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10 names to watch at the PGA Championship


Scottie's baby has arrived, Rory's winning swagger has returned, and Brooks once again comes to a major in red-hot form.

There aren't many golfers in the world who are instantly recognizable by one name, but Scheffler, McIlroy and Koepka are among those who are. Each of them flies into the season's second major at Valhalla fresh off victories, bringing the anticipation of the PGA Championship to another level.

But while those three lead the list of people to keep an eye on this week, there are a number of other intriguing characters who will garner plenty of attention.

Here are the 10 men in the field to watch in Kentucky.

Scottie Scheffler

The world's most dominant player looks to continue his outrageous run and celebrate the recent addition to his family by adding a third major title to his trophy case. It seems like a foregone conclusion, but while the Texas alum has done plenty of winning the last three years, he has never claimed a tournament title on the PGA TOUR after the end of April. Should that change with a win this week, you will hear plenty of Grand Slam chatter with the U.S. Open looming next month.

Rory McIlroy

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Ten years ago, Rory McIlroy came to Valhalla after two consecutive wins on the PGA TOUR and stormed his way to the PGA Championship and his fourth major title at the ripe age of 25. However, in the decade since that triumph, McIlroy's major total has stagnated, and he comes in this week with a drought that's one of the biggest storylines in golf. The 35-year-old will be hoping history repeats itself as he comes to Kentucky for the PGA Championship with two straight wins. McIlroy claimed his fourth career victory at Quail Hollow last weekend with an absurd Sunday charge to turn a two-shot deficit into a five-shot victory over the final 11 holes. If he putts anywhere close to his performance from that day, it's likely the dry spell will end and McIlroy will become just the seventh man to win at least three PGA Championships.

Brooks Koepka

Speaking of men with at least three PGA Championships, Koepka joined that club last year at Oak Hill. Should he get the job done this week, he will join one of the most elite lists in professional golf with a fourth PGA Championship. The only three men to accumulate at least that many are Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, and Walter Hagen. And it isn't just Scheffler and McIlroy who come to the event fresh off a victory, as Koepka emerged victorious at LIV Singapore - his final start before the season's second major.

Tiger Woods

Woods will once again try to drag his beleaguered body around the course for four major championship rounds this week. Since his return from a horrific car accident, Woods has yet to make the cut or finish the event in any major outside of the Masters. His opening two rounds at Augusta offered plenty of hope, but a disastrous weekend saw him plummet to a 60th-place showing and raised serious question as to whether he will ever be able to string four solid rounds together again. If there's any non-Masters major venue where he can do it, it's Valhalla. It's the sight of one of Woods' greatest triumphs - an epic playoff victory in 2000 over Bob May that secured his third straight major win and second straight PGA Championship.

Talor Gooch

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When comparing achievements to attention, there may not be a more over-covered golfer in the world than Gooch. The 32-year-old won just once in almost six seasons on the PGA TOUR but claimed three LIV Golf events after making the move. That's a record he deems worthy of invites to the major championships. The Masters and U.S. Open disagreed, but the PGA of America extended the invite, and Gooch is in the field this week. The Oklahoman has played 11 career majors with a T-14 his only showing inside the top 20 in his career. Should he contend, the LIV crowd will be very vocal on social media, arguing Gooch was right all along and belonged in golf's biggest events. A missed cut will invoke a reaction in the other direction from PGA TOUR fans who point out that he's simply not built for anything other than LIV events. Either way, Gooch will be must-see television.

Michael Block

The block is about to be hot once again. The 47-year-old Block initially ingratiated himself to the viewers during a charming walk-and-talk interview while he played the 13th hole at Oak Hill. The attention grew when he made the cut, and it reached a fever pitch on Sunday as he played the final round with McIlroy. Block also produced the moment of the tournament with an improbable ace on the 15th hole, prompting one of the more absurd reactions in recent memory when he asked McIlroy if the ball went in after he had already celebrated.

Block pulled off a masterful up-and-down on the final hole to secure an incredible top-15 finish and book a spot in this year's event at Valhalla. That also kicked off the Block world tour that saw him receive sponsor's invites to numerous PGA TOUR events and a host of media and sponsorship deals. Will the Block party once again be a four-day affair in Kentucky or will the increased attention lead to a missed cut?

Jordan Spieth

Spieth comes to Valhalla looking for a number of things, including his game. The 29-year-old could potentially become just the sixth man to complete the career Grand Slam, but a missed cut seems far more likely. The three-time major winner failed to make the weekend in four of his last seven starts, and it's been over two years since his last PGA TOUR victory and seven since he claimed the 2017 Open Championship. His last major championship showing featured a shocking 7-over 79 as he crashed out of the Masters after two rounds. Simply put, the wheels are almost fully off the tracks for the Spieth train. It will be fascinating television to watch as he tries to keep things from fully careening into the canyon this week.

Phil Mickelson

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Mickelson's form has been absolutely dreadful over the past 12 months with only two top-10 finishes in his last 20 events. That includes his very poor play on LIV Golf this year and a finish in the bottom half in five of seven tournaments. There's really no reason to expect anything out of the 53-year-old this week at Valhalla, right? Well, the last time Mickelson entered a PGA Championship struggling mightily was 2021 at Kiawah Island - an event he was somehow able to win in what was one of the most shocking results in major championship golf. Can Lefty pull it off once again and become the 12th man to ever win at least seven majors?

Bryson DeChambeau

As the PGA Championship continues to evolve into a paradise for big hitters, DeChambeau has risen to the forefront in the event. The brawny basher has played in three PGA Championships since 2020 and has two fourth-place finishes to show for it. With Valhalla being stretched to over 7,600 yards this week, look for DeChambeau to attempt to bludgeon the course to death over the four-day span. However, he is far from a one-trick pony, evidenced by a very strong performance at Augusta National last month. With wet conditions expected this week in Kentucky, the setup is playing right into the hands of golf's longest players who are experts at playing from thick rough. That sounds like a perfect recipe for DeChambeau to snag a second major title.

Jon Rahm

Rahm's initial major as a member of LIV Golf was a borderline disaster. The defending Masters champion's 45th-place showing was his worst ever at Augusta National by a wide margin. Rahm kept a fairly consistent schedule in his time on the PGA TOUR, using events like Riviera, Bay Hill, and The Players to tune his game up for major season. Without those tournaments in the buildup, the Spaniard looked out of sorts in the season's first major. His play on LIV Golf has been stellar, but he's yet to bag his first win since moving over during the winter. Should Rahm perform well at Valhalla, it will quiet any critics who try to point to LIV's format as the reason for his major performance in April. If the 29-year-old struggles again on the biggest stage, however, the noise around LIV hurting his competitive chances in major championships will reach a fever pitch.

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