ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI | To be honest, August is probably no one’s favorite month.
It’s hot pretty much everywhere and the charm of summer is fading, overtaken by another day of sweat stains and the sense that football season is still like a mirage on the horizon.
If for no other reason – and there are many excellent reasons – this being the final PGA Championship in August is a reason to celebrate. Who doesn’t love St. Louis in August?
This time next year, major championship season will be over, the Champion Golfer of the Year having claimed the season’s final piece of immortality at the Open Championship at Royal Portrush.
The PGA Championship moves to May next year and that will take some getting used to. The fact it’s being played at Bethpage Black on Long Island in May means it’s unlikely the heat index will be one of the vital statistics during tournament week and the sale of sweatshirts and pullovers should spike over previous years in the PGA merchandise pavilion.
The move to May should be a huge success for the PGA Championship because it’s no longer the final major. It doesn’t work against the Open Championship to be the year’s last major but it’s always been something with which the PGA Championship has had to cope.
Not any more, at least not after this year.
Regardless of when the PGA Championship is played, it’s still one of only four major championships and it has a way of defining careers.
What would we be saying about Justin Thomas if he hadn’t won at Quail Hollow last year? He’d be paired with Rickie Fowler in the ‘when are they going to win a major’ discussion. Thomas cleared that hurdle and, along with Dustin Johnson, he’s one of the two favorites at Bellerive this week.
As always, there are compelling storylines.
Will someone, maybe Bryson DeChambeau or Xander Schauffele, play their way into one of the eight automatic spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team that will be finalized after the PGA Championship?
Can Rory put four rounds together in a major?
What’s up with Tiger all of a sudden?
And why is toasted ravioli a St. Louis thing?
That’s why the golf world is gathering at Bellerive this week.
And to wave goodbye to the PGA Championship in August.