“Not even Seve did it,” says Jon Rahm before teeing off (today, 2:33 p.m. in Spain with Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick and Australian Cameron Smith) of the 105th edition of the PGA Championship, the second major of 2023 after the Masters of Augusta, which is held at the Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York (founded in 1901). The ‘Lion of Barrika’ refers to the fact that No Spaniard has ever managed to win two majors in the same year… and no one born in our country (Sergio García was second in 1999 and 2018) has registered his name among the winners of the Wanamaker Trophy.
Therefore, the number one in the world, a condition that he would also defend if he prevailed in the US on Sunday, is facing a triple challenge closely linked to history. However, things will not be easy since, for example Rahm has never played on a course that is not excessively long (par 70 and 6,757 metres), but whose fairways are a must if you want to avoid problems, especially in the deep bunkers. “The field is difficult, a challenge,” explains the Spaniard before taking on a green carpet, which hosts the tournament for the fourth time after 1989, 2003 and 2013, and whose slogan could be: ‘May the ball always go straight’.
Challenge that helps to avoid the trees, much less since the 2019 remodeling, and above all the dangerous sand traps for the best golfers in the world since Among the 156 participants are 99 of the top 100 in the ranking, since only Will Zalatoris (9th) will be missing, recently operated on his back. There will also be 18 LIV players, the Saudi circuit, although not including Sergio García or Phil Mickelson; nor will Tiger Woods take the field with his ankle problems.
Renowned casualties although more from the past of this sport that has the duel between Rahm and Scheffler as the betting target, as determined by all bookmakers, without forgetting outsiders such as McIlroy, Cantlay, Koepka, Day or Spieth who will look for a surprise to succeed Justin Thomas, winner in 2022, that he will also want to repeat and pocket another check close to three million euros. The major that arose from the mind of Rodman Wanamaker, owner of a real estate company who saw the possibility of commercialization within an organization of professional golfers, is a key history of golf and Rahm will try to assault it by leading a Spanish army that will also have three other representatives: Pablo Larrazábal (69), Adri Arnaus (89) and Adrián Otaegui (94).