Heat serves as muggy reminder of the final PGA in August


By DOUG FERGUSON - AP Golf Writer



Patrick Cantlay hits onto the 6th green as he practices for the PGA Championship golf tournament Monday, Aug. 6, 2018, at Bellerive in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Patrick Cantlay hits onto the 6th green as he practices for the PGA Championship golf tournament Monday, Aug. 6, 2018, at Bellerive in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)


Russell Henley hits on the 12th tee as he practices for the PGA Championship golf tournament Monday, Aug. 6, 2018, at Bellerive in Saint Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)


Beyond Hun An, from South Korea, walks down the 10th fairway as he practices for the PGA Championship golf tournament Monday, Aug. 6, 2018, at Bellerive in Saint Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)


Golf at a glance

By The Associated Press

PGA OF AMERICA

PGA CHAMPIONSHIP

Site: St. Louis.

Course: Bellerive Country Club. Yardage: 7,316. Par: 70.

Purse: TBA ($10.5 million in 2017). Winner’s share: TBA ($1.89 million in 2017).

Television: Thursday and Friday, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. (TNT); Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (TNT), 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. (CBS Sports).

Defending champion: Justin Thomas.

Notes: This is the last year for the PGA Championship to be held in August. It moves to May next year. … The PGA Championship was last held at Bellerive in 1992 when Nick Price won the first of his three majors. … Tiger Woods returns to the PGA Championship for the first time since 2015, when he missed the cut for the second straight time in a major. … Woods is the only player to win the PGA in consecutive years — twice— in stroke play. … Jordan Spieth needs to win the PGA to become the sixth player to complete the Grand Slam. None of the previous five completed it at the PGA Championship. … Gary Player won the career Grand Slam at Bellerive in 1965 by winning the U.S. Open. … This is the final event before eight Americans automatically qualify for the Ryder Cup team. … This will be the eighth major Dustin Johnson plays with the No. 1 ranking. … There will be two players in the field named Zach Johnson. One is a two-time major champion; the other is a club pro from Utah. … Bellerive was site of the 2008 BMW Championship, won by Camilo Villegas, and the 2001 American Express Championship, which was canceled because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Next year: Bethpage Black on May 16-19.

Online: www.pgachampionship.com

___

EUROPEAN TOUR

EUROPEAN GOLF TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS

Site: Gleneagles, Scotland.

Course: PGA Centenary Course. Yardage: 6,624. Par: 72.

Purse: 550,000 euros.

Television: None.

Defending champion: New tournament.

Race to Dubai leader: Francesco Molinari.

Last week: Gaganjeet Bhullar won the Fiji International.

Notes: The field features equal numbers of men and women competing for the same prize money. … Sixteen teams will compete for men’s and women’s titles, and then they will form four-member mixed teams for another trophy. … Teams from Britain each have the maximum six teams (three men’s teams, three women’s teams). … Laura Davies is in the field after winning the U.S. Senior Women’s Open at Chicago Golf Club. She will partner with Georgia Hall. … This is the second time this year the European Tour has an event featuring men and women. The other was the Golfsixes. … The PGA Centenary Course is where Europe defeated the U.S. in the 2014 Ryder Cup. The Solheim Cup will be held at Gleneagles next year.

Next week: Nordea Masters.

Online: www.europeantour.com

___

WEB.COM TOUR

ELLIE MAE CLASSIC AT TPC STONEBRAE

Site: Hayward, Calif.

Course: TPC Stonebrae. Yardage: 7,024. Par: 70.

Purse: $600,000. Winner’s share: $108,000.

Television: None.

Defending champion: Martin Piller.

Money leader: Sunjae Im.

Last week: Sepp Straka won the KC Golf Classic.

Next week: Winco Foods Portland Open.

Online: www.pgatour.com/webcom

___

UNITED STATES GOLF ASSOCIATION

U.S. WOMEN’S AMATEUR

Site:Kingston Springs, Tenn.

Course: The Golf Club of Tennessee. Yarage: 6,275. Par: 71.

Television: Wednesday-Friday, 4-7 p.m. (FS1); Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (FS2); Sunday, 2-5 p.m. (FS1).

Defending champion: Sophia Schubert.

Notes: Schubert, 21, last year became the first player older than 19 to win the U.S. Women’s Amateur in nine years. … The winner is exempt into the U.S. Women’s Open next year as long as she remains an amateur. … The U.S. Women’s Amateur is one of the three original USGA championships, first played in 1895. … Glenna Collett Vare holds the record with six titles. … The field includes NCAA Jennifer Kupcho of Wake Forest and Albane Valenzuela of Stanford, the runner-up last year.

Next year: Old Waverly GC, West Point, Miss.

Online: www.usga.org

___

PGA TOUR

Last week: Justin Thomas won the Bridgestone Invitational and Andrew Putnam won the Barracuda Championship.

Next week: Wyndham Championship.

FedEx Cup leader: Dustin Johnson.

Online: www.pgatour.com

___

LPGA TOUR

Last week: Georgia Hall won the Women’s British Open.

Next week: Indy Women in Tech Championship.

Race to CME Globe leader: Ariya Jutanugarn.

Online: www.lpga.com

___

PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS

Last week: Kenny Perry won the 3M Championship.

Next week: Dick’s Sporting Goods Classic

Charles Schwab Cup leader: Jerry Kelly.

Online: www.pgatour.com/champions

___

OTHER TOURS

MEN

Asian Tour: Take Solutions Masters, Karnataka Golf Association GC, Bengaluru, India. Defending champion: Poom Saksansin. Online: www.asiantour.com

Challenge Tour: Vierumaki Finnish Challenge, Vierumaki Resort, Vierumaki, Finland. Defending champion: Paul Howard. Online: www.europeantour.com/challengetour

Mackenzie Tour: ATB Financial Classic, Country Hills GC, Calgary, Alberta. Defending champion: Chase Wright. Online: www.pgatour.com/canada

Sunshine Tour: Sun Carnival City Challenge, Ebotse Links, Benoni, South Africa. Defending champion: Jbe Kruger. Online: www.sunshinetour.com

WOMEN

Symetra Tour: PHC Classic, Brown Deer Park GC, Milwaukee. Defending champion: Brittany Marchand. Online: www.symetratour.com

Korean LPGA: Jeju Samdasso Masters, Ora CC, Jeju, South Korea. Defending champion: Jin Young Ko. Online: www.klpga.co.kr

Japan LPGA: NEC Karuizawa 72 Golf Tournament, Karuizawa 72 Golf North Course, Nagano, Japan. Defending champion: Mamkiko Higa. Online: www.lpga.or.jp

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The PGA Championship finally found its identity. It’s the one major where players are allowed to practice in shorts.

They might not need to next year.

This is the last year for the PGA Championship to be the final major. It will move to the middle of May and be held next year at Bethpage Black on Long Island. Based on the sweat pouring down faces — and legs — and drenched shirts Monday at Bellerive, next year will be a welcome reprieve.

But it’s not just the steamy heat of golf in August.

The PGA Championship, which celebrates its 100th edition this year, is easy to get overlooked because it falls at the end of a busy schedule. Francesco Molinari, who opted for shorts on the first official day of practice, was hoisting the claret jug from his British Open victory just 15 days ago.

Justin Thomas could barely relish his first World Golf Championship title Sunday at Firestone when it was time to prepare for his title defense in the PGA Championship.

“I think it will be good for the vibe,” Kevin Chappell said about the move to May. “It limits the golf courses we can play, which could be good or bad depending on your taste. The Open being the last one won’t lose any pizazz because it stands on its own. But this being the fourth major, and the third one in the U.S., it’s easily overlooked.”

It’s not unusual for players to go a week or two early to see Augusta National (mainly because they can), or the U.S. Open course. The roster of players who took a side trip to St. Louis to see Bellerive is much smaller.

Phil Mickelson and Zach Johnson were here early last week. Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka were among those who didn’t have time. They went from Scotland to the Canadian Open to Ohio for the Bridgestone Invitational.

Jordan Spieth took the week off after the British Open for his bachelor party in Spain.

Spieth figured three days at a course should be enough for him or any other tour professional to know how to play a new golf course. His original plan was to play nine holes Monday, 18 on Tuesday and nine on Wednesday.

He wound up playing a full round on Monday, stopping between nines to eat lunch and cool off. Temperatures were in the mid-90s with humidity pushing 60 percent.

“You can do this when you have an early tee time on Sunday,” Spieth said, referring to his tie for 60th last week at the Bridgestone Invitational. He didn’t have his best stuff last week and finished the final round in the early afternoon.

Spieth gets his second chance to try to complete the career Grand Slam, achieved by only five others since the Masters was created in 1934. He figures one of these years, he’ll be in good form on a course that suits him, and Bellerive might be one of them.

This is a new course for most of the 156-man field, including the 20 club pros.

Only 15 players in the field have competed at Bellerive, either at the 1992 Championship or the 2008 BMW Championship. That doesn’t include Tiger Woods. He was at Bellerive and even played the course in practice for the 2001 American Express Championship, which was canceled because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He had knee surgery after winning the 2008 U.S. Open and missed the rest of the year.

It shouldn’t matter, for him or anyone else.

Most players know what to expect — extreme heat, except when it was held at Whistling Straits north of Milwaukee — and a setup that is designed to test but not necessarily punish. It might look like a U.S. Open with the rough, but conditions typically are softer because of the summer heat and need to keep the greens alive.

“You know what you’re going to get,” Kevin Kisner said. “They’re not going to put pins on 4-degree slopes and make you look stupid.”

Jason Dufner missed out on qualifying for the World Golf Championship last week and arrived on the weekend, playing Saturday and Sunday with hardly anyone on the course. He got around quickly and plans to take it easy the rest of the week instead of wearing himself out.

There is a general feeling of fatigue this time of the year, especially with the August heat.

“It’s a long season,” Dufner said. “But if your game is in good shape, you don’t have to spend too much time on the range.”

Patrick Cantlay hits onto the 6th green as he practices for the PGA Championship golf tournament Monday, Aug. 6, 2018, at Bellerive in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/08/web1_121093461-f99a12c134824c2b993f602cf85aff24-1.jpgPatrick Cantlay hits onto the 6th green as he practices for the PGA Championship golf tournament Monday, Aug. 6, 2018, at Bellerive in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Russell Henley hits on the 12th tee as he practices for the PGA Championship golf tournament Monday, Aug. 6, 2018, at Bellerive in Saint Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/08/web1_121093461-b12d2cb6e3254ed6ae8cb6dde385b62b-1.jpgRussell Henley hits on the 12th tee as he practices for the PGA Championship golf tournament Monday, Aug. 6, 2018, at Bellerive in Saint Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Beyond Hun An, from South Korea, walks down the 10th fairway as he practices for the PGA Championship golf tournament Monday, Aug. 6, 2018, at Bellerive in Saint Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/08/web1_121093461-1a574aed0d3040a8b4bf067cf6415648-1.jpgBeyond Hun An, from South Korea, walks down the 10th fairway as he practices for the PGA Championship golf tournament Monday, Aug. 6, 2018, at Bellerive in Saint Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

By DOUG FERGUSON

AP Golf Writer

Golf at a glance

By The Associated Press

PGA OF AMERICA

PGA CHAMPIONSHIP

Site: St. Louis.

Course: Bellerive Country Club. Yardage: 7,316. Par: 70.

Purse: TBA ($10.5 million in 2017). Winner’s share: TBA ($1.89 million in 2017).

Television: Thursday and Friday, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. (TNT); Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (TNT), 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. (CBS Sports).

Defending champion: Justin Thomas.

Notes: This is the last year for the PGA Championship to be held in August. It moves to May next year. … The PGA Championship was last held at Bellerive in 1992 when Nick Price won the first of his three majors. … Tiger Woods returns to the PGA Championship for the first time since 2015, when he missed the cut for the second straight time in a major. … Woods is the only player to win the PGA in consecutive years — twice— in stroke play. … Jordan Spieth needs to win the PGA to become the sixth player to complete the Grand Slam. None of the previous five completed it at the PGA Championship. … Gary Player won the career Grand Slam at Bellerive in 1965 by winning the U.S. Open. … This is the final event before eight Americans automatically qualify for the Ryder Cup team. … This will be the eighth major Dustin Johnson plays with the No. 1 ranking. … There will be two players in the field named Zach Johnson. One is a two-time major champion; the other is a club pro from Utah. … Bellerive was site of the 2008 BMW Championship, won by Camilo Villegas, and the 2001 American Express Championship, which was canceled because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Next year: Bethpage Black on May 16-19.

Online: www.pgachampionship.com

___

EUROPEAN TOUR

EUROPEAN GOLF TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS

Site: Gleneagles, Scotland.

Course: PGA Centenary Course. Yardage: 6,624. Par: 72.

Purse: 550,000 euros.

Television: None.

Defending champion: New tournament.

Race to Dubai leader: Francesco Molinari.

Last week: Gaganjeet Bhullar won the Fiji International.

Notes: The field features equal numbers of men and women competing for the same prize money. … Sixteen teams will compete for men’s and women’s titles, and then they will form four-member mixed teams for another trophy. … Teams from Britain each have the maximum six teams (three men’s teams, three women’s teams). … Laura Davies is in the field after winning the U.S. Senior Women’s Open at Chicago Golf Club. She will partner with Georgia Hall. … This is the second time this year the European Tour has an event featuring men and women. The other was the Golfsixes. … The PGA Centenary Course is where Europe defeated the U.S. in the 2014 Ryder Cup. The Solheim Cup will be held at Gleneagles next year.

Next week: Nordea Masters.

Online: www.europeantour.com

___

WEB.COM TOUR

ELLIE MAE CLASSIC AT TPC STONEBRAE

Site: Hayward, Calif.

Course: TPC Stonebrae. Yardage: 7,024. Par: 70.

Purse: $600,000. Winner’s share: $108,000.

Television: None.

Defending champion: Martin Piller.

Money leader: Sunjae Im.

Last week: Sepp Straka won the KC Golf Classic.

Next week: Winco Foods Portland Open.

Online: www.pgatour.com/webcom

___

UNITED STATES GOLF ASSOCIATION

U.S. WOMEN’S AMATEUR

Site:Kingston Springs, Tenn.

Course: The Golf Club of Tennessee. Yarage: 6,275. Par: 71.

Television: Wednesday-Friday, 4-7 p.m. (FS1); Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (FS2); Sunday, 2-5 p.m. (FS1).

Defending champion: Sophia Schubert.

Notes: Schubert, 21, last year became the first player older than 19 to win the U.S. Women’s Amateur in nine years. … The winner is exempt into the U.S. Women’s Open next year as long as she remains an amateur. … The U.S. Women’s Amateur is one of the three original USGA championships, first played in 1895. … Glenna Collett Vare holds the record with six titles. … The field includes NCAA Jennifer Kupcho of Wake Forest and Albane Valenzuela of Stanford, the runner-up last year.

Next year: Old Waverly GC, West Point, Miss.

Online: www.usga.org

___

PGA TOUR

Last week: Justin Thomas won the Bridgestone Invitational and Andrew Putnam won the Barracuda Championship.

Next week: Wyndham Championship.

FedEx Cup leader: Dustin Johnson.

Online: www.pgatour.com

___

LPGA TOUR

Last week: Georgia Hall won the Women’s British Open.

Next week: Indy Women in Tech Championship.

Race to CME Globe leader: Ariya Jutanugarn.

Online: www.lpga.com

___

PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS

Last week: Kenny Perry won the 3M Championship.

Next week: Dick’s Sporting Goods Classic

Charles Schwab Cup leader: Jerry Kelly.

Online: www.pgatour.com/champions

___

OTHER TOURS

MEN

Asian Tour: Take Solutions Masters, Karnataka Golf Association GC, Bengaluru, India. Defending champion: Poom Saksansin. Online: www.asiantour.com

Challenge Tour: Vierumaki Finnish Challenge, Vierumaki Resort, Vierumaki, Finland. Defending champion: Paul Howard. Online: www.europeantour.com/challengetour

Mackenzie Tour: ATB Financial Classic, Country Hills GC, Calgary, Alberta. Defending champion: Chase Wright. Online: www.pgatour.com/canada

Sunshine Tour: Sun Carnival City Challenge, Ebotse Links, Benoni, South Africa. Defending champion: Jbe Kruger. Online: www.sunshinetour.com

WOMEN

Symetra Tour: PHC Classic, Brown Deer Park GC, Milwaukee. Defending champion: Brittany Marchand. Online: www.symetratour.com

Korean LPGA: Jeju Samdasso Masters, Ora CC, Jeju, South Korea. Defending champion: Jin Young Ko. Online: www.klpga.co.kr

Japan LPGA: NEC Karuizawa 72 Golf Tournament, Karuizawa 72 Golf North Course, Nagano, Japan. Defending champion: Mamkiko Higa. Online: www.lpga.or.jp