Tiger Woods to play in his first PGA Championship in 3 years

Justin Thomas poses with the Gary Player Cup trophy after holding his nerve to win the Bridgestone Invitational

DAVID DERMER AP Justin Thomas poses with the Gary Player Cup trophy after holding his nerve to win the Bridgestone Invitational

He would join Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen in the feat with a victory. "Trying to take pressure off yourself, trying to treat it like any normal week, just trying to win the golf tournament that week, sort of put it out of your head that what winning this golf tournament would mean in terms of your legacy and your place in the game". Woods did it twice.

A quick glance at the entry sheet for this week's PGA Championship underscores the work that still needs to be done to make golf a more diverse sport as Tiger Woods is once again the sole African American in the 156-man field. Look for the 17th (creek-guarded par 5) and 18th (tight landing fairway) to play a role in the late stages of the tournament.

Thomas hasn't heard that in a while.

This may be your last chance to get Tiger Woods in Group B as well, and it's hard to argue against Tony Finau seeing as how he is the only player with a top-10 in all three majors this season.

The PGA Championship has a habit of crowning winners that are relatively new to the scene. I think most guys do. He has contributed to many publications over the years and co-authored the book Golf's Greatest Eighteen from Random House. There will be rounds of 73 - just like Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Jason Day shot on Sunday.

This is a deep friendship that transcends any rivalry, and Thomas was never overly bothered by the mention of being Spieth's close friend.

Woods is gearing up for the year's final major tournament.

"I only had to think about it for about a month", Woods said of the career Slam.

There remains another shadow that was even stronger at Bellerive, and Thomas fully expects that.

"It felt very familiar", Woods added.

"Blessed. Very blessed. As I was saying earlier, I didn't really know if I was going to be here or not at this level and very blessed to be here".

Kostis should know. He helped his own son, who had a similar procedure in nearly the exact same place in his lower back, make the same kind of adjustments to his swing.

Holmes was already planning to play with Thomas Wednesday, and the Kentucky duo got linked up with Koepka and Woods ahead of the first tee.

Most significantly, Woods also led the Open at Carnoustie with eight holes to play, only to double bogey the 11th and drop another shot on the next as playing partner Francesco Molinari went on to lift the Claret Jug. All that did was ratchet up the hysteria that perhaps another major is in the cards.

Now the reigning champion after winning his maiden major past year at Quail Hollow, Thomas enters the 2018 edition at Bellerive Country Club as one of the favourites.

"It will be pretty insane out there", Thomas said. I did a lot of clinics around the country and tried to raise money for the local areas and try to bring awareness... So yeah, it will be a cool week. That obviously comes out more when you are under pressure.

The U.S. team has not won a Ryder Cup on the road since 1993, when Davis Love III, now 54, made a putt at The Belfry in England to seal a U.S. victory.

Jim Furyk won't just be focused on his own score this week at the PGA Championship.

Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson and three-time major victor Jordan Spieth have enough points to all-but secure spots.

Unfortunately for the tournament's TV ratings, one of them isn't Tiger. It also keeps the PGA from colliding with the Olympics every four years, now that golf has returned to its program, and makes for a schedule that flows more naturally from one marquee event to the next.

"'I didn't believe him at first", Thorner told the Press Association, "but then I watched him log into his account and I was like, 'Holy crap'".

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