friday 19th – Sunday 21st May

Aramco Team Series Presented By Public Investment Fund – Florida

Venue: Trump International, West Palm Beach, Florida, US

Purse: $1 million

Challenge Tour

Thursday 18th – Sunday 21st May

B-NL Challenge Trophy

Venue: Twentsche GC, Deldenerbroek, Netherlands

Purse: €250,000