| ||NOTES || |
| ||The season`s final major kicks off this week with the PGA Championship and it
will be without defending champion Tiger Woods. Woods continues his recovery
from knee surgery. Last year, Woods closed with a one-under 69 at Southern
Hills to fend off Woody Austin and Ernie Els. For Woods, it was his fourth
PGA Championship title as he has gone back-to-back twice at this event.
Oakland Hills hosted the 1996 U.S. Open and the 2004 Ryder Cup. After the
1951 U.S. Open in which there were only two sub-par rounds, Ben Hogan called
this course a monster. So far this year, Trevor Immelman collected his first
major title at The Masters, then Woods defeated Rocco Mediate in an epic U.S.
Open playoff and three weeks ago, Padraig Harrington claimed his second
straight British Open Championship. Several Europeans, including Lee Westwood
and Harrington, are in fine form entering this event, but history is not on
their side. Seventy-five of the 89 winners have been American, while South
Africans and Australians account for eight titles at this event. The last
European winner was all they way back in 1930, when Scotland`s Tommy Armour
defeated Gene Sarazen, 1-up. Since 1996, Vijay Singh is the only non-American
winner. The Fijian won this title in 1998 and was a playoff winner in 2004.
There is plenty on the line this week. The top American and European players
are battling to secure spots on the Ryder Cup teams, while some big-name
players are also trying to lock up their spot in the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Three former major champions - Davis Love III (150), Lee Janzen (154) and
Rich Beem (166) - are all outside the top-144 in the playoff standings and
will miss them without a solid performance at Southern Hills. TNT will have
lengthy coverage of the first two rounds and also has early coverage on the
weekend before handing off to the CBS team, which has five hours of coverage
both Saturday and Sunday. The PGA Tour heads to North Carolina next week for
the Wyndham Championship, where Brandt Snedeker is the defending champion.