The PGA Championship may have finally found its place
They used to call this ‘Glory’s Last Shot’. Even the branding had a touch of desperation to it. The PGA Championship has rarely seemed comfortable in its own skin and yet it may be reborn this week at Bethpage Black.
Tiger Woods has provided the rescheduled major with a new and compelling narrative.
Suddenly the move to May doesn’t feel like a shunt that bore the distinct suspicion it was simply accommodating the revamped FedEx Cup Play-offs.
Now, barely a month after the GOAT’S heroics at Augusta, it feels like an opportunity.
This could be the place where he wins No. 16, on a course where he has already tasted major glory.
Everyone connected to the PGA Championship – fans, players, media – are suddenly very engaged indeed.
There’s a vibe around this corner of Long Island, a defiance that now laughs in the face of anyone who wants to demean the PGA as a “glorified WGC”.
It helps that it’s being played on a course that is as romantic as they come – a layout with a myth all of its own.
A rugged design attempted by builders and bankers alike and who are worn down the same with unforgiving brutality.
It is more than that, though.
The PGA will never have the prestige of the Open. Wherever it’s played we’ll never gasp in the way we do when the first shots of Amen Corner hit our screens in April.
You only need listen to the stewards, the marshals and the crowds here, though. There’s an excitement about what’s to come and that’s not simply down to Tiger.
They have turned out in their numbers – filling shuttle buses and making significant dents in the merchandise tent.
Imagine what it will be like when Manhattan comes out to play at the weekend.
There was a weariness about the PGA in August – usually played in sweat-drenched conditions barely a couple of weeks after everyone had been beaten up on a British links.
Now there’s an optimism about its early season spot and an anticipation about what lies ahead. It may not end talk about new majors or fifth majors.
But it may finally have found its place. At last.