- USPGA Championship leaderboard in full.
- USPGA Championship day one tee times.
- Tiger Woods, New York crowds and underdog winners: Why it's time to get excited about the USPGA Championship.
The New Yorkers came out in their tens of thousands to glimpse the reborn Tiger, but instead the Manhattan crowd were treated to the sight of his playing partner enacting a startling impression of the Woods of yore.
Certainly, Brooks Koepka’s course-record 63 in the first round of the USPGA Championship has the rest fearing as if they are already playing for second - and golf has not felt that for a while.
The only rival within three of the leader is the New Zealander Danny Lee. The world No119 completely belied his ranking with his own spectacular 64, but with respect to Lee - who somehow conjured eight birdies - it is Koepka causing all the consternation in the locker room.
The defending champion is four ahead of England’s Tommy Fleetwood and six clear of the likes of world No 1 Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day. And that garlanded quartet stated they were delighted with their 69s. “What course was Brooks playing exactly?” Day asked.
In turn, Koepka is nine ahead of Woods and Rory McIlroy, whose 72 on a layout which supposedly plays directly in the Northern Irishman’s cultured hands, featured only one birdie - on his very last hole. What a contrast to the pacesetter, who unashamedly holed a 35-footer for a seventh birdie on his final green (the ninth).
Only five out of the first wave of 78 players broke par, but there was Koepka actually bemoaning the fact that he had failed to birdie either of Bethpage’s par-fives and had thus not fired what would have been only the second 62 in the history of the majors.
As it was, the rampant 29-year-old has to be content with becoming the first player ever to shoot two 63s in the USPGA, after emulating his second round in St Louis last year. “This is a crazy day,” Koepka said. "My putter was hot, I'm not going to lie. Seven-under is not going to happen every day, but there were those two par fives and I missed a five-footer on the 11th, so it could have been a helluva round. I just need to clean a few things up.”
Goodness knows what. After his own gallant 67, Fleetwood thought it almost impossible that anyone could escape without a bogey on the beast that is Bethpage Black. Yet that Koepka did so with the minimum of fuss made his feat that much more astonishing. Yes, there was a tricky up and down on the par-five fourth for par and a 10-footer on the sixth, but no matter how well he putted, this was largely stress-free. “That was probably the highest score Brooks could have shot today,” Woods said.
It was like hearing someone at the turn of the century talking about Tiger, himself, and although that particular comparison is never wise or even fair, if Koepka retains the Wanamaker Trophy here on Sunday night, all that mentioning-in-the-same-breath will be inevitable. It would be his fourth victory from the last eight majors he would have played and nobody has done that since - you guessed it - Woods in the period from 2006-08.
Of course, Woods won seven out of 11 from 1999-2002, so the hyperbole should have its limits, especially as this would, bizarrely, be only Koepka’s sixth PGA Tour title. Not that the ultra-laidback Koepka would care either way. He is living in the moment, as he highlighted by being utterly unfazed by the hoo-ha surrounding Woods. “It was great that Tiger won Augusta, but we're at a new week now and I’m not really concerned about what's going on out there,” Koepka said. “All I know, is that I’ve never been this confident.”
If the Koepka climax was outrageous, then so, too, was his opening. As Woods hacked his way to a six on the treacherous par-four 10th - the fourth time he has opened a major with a double-bogey or worse - Koepka hit it to 40 feet and rolled it in.
There was a 20-footer on the 14th (his fifth), a wedge from 100 yards to five feet on the 18th, another from 90 yards to three feet on the next, a 13 footer on the third, a 16 footer on the 15th, and then that fist-pumper to round it off. “I think that was the only thing that was going through my head - just make it,” Koepka said, before being asked if he believes he is intimidating to the other players. “That doesn't matter to me I’m there to do a job. It doesn't bother me what anyone else thinks.”
Naturally, Woods would never admit to a slither of subservience. The 43-year-old, himself, proved there are opportunities on this 7,406-yard, par-70 brute, with three birdies and an eagle on the fourth (his 13th), when all the memories came flashing back as he lifted his putter to acknowledge the 30-footer.
The problem was there was another double-bogey on the 17th to go with the one on the 10th and, then, after all that good work to drag himself back under par, there were three bogeys in his last five holes.
“It wasn't as clean as I'd like, that’s for sure,” Woods said, before revealing he had missed a day of practice on Wednesday because of a cold. “I got a little bit sick, so I decided to stay home.”
As well as Fleetwood, Matt Wallace put the flag of St George on the scoreboard with a 69 featuring three birdies to start, while world No 2 Justin Rose shot a 70. Level par at Bethpage would seem more than satisfactory on any other day. Yet not this one. As Koepka said - crazy.
Mickelson jars his elbow
As he plays his second shot out of the rough at 18. He sends it into the bunker and gives his arm a flap. McIlroy finally sinks a birdie putt on 18 and walks off smiling. He signs for 72 which is nine strokes behind Koepka but merely four behind fourth. Mickelson gets up and down for par and goes in at -1 as does the third member of the group, Jason Day.
Some yo-yoing for Kim
A birdie on the sixth (his 15th hole) propelled him up to -3 and a share of third with Tommy Fleetwood but he then bogeyed seven after driving into the rough down the left. He joins Pat Perez, who finished with a birdie on 18, on -2. McIlroy misses a birdie putt again at 17 but gives himself a fighting chance of breaking his duck at 18 with a super second to 5ft.
Big recovery from Spieth
After the trouble on 10 with the double bogey, he has birdied 16 and 18, the latter with a 20ft putt, to finish the first round in the red at -1. As does his playing partner Dustin Johnson. Jon Rahm can't join them, sliding his birdie effort by. He will sign for a 70. Two holes back McIlroy misses another presentable chance for his first birdie of the day as it grazes the left edge of the cup and stays up. He keeps giving himself chances with his driver and irons and fluffing them with his flat-iron.
Pat Perez falls back
King of the mullet drops a stroke at the beastly 15th after zig-zagging down the course from left to right. Tony Finau joins Paul Casey in signing for a 70 which, given the conditions, should be seen as a fine score. Hardly their fault that it might not be competitive given Koepka's surge and the advance of Danny Lee.
Still no joy for McIlroy
Another birdie attempt by Rory McIlroy at the gargantuan 608-yard 13th flirts with the edge of the cup but refuses to flop into it. It's been quite the tale of resilience from him today, to put up with the repeated frustrations. Still on +2. His Ryder Cup comrade Paul Casey undoes all the damage of that seven with a birdie on 18 to go into the second round on level-par.
Danny Lee finishes with successive birdies
And signs for a magnificent 64, one stroke behind Koepka. There was some talk today that Koepka's was the finest opening round in a major in decades given the toughness of the set-up yet Lee deserves something approaching the same acclaim given the wind was up for the last half of his round on that freakishly hard run from 10-15.
Danny Lee picks up his dropped shot
Rolling in the birdie putt at 17 and sending his tee shot at the last straight up the middle. Gary Woodland, who went round the front nine in a three-under 32, has dropped all those gains with a double bogey at the fourth when his second shot burst the green and a bogey at the par-three 14th when he needed three putts to make 50 feet from his tee shot to the fringe of the green.
McIlroy cannot match his partners
Birdies for Jason Day and Phil Mickelson at the 11th to go to +1 and level respectively. McIlroy, who has no red on his card at all today, misses his attempt and hotfoots it in frustration, jangling his legs. Danny Lee has given himself a superb chance of reclaiming that dropped stroke at 17 with a glorious 200-yard precision dart off the tee. He'll have 5ft to go back to -5.
Casey bounces back
With a birdie at the par three 14th. Apologies for originally recording that as a triple bogey eight. I was confused by the official leaderboard which originally had it as such with a penalty drop but has since corrected it to a double-bogey seven with 'a drop in native area'.
Danny Lee has dropped his first stroke since the fifth hole up on 15, the hardest hole on the course. It's a 484 yard par four and his drive was flayed into a 'native area' of the deep filth down the right.
Jordan Spieth undoes all his progress
A wild tee shot to the 10th, hooking it into the horrible jungle down the left, results in a double bogey six which pushes him down to even-par. Back on the ninth McIlroy scrambles to make par after the bogey on eight. He looks horribly out of sorts. He is battling hard but having to fight himself as well as this brute of a course. Bad mistake from Paul Casey at the par-five 13th is going to prove costly. Bogeys at seven and nine wiped out his earlier birdies but he and his caddie made an error over his club and strategy with his third stroke that cost him a penalty at the 13th where he had to drop and it rattled him. And then his putt for a bogey six horseshoes out and his slide to +2 is complete
Dustin Johnson sweeps in a 30-footer for birdie at the ninth to claw his way back to level par. His playing partner Jordan Spieth has about 18ft but it breaks left too early. He taps in for par and heads to the back nine on -2, tied for fifth with Messrs Lorenzo-Vera, Reavie, List and Spieth.
The wind is getting up
Danny Lee yet again gives himself a birdie chance with an excellent second to the 515-yard par for 12th. Once more the lack of pace in the green thwarts him but he moves on still at -4. Spieth makes par at the par-three eight. Phil Mickelson drops his first stroke of the day at the seventh to fall back to +1. His round is a mirror of McIlroy's, who bogeyed the first, and racked up six straight pars. Going round in 70 would be a fair return today. Forget about Koepka and try to get the big E.
Par-saver for Spieth
The man chasing history and a slam of majors hangs tough to roll in his six-footer at the 7th. Keeps his card clear of blue. Danny Lee had a decent chance for birdie on 11 after a sensational second shot. His path to the hole breaks left to right but he overcompensates and it turns too early. On to the 12th still on -4.
Danny Lee joins Fleetwood
The Kiwi, in keeping with the temperament required to accept the inevitability of bogeys on Bethpage Black as an occupational hazard (unless your name is Kopeka), bounces straight back from dropping a stroke on the fourth with birdies on six, eight and nine to move up to -3.
Gary Woodland has made birdies on the first and fourth to join Paul Casey on -2. Jordan Spieth tickles in his birdie putt on the par five fifth to go up to -1. Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy both make pars at the pat-three third but Jason Day's putt hits something, a spike mark maybe, and stays out. McIlroy is on +1, Mickelson level and Day also on +1.
Paul Casey off to a flyer
The Englishman, who missed the cut in the US PGA in 2018, has birdied the second and the fourth (he's playing the course the orthodox way). He is in a tie for third along with Mike Lorenzo-Vera, Tony Finau, Chez Reavie and Luke List who double-bogeyed 17 and birdied 18. It's a brute of a set-up on the Black Course.
Meanwhile McIlroy begins his round and is struggling, leaving himself a tricky 12-footer for par.
Justin Rose wobbles
Four birdies and four bogeys on this hellishly difficult course. He is on even par with one to play.
Meanwhile at the par four 15th, Luke List has missed an uphill 5ft putt for par and slips back to -3, tied for second with Tommy Fleetwood who has just been interviewed and said if you miss the fairway you have to accept it's going to be very difficult to avoid a bogey.
A twitch on the thread from Matt Wallace
Hillingdon's finest, who made four birdies in his first six holes and three bogeys in the next five, has birdied the 12th to move back up to -2 and sole ownership of fourth-place.
Back with the featured groups, Woods had a monster for birdie at the par-four 5th. The New York crowd tried to shout it into the hole but it slid past. Koepka has a 12-footer and sweeps it into the cup. The birdie extends his lead to three strokes at -6 while Molinari cannot scramble par and drops a shot. He's on +1.
And Woods, to the dismay of the gallery and the commentators, three-putts to bohey, his par effort horseshoeing out from 6ft.
Eagle for Woods
Koepka has a poor lie and cannot get his third stroke on to the green. He chips his fourth about 6ft to the right of the hole and he should save par. Molinari is on in four and has a very tricky 15ft for par but before he can take it, Woods rattles in his 35ft for eagle! Woods goes to -1 and a tie for fifth. Remarkable, give double-bogeys at 10 and 17.
Molinari who zigzagged up the hole, never finding the fairway, sinks his awkward par-saver and so does Koepka from closer in.
Molinari in trouble
Molinari is in the fairway bunker from the tee at the fourth (his 13th) and thins his wedge out of it. The ball hits the lip of the bunker and plonks on to the fairway about 20 yards away with a long, long way to go. Koepka is in deep rough about 190 yards from the hole. Woods is on the fairway and get on to the green in two, giving himself about 40ft for eagle.
If it feels this is all too Woods centric, I do sympathise. We only have featured groups coverage until 6pm and then the contract the US PGA has made with the broadcaster allows them to show everyone. And American networks ensure Woods is always in the principal featured group.
Koepka pitches out of the rough and about 25 yards short of the green.
Koepka races away
Luke List, a 33-year-old Vanderbilt graduate, has made his fourth birdied of the day at the ninth to move up to a tie for second place with Fleetwood on -3.
Molinari is above the pin and pushes it down the hill from about 14ft. It slides by on the right and trickles 4ft past. Koepka drills his birdie putt into the heart of the cup from 11ft to extend his lead on -5. Last up is Woods from 8ft who misreads the break and speed and it dies to the left. Par for Woods and Molinari.
Woods makes back-to-back birdies
Good afternoon. Sky is stuck with the leading groups for a while longer so chances of catching up with some of the Englishmen towards the top of the leaderboard are slim right now. Still, we have the pleasure of watching the Open champion, Francesco Molinari and the defending champion, Brooks Koepka, who is playing like a dream. Woods is in this group, too, and has made the best approach to the 2nd, leaving him maybe 5ft for birdie. Molinari is close to the pin but off the green and Koepka has about 10ft for birdie. The ball should break to the right.
If he sinks this he will go to -5, but he pushes it to the left of the cup and rolls a tiddler in for par. Woods nails back-to-back birdies to move up to +1 and Molinari sweeps in his par-putt to stay on level.
Fleetwood and Koepka are tied for the lead on 4-under.
Koepka looking ominously good
Woods might not be too bad for line, but he is in the rough so will have no control of distance. He gets a nice break however, and his second bounces off the bank on the right side of the green and feeds down to the hole. Less than 20 feet for birdie coming up.
That's outrageous from Koepka...a Houdini act from the right trees for a kick-in birdie. The defending champ now leads on his won.
Good news for Woods fans, could this be the moment that gives him some mojo? Takes advantage off the kind bounce by rolling his birdie putt right into the heart.
Back to two-over and the grind continues.
That's all from me, I shall leave you with Rob Bagchi for the evening session.
Possible trouble for Koepka at the first
The first is a very gentle par-four that meanders from left to right. That's a dreadful slice from Koepka that sails way too far right and could be blocked out. Woods also tries to cut the corner, and some shoddy camera work means it's not clear whether it made the full carry. If not he may have tree trouble.
Koepka now tied for the lead
A little too firm on the line he chose from Woods, and he will settle for par at the 18th. That's a three-over par 'front' nine of 38 and he needs something under par coming home.
Molinari makes his second birdie to three holes to get back to level par, and Koepka drains his putt too and the defending champion is tied for the lead at three-under with Fleetwood and Wallace.
Everyone in good shape at the 18th
Chance of a bounce back for Woods, who sends a nine iron over the flag and 18 and will have 15 feet for birdie coming back. Looked like he was between nine and wedge, and swung easy with the longer club so it had a little less spin on it. Molinari in there close too.
Koepka did swing hard with some kind of wedge, and he consequently gets more spin. Rips back past the hole and he will have less than feet up hill for birdie.
To the 18th
Right down the pipe at the 18th from Woods and Koepka, but you have to say it's the latter who looks the stronger contender for the Wanamaker Trophy. Matt Wallace now all alone at four-under and he leads by two. The Englishman is not afraid to win, and not afraid to let people know about it either.
Woods tumbles back down the board
Woods' tee shot ended up in a horrible spot, half-buried in the face of the bunker and the ball races through to the back of the green. Looking like his first dropped shot since the 10th.
And it could be worse than that as Woods races his return putt a good 10 feet past. And he pushed the bogey putt past and that's the second big mistake of the day...double bogey five drops back to two-over.
Englishmen in New York are going well
Wonderfully executed pitch from Woods who has just a couple of feet left to save par. That scared the hole on the way past.
Three Englishman at the top of the leaderboard now...Hatton, Fleetwood and Wallace.
Confidently done by Woods and that is a good escape at the 16th. Birdie for Molinari and par for Koepka.
Tiger unable to reach the green from rough
That's more like it from Molinari who fires an iron shot to within a few feet at the 16th...looking like a bounce back birdie for the Italian.
What can Tiger do from the rough? Pounds down on it, and it comes out low and running...gets it in the mouth of the green and will have a 40 yard pitch coming up to save par. Test of short game coming up.
Vintage Tiger there
Best shot of the day from Woods, who drills an iron from more than 200 yards with a touch of draw, knowing the contours of Bethpage will sweep his ball from the left edge back towards the hole. Will have a slippery 15 foot putt down the hill for birdie.
Koepka gouges one out into the middle of the green, a superb recover from where he was.
Fairway found for Woods at 15
A rare mistake from Koepka who allows his drive at the tough 15th to get away to the right. This green sits a good 40 feet above the player so it's so important to find the fairway and create some spin with the second.
Short stuff for Molinari, and nicely done too by Woods who finds the right side of the fairway. He is definetly warming to his task.
Koepka moving again...
This is turning out to be more stressful than it needs to be. Woods runs his first putt up the hill and a good four feet or so past.
Another tram-liner from Koepka finds the bottom of the cup and he joins the leaders at two-under! His name casts a shadow over the leaderboard at major championships. Better news too for Molinari, who rolls in his first birdie of the day to get back to one-over.
Woods holds his nerve, and rolls in the return putt to stay at two-over. If he could reach the turn at that score it would be more than acceptable after a double-bogey start. Holes 1 thru 4 are arguably the easiest stretch on the course.
All aboard at 14
Right on line from Koepka at the short 14th, but it does not quite make it all the way back to the shelf where the hole is located.
Woods up next...likewise, that iron shot looked fantastic in the air but just lacked a couple of yards of carry. Middle of the dance floor and no harm done.
Molinari had the advantage of going third there, and he does get the ball all the way back there. About 10 feet coming up for birdie for the Champion Golfer of the Year.
Fives all round
Another mid-judged wedge shot by Tiger Woods that flies through the back of the 13th green. That looks the department of his game short of sharpness in the early stages.
Plays a nice pitch from the rough though, and it trickles down to within a couple of feet. All pars at the 13th for Woods, Koepka and Molinari and they move on to their first par-three.
Charley Hoffman and Matt Wallace the only two players at two-under.
Fine drive by Woods
Koepka's drive at the par-five finds sand left. Not sure it matters too much because this 600-yard five is out of range in two anyway, even for him.
Nice swing from Woods, as another driver finds the short stuff. The last two drives will be confidence builders. Apart from that air-mailed wedge at the 10th, Woods hasn't actually done much wrong so far no matter what his score suggests.
Two pars and a bogey for Woods
Beautiful lag putt by Woods...that part of his game looks sharp and he seems to have the pace of these greens down. That's back-to-back pars with a par five to come next.
Molinari can only two-putt and he drops to +2 alongside Woods after three holes. Two putts as well for Keopka who backs up his birdie at 10 with consecutive pars.
Woods settling down
Very solid shot from Woods, a raking long iron that finds the heart of the green. Odds-on a two putt par from there. Koepka had 191 yards in, and he also finds the green. You take four fours at this hole and run this week.
Molinari had to chop out, a familiar theme thus far, but his wedged third is still more than 30 feet away. That for an unlikely par.
The advantage of extra distance
Koepka cuts the corner with a smoking drive but Molinari takes a similarly aggressive line and does not have the distance to carry the dog-leg. Clears the bunker but settles down in the rough.
Conservative shot shape from Woods, assuming it was out of choice and not a mis-cue. Doesn't try and draw the ball with the shape of the hole - a high fade finds the fairway but it will be a long-ish iron in from there. Koepka might have a seven or eight iron in his hands.
No change as we head to the 12th
Very good try from range by Tiger, as he scares the hole from 40 feet or so. The greens at Bethpage are very flat, so the mediocre putters out there can mount a challenge unlike, say, Augusta or Oakmont.
Surprise, surprise...Koepka pulls his birdie putt left so that's a chance gone. Still a very good start, mind. Par for Molinari and so too for Woods who need that to limit the damage.
Brooks looking imperious
Middle of the green from Woods at 11, neither disastrous nor great. Will have 35 to 40 feet for a birdie, or more likely two for a par.
Molinari in closer, around 12-15 feet for birdie, but what what an impressive start by Koepka who fires one in half as close again from 134 yards. A short putt coming up to go -2 thru two holes.
To the 11th
Another sensational drive down the 11th by Koepka, and Molinari follows him by finding the cut and prepared.
Interesting that Woods reaches straight for the three-wood, and that's a lovely shot. A tight draw that finds the fairway and gets him up and running. The 12th is a longer four though, so he will need to pull driver again soon.
Woods double-bogeys the 10th (his first)
While Molinari and Woods struggle, what a start for Koepka. Missed the green with his approach but holes a long-range putt from the fringe to birdie his first hole of the week. Formidable stuff.
Bogey five for Molinari. Woods chipped down to about five or six feet...and leaves the putt out to the right. That's a double-bogey six to start, and he needs a few pars to settle down.
Tricky start for Woods
This is a very rocky start for all concerned. This 10th green is one of many at Bethpage that is raised above the player with a bowl of thick rough in front - running the ball in is just not an option.
Woods tries to flight down his wedge but it flies too far. He now needs to get up and down to save bogey.
This rough look very penal
Molinari found his tee shot in the sand fortunately, but can only lay up into the fairway to leave a wedge in.
My word...if this is not a demonstration of the importance of finding the fairways. Woods was only three yards from the fairway and had 201 yards in, but he decided to just wedge down the fairway. Up and down for par from around 80 yards of so.
Woods off and running
Quite the wait on this 10th tee, but Koepka splits the fairway with a glorious drive. Very uncharacteristic start from Molinari, who perhaps digs deep for a little extra distance and hooks his drive into the junk left.
Woods up finally...a big high cut that starts down the left flank but may have just curved too much. Jumps into the first cut of rough, and much will depend on the lie. He didn't look too unhappy with it.
Molinari plays a provisional, and as is the way with provisionals it's dead straight.
WHY DIDN'T I DO THAT THE FIRST TIME?! Every golfer has said it.
Woods and Molinari meet again
An interesting sub-plot is Woods and Francesco Molinari are paired together again for the third major in a row. Molinari prevailed at the Open at Carnoustie, with Woods getting the better of him and the field at Augusta.
If Woods gets it going, it could be difficult to partner him due to the noise and movement of the crowd. Oh, and three-time major champion Brooks Koepka is also in the group.
Bogey for Tommy
Tommy Fleetwood has bogeyed the difficult 10th to start his week. There will be plenty of those between now and Sunday evening, the key to challenging will be keeping the real big numbers off your card.
Nice start from JJ Spaun (one hopes his nickname is Frog). He is two-under thru four and the tournament leader at this ridiculously early stage. It's a bit like looking at the Premier League table in August.
Can I start again please?
A disastrous beginning for Belgian Thomas Pieters with a triple-bogey seven at the 10th, his first, followed by a bogey at the 11th. That's four shots gone like confetti in the wind.
Pieters hits the ball a country mile and is well-fancied before many of these big events, but he has not got close to harnessing his talent yet. Not sure he has the full package between his ears, to be quite honest.
You might be able to guess who is at the course...
Tiger is here, wearing a blue jumper on a cool morning in Long Island. I did see him hitting a few putts on the practice green a while ago, but I imagine he is now making his way to the driving range to warm up. Woods always finishes his warm up with the club he plans to use of the first tee, and looking at that 10th it will need to be driver.
After an extended break, the first round could prove the most difficult of the week for him, and he can be a jumpy starter at the best of times. Anything under-par today and Woods is in business, I reckon. He should get better as the week goes on.
Why the two-tee start?
Starting off the first and the 10th can be a little confusing, but it's just for pace of play and to get everyone around before darkness falls. If you see a player with an asterisk next to their name, that means they are starting their round on the 10th.
At Bethpage, that is a far sterner starting a hole than the first. The 10th is a par-four that stretches out to just over 500 yards, so there's no easing into that round.
The best of the early tee times
Here are some of the groups we will be keeping an eye on this afternoon.
Off the 1st:
- 1240 - Vijay Singh, Fiji; Jason Dufner, United States; Jimmy Walker, United States.
- 1251 - Graeme McDowell, Northern Ireland; Chez Reavie, United States; Brendan Jones, Australia.
- 1302 - Tyrrell Hatton, England; Russell Knox, Scotland; Haotong Li, China.
- 1313 - Lee Westwood, England; Shaun Norris, South Africa; Charles Howell III, United States.
- 1324 - J.B. Holmes, United States; Lucas Bjerregaard, Denmark; Troy Merritt, United States.
Off the 10th:
- 1229 - Shane Lowry, Ireland; Erik Van Rooyen, South Africa; Tommy Fleetwood, England.
- 1240 - Sergio Garcia, Spain; Kelly Kraft, United States; Adam Scott, Australia.
- 1251 - Charley Hoffman, United States; Louis Oosthuizen, South Africa; Patrick Reed, United States.
- 1302 - Rickie Fowler, United States; Bubba Watson, United States; Justin Rose, England.
- 1313 - Xander Schauffele, United States; Hideki Matsuyama, Japan; Alex Noren, Sweden.
- 1324 - Brooks Koepka, United States; Francesco Molinari, Italy; Tiger Woods, United States.
Stick marginal gains in your pipe and smoke it
John Daly favours Rothman's over resistance bands. Daly is using a buggy this week - or golf cart as they say in the States - because of osteoarthritis.
The Wild Thing's 1991 victory at Crooked Stick was arguably the best storyline in the tournament's history. Daly was a reserve and would not have played without a couple of withdrawals, and his bleach blonde hair and prodigious distance wowed fans.
A great talent, although sadly a wasted one. Divorce, alcoholism, obesity, gastric surgery, losing millions of dollars on Las Vegas slot machines...you name it, JD has been through it. And yes, Jack Daniel's was aptly his drink of choice.
Not for the faint hearted...
Here is the famous sign that greets players on the first tee at Bethpage Black. It's not uncommon for some of the tougher championship courses to impose a maximum handicap, even in the UK, but few have a 'hackers go home' notice board. At more than 7,400 yards off the back tees, you can see its purpose though.
Tiger Woods the pick of the early starters
We're in a New York state of mind for the next four days as the second major of the golf season - the USPGA Championship - tees off at Bethpage State Park, Long Island.
Scene of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel The Great Gatsby, this affluent stretch of land to the east of Manhattan is also home to some of the most revered golf courses in north America, none finer than A.W Tillinghast's Black Course that hosts this week's championship.
A certain Tiger Woods has his yacht Privacy docked in the Hamptons, and resumed forward momentum in his lifelong quest to better Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major championships with an unforgettable win at the Masters in April.
The boisterous New York crowds will whip themselves into a frenzy should Woods play his way into contention again, but he may have his work cut out. The great man has not played competitively since Augusta, and Bethpage Black will play a long slog with cool temperatures and fairways softened by rain. The US Open and Open Championships this summer look more presentable chances for Woods to add to his tally.
Dustin Johnson has just one major on his resume, which feels short change for such a preternaturally talented athlete. This stiff test of driving should be right up his alley, and Johnson is also prolific on the divisive Poa annua putting surfaces that are in play this week. Poa annua greens, which tend to get bumpy with lots of traffic on them, will also be a feature at the US Open at Pebble Beach where Johnson is a course specialist.
There is more of a hint of Congressional, where Rory McIlroy won his first major at the 2011 US Open, about Bethpage in these conditions. McIlroy should relish a soft course where he can throw his towering iron shots at the flags like darts. Consummate closer of majors Brooks Koepka also leads the betting and could well be the man to beat.
Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele have been knocking at the door of a first major championship, while Justin Rose and Tommy Fleetwood are back in form and leading the English challenge.
As Rich Beem, Shaun Micheel, Keegan Bradley and Y.E Yang will attest though, the PGA has a history of throwing up unlikely winners so we could well see an unfamiliar face lift the Wanamaker Trophy come Sunday.
Host of the 2002 and 2009 US Open, the real star this week should be the course. Bethpage Black is a handsome brute and feast for the eyes, demanding straight driving and immaculate distance control with the irons.