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The Latest: PGA exec takes subtle shot at USGA course setups

August 8, 2018
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Latest on the PGA Championship, golf's final major of the year (all times local):

12:45 p.m.

Kerry Haig of the PGA of America took what some considered a subtle shot at the USGA when he said Tuesday his goal in setting up courses for the PGA Championship is to let the players be the stars.

The USGA is often criticized for its U.S. Open setups, whether that's because of long, thick rough or penal green speeds that are designed to produce a specific winning score.

Some years, the setup itself becomes the tournament's dominant story.

Yet rarely do the same critiques accompany the PGA, and Haig said that's because "my hope and I think the plan is that the players are the story. It is their major championship."

"I don't like to be up here. I don't want to talk," the PGA's chief championship officer said from a podium. "We are not the show, and that is our aim for every championship."

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11:45 a.m.

The Dallas suburb of Frisco, Texas, remains the front-runner to become the new home of the PGA of America, but outgoing CEO Pete Bevacqua said the move from South Florida is not finalized.

Bevacqua said the organization decided a couple years ago its current headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens no longer fit the bill. So, the PGA began soliciting offers from around the country, and Frisco officials proposed a site that would include two, semi-public 18-hole courses.

Bevacqua, who is leaving to become president of NBC Sports Group, said it's still possible the PGA could elsewhere or even stay in Florida. "Our goal is to resolve that and come to a conclusion as quickly as possible," he added. "We're just not there yet."

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11 a.m.

Jim Furyk predicted next month's Ryder Cup will be a "battle of two giants," but the U.S. captain said he's pleased with the way his team is shaping up heading into the PGA Championship.

This weekend at Bellerive is the last chance to earn points and automatically make the team.

Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas have already clinched spots, but there are four more automatic spots in play. There are also four captain's picks up for grabs.

"I'd love to be playing late Sunday," said Furyk, who is also in the PGA field, "but if not, I know I'll be glued to the TV and trying to figure out points and what could happen to our top eight."

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10:30 a.m.

Thomas Bjorn has withdrawn on the eve of the PGA Championship after an old back injury flared up, giving first alternate Kevin Streelman a spot in the field at Bellerive.

Streelman finished in the top 10 at the John Deere Classic last month, but he missed the cut last week at the Barracuda Championship, the tournament that runs concurrently with the WGC event.

Streelman learned he was in the PGA field in time to play a practice round Tuesday.

Bjorn probably isn't going far. He's the captain for the European team for next month's Ryder Cup, so chances are he'll be following some of his prospective players the rest of the week.

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9:45 a.m.

Tommy Fleetwood keeps showing up at the biggest events. Now he just has to figure out how to get through Saturday.

Last week at Firestone was the latest example of Fleetwood digging a hole in the third round. He was tied for the 36-hole lead and shot 74. Two weeks earlier, he was one shot off the lead until a 71 on a good day for scoring at Carnoustie. Fleetwood tied the U.S. Open record this year with a 63 in the final round, but that wasn't enough to undo the damage of a 78 on Saturday.

Fleetwood hopes it's just a coincidence, that the third round is when the putts stop falling. He also says his ordinary third rounds tend to follow hot rounds on Friday, like his 63 at Firestone.

The Englishman says it's nothing he worries about, but he has taken notice.

"And hopefully, it doesn't last for too long," he said.

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7:30 a.m.

Bellerive is busier than usual on the final day of practice for the PGA Championship.

Players typically are concerned about rest going into the final major of the year because the British Open was only about two weeks ago and the FedEx Cup playoffs on the PGA Tour are just around the corner. Plans changed on Wednesday because of the rain.

Bellerive received more than an inch of rain on Tuesday, limiting practice time. Tiger Woods only managed to play five holes on a course he hasn't seen in 17 years. Woods says he expects plenty of players on the course, and "I'm going to be one of them."

Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy were among those playing as soon as the course was open for play.

 
 

 

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