Sports Outside the Beltway

PGA Championship starts today

156 players will be teeing it up at the Oakland Hills Country Club outside of Detroit Michigan. Defending champion Tiger Woods is not in the field due to recent knee surgery.

I’m just out of the hospital and less than a week from having heart surgery. So I’m not really up to a detailed preview. Oakland Hills has been a major championship venue since the 1920′s. Winners at the course include all-time greats, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player. The next tier of winners include David Graham, Gene Littler, and Ralph Guldahl. That’s an accomplished group of winners, but Oakland Hills has seen its share of surprises too. Cyril Walker, Andy North, and Steve Jones. Jones was a better golfer than his win total indicates, mainly because he couldn’t stay healthy for long. I’m a little surprised Oakland Hills has never hosted a Women’s event.

Who will win this week? Here are two picks- Boo Weekly and KJ Choi. Both have won in 2008 and are having solid years overall. I think the winner Sunday will be someone without a prior major championship triumph. Nor will it be one of the A List favorites, like Phil Mickelson, Anthony Kim, Padrig Harrington, Sergio Garcia etc etc. Something tells me we will have a journeyman winner, and the PGA has had a recent history of these. Wayne Grady, Jeff Sluman, and Rich Beem to name a few. A AP article yesterday focused on the PGA’s tendency for first time major champions.

This is the last golf major for all the tours in 2008. The Ryder Slaughter Cup which is to take place next month, while interesting, doesn’t have the same allure as any of Golf’s Grand Slam events. Either Men or Women.

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