Today (Wednesday) is the final practice round for this week’s 104th USPGA Championship at Southern Hills CC, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Players, coaches, caddies, managers, family and everyone around the players try to keep the routine of a Major week, as if it is a normal tournament week, but this is not easy, with big crowds on practice days, heightened media demands and we all know it is a Major week as the excitement builds for everyone.
There are no Pro-Ams in the Majors, so today, all my six players are planning to play just nine holes to save their energy and be ready for the first round tomorrow.
I spoke to Tiger Woods whilst sharing a golf cart sitting on the range yesterday (Tuesday), and he told me he has not practised hard since The Masters.
As he gets older (now 46 years of age) he cannot make too many demands on his body, but that has given him so much more time to spend on his short game, which he claims is ‘pretty sharp.’
Tiger is looking good, sounds positive and seemingly up for a big week.
The draw for Round One has been published and by all weather forecasts, it sounds like the wind will be up. It looks like the winds may be as strong as 31 km/h and temperatures over 30 degrees for some time during the first two days, it could well be that there may well be a ‘luck of the draw,’ factor, with one half of the draw lucky and the other half unlucky, for the first two rounds. That is often the name of the game for golf, most usually experienced at The Open.
Tee Times for tomorrow’s (Thursday) Round One for my players are as below
(All local Oklahoma time. nine hours behind UAE time):
Tee 1: Match 7 / 8.06 am Padraig Harrington (Ire).
Tee 1: Match 8 / 8.17 am Thomas Pieters (Bel).
Tee 10: Match 24 / 8.55 am Lee Westwood (Eng).
Tee 1: Match 30 / 1.03 pm Brooks Koepka (US).
Tee 1: Match 34 / 1.47 pm Ian Poulter (Eng).
Tee 1: Match 36 / 2.09 pm Matt Fitzpatrick (Eng).
The one match threatening to take all the crowds on Thursday is Match 20 at 8.11 am off Tee 10 when Jordan Spieth (US) is paired with Rory McIlroy (NI) and Tiger Woods (US). That will be one worth watching with 22 Majors between them!
The last Major win for one of my players was in 2019, when Brooks won the USPGA and Gary Woodland (US) the US Open. Thought for the day is that it would be great to see another winner from Europe, Shane Lowry (Ire) in The Open, again in 2019 was our last European Major champion.
I hope you will all be able to watch all the action.
Good luck to all 156 players. Speak soon!
- Peter Cowen, 71, a Dubai Golden Visa awardee, is one of the leading golf coaches of the world. A former DP World Tour professional, he has his Peter Cowen Academies in Dubai at Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club, Emirates Golf Club and Jumeirah Golf Estates. Cowen lives in England and his academies are headquartered in Rotherham.