Berliner Boersenzeitung - No.1 Scheffler arrives at Valhalla for PGA Championship

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No.1 Scheffler arrives at Valhalla for PGA Championship
No.1 Scheffler arrives at Valhalla for PGA Championship / Photo: ROSS KINNAIRD - GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP

No.1 Scheffler arrives at Valhalla for PGA Championship

Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler arrived at Valhalla on Monday afternoon and began practice for the 106th PGA Championship, searching for his third major title and fifth triumph in six starts.

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The 27-year-old American has been idle the past three weeks while his wife Meredith was preparing to give birth to their first child, whose arrival set the stage for Scheffler to compete for the Wanamaker Trophy.

Scheffler, who captured his second Masters title last month, has won four of his past five starts, only a Houston Open playoff loss keeping him from a perfect stretch including Bay Hill, The Players Championship, the Masters and the Heritage.

His status had been uncertain with no confirmation he had become a father, but the arrival of his caddie, Ted Scott, to look over the course on Monday gave a major indication Scheffler would compete.

Scheffler and world number two Rory McIlroy will both tee off Thursday having won their prior two starts, Scheffler at Augusta National and the Heritage and McIlroy last month in a pairs event with Ireland's Shane Lowry and Sunday with his fourth career title at Quail Hollow at the Wells Fargo Championship.

Four-time major winner McIlroy took his most recent major victory 10 years ago at Valhalla, edging Phil Mickelson by a stroke for his second PGA Championship.

"I've been sort of banging this drum for the last few years, but I'm a way better player now than I was back then," McIlroy said on Sunday. "I haven't had the major record to back that up, but I've had the wins.

"I've done everything else there is to do in the game since 2014. The only thing I need to do is get another major."

The 35-year-old from Northern Ireland has had 20 top-10 finishes in 35 major starts since that Valhalla victory a decade ago, but his run-up this time awakens echoes of that 2014 run at the Louisville layout.

"Going into Valhalla in 2014 I had won my last two starts, and going into this year I've won my last two starts," he said. "Just need to try to replicate whatever I did in 2014, just try to do that all over again.

"I'm feeling really good with my game. I need to stay in my own little world next week and not get too far ahead of myself, but if you can step on to the first tee at Valhalla on Thursday and feel as good about my game as I did (Sunday), I think I'll have a good chance."

Third-ranked Xander Schauffele, chasing his first major title, has had 19 top-10 finishes since his most recent PGA Tour victory at the 2022 Scottish Open, a 22-month win drought. The 30-year-old American was a runner-up effort behind McIlroy at Quail Hollow, host of next year's PGA Championship.

- Wet weather expected -

Storms are expected to bring rain ahead of Thursday's opening round with more storms predicted Friday afternoon into Saturday morning.

Three-time major winner Jordan Spieth makes a seventh attempt to complete a career Grand Slam by winning the PGA Championship. The American won the 2015 Masters and US Open and 2017 British Open but his best PGA finish was second in 2015. He also shared third in 2019.

Tiger Woods, a 15-time major winner who has struggled to walk 72 holes since a 2021 car crash, won in 2000 at Valhalla as part of his Tiger Slam sweep of four major titles in 2000-01. He plans to play in all four majors this year if fitness allows after a 60th-place effort at the Masters.

American Brooks Koepka is the defending champion, having won last year at Oak Hill to become the first active LIV Golf player to take a major crown.

Five-time major winner Koepka is coming off a LIV Golf win at Singapore two weeks ago.

Koepka is among 16 players from the Saudi-back breakaway series in the field of 156, seven of whom received special invitations from the PGA of America.

Taiwan's Pan Cheng-tsung was added to the field after American Taylor Montgomery withdrew due to injury.

(T.Burkhard--BBZ)