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Claxton, Summerhays, Owen lead in Mexico

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By Seth Kerr

GolfWRX Staff Writer

Three are tied atop the lead at the Mayakoba Golf Classic. Will Claxton continued his sold play in the second round with a 68 to remain in front with Daniel Summerhays and Greg Owen.

Greg Norman failed to make the cut, following his first-round 79 with a second-round 73. Defending champion Johnson Wagner is at 1-over after a second-round 70.

Robert Allenby sits two back of the lead at 6-under. Allenby is looking for his first victory on the PGA Tour since 2001 when he won at the Nissan Open and Marconi Pennsylvania Classic.

Vaughn Taylor had the second double eagle (Joseph Bramlett at Spyglass Hill Golf Course was the first) of the year on the par-five 7th hole. Taylor hit a 5 wood from 263 yards into the cup for the first double eagle in the history of the Mayakoba Classic.

Incredibly, there were no bogey-free rounds in the windy conditions on Friday.

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Seth is an avid golfer playing year round in Florida.

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Five Things We Learned: Thursday at the PGA Championship

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It was a year ago that we the north, found ourselves with toes and fingers crossed. The Oak Hill PGA Championship of 2023 finished on schedule, despite the iffiness of weather in upstate New York. It’s 75 degrees today across the Niagara Frontier, which makes it two out of three (2022 was the same way) for sultry, unseasonal weather.

Louisville is, let’s be honest, a much better bet for a May PGA Championship, and Valhalla is an exciting venue for the year’s second major championship on the men’s circuit. Brooks Koepka came in as the defending champion, and Rory McIlroy arrived as the last golfer to win a major at the Nicklaus-designed course. That was a decade ago, and lord, have things changed in the world and golf.

Day one at Valhalla offered walk-in eagles, buckets of birdies, and potential for a record-low, winner’s score. We’ll get right to the meat of the matter, with five things that we learned. After all, if you can make par from the muck, anything’s possible in the land of the horses.

1. X marks this spot

Xander Schauffele went head to head last Sunday with Rory McIlroy, at least on the practice green. By the end of the round, Rors had won for a fourth time at Charlotte, while the X Man sat scratching his head, wondering what went wrong. Fortunately for us, Xander didn’t sulk.

The San Diego State alumnus absolutely torched Jack’s track with 62. Four birdies on the front nine, were followed by five more on the inward side. Schauffele never looked as if bogey was a consideration, and he might have gone even lower. Despite winning the Covid-delayed Gold medal at the Japan Olympics (I consider it a major, btdubs) Schauffele continues to chase an initial men’s major, and the validation that it brings. If 62 doesn’t get you over the hump, who knows what will.

2. Scottie starts strong? Aye.

Last month, Mr. Scheffler won a second green jacket at Augusta National. Last year in Rochester, Mr. Scheffler tied for second in this event. Mr. Scheffler began play today with a walk-in eagle, a one-hop affair that never looked as if it might go anywhere but to its home. Scheffler had a few rough holes, but that’s to be expected from a new dad. Each time he made bogey, he bounced back with birdie, so he has that short memory that winners crave. Surprisingly, Scheffler failed to manage one last birdie at the reachable 18th. Perhaps that miss will motivate him in round two.

3. LIV Check-In

It’s good to check in on the departed from time to time, to ensure that the fellows formerly known as PGA Tour members are doing well. It’s safe to say that some of them can still play. Defending champion Brooks Koepka posted 67 on the day, He had an eagle and three birdies on the day, with only a stumble at the 17th. He’s tied for 7th. Bryson DeChambeau made an eagle of his own, but also had a bogey, at the 12th hole. He cohabits eleventh position with Cameron Smith, who ALSO had a bogey on his card. They are one shot behind Koepka, and a fistful more behind the leader.

4. Sahith and Tony at Schauffele’s heels

Both Finau and Theegala represent a special sort of athletic golfer. Their power and their charisma blend to draw golf fans to their groups. Let’s be honest, too, and say that they don’t look like the traditional professional golfer. As much as Tiger Woods did in the 1990s, they have the power to bring greater diversity to the sport.

In terms of their play today, well, only Xander was better. Finau had a clean card, with six birdies and twelve pars. Theegala had seven birdies, ten pars, and one bogey. Each combined power and finesse to insert themselves squarely in contention, ahead of round two. How will they, and Xander as well, manage the afternoon putting surface on Friday? That’s the great unknown!

5. All those other guys are here!

Rory, Tom Kim, Collin, and Viktor are all at minus-three or lower. Valhalla may not be a traditional golf course, but it is the type of course that the world’s best play well. McIlroy currently sits at minus-five, tied with Robert MacIntyre, Kim, and three others in fourth position.  Maverick McNealy finished fast to reach the same figure, as did Tom Hoge. Morikawa closed with birdie to join the sextet at five below. Both Scheffler and Morikawa finished their rounds late on Thursday, meaning they should see smoother greens on Friday morning. If someone is a betting sould, wiser wagers could not be placed on better names than those two, two-time, major champions. Rory will tee off in Friday’s afternoon wave but, hey, he’s Rory, and he won going away last week at Quail Hollow, a course not unlike Valhalla.

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Morning 9: Tiger 2025 Ryder Cup talks continue | Rory: Tour in a worse place with Dunne’s resignation

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

For comments: [email protected]

Good Thursday morning, golf fans, as day one of the PGA Championship gets underway from iconic Valhalla.

1. Waugh: 2025 Ryder Cup talks continue with Tiger

Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner…”PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh said Wednesday that the organization continues to have conversations with Tiger Woods about captaining the U.S. Ryder Cup team in 2025 and there remains no firm deadline to get their pick in place for Bethpage Black.”

  • “A day earlier, Woods told reporters here at the PGA Championship that he is undecided about taking on the role next year…”
  • “He doesn’t do anything that he’s not fully committed to,” Waugh said, “and we totally respect that.”
  • “Still, the PGA’s decision to hold off on naming an American captain for the September 2025 matches is a significant departure – at least three months late – from the past five captains.”
Full piece.

2. Rory: Tour in a worse place with Dunne’s resignation

Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”McIlroy, who has become an outspoken proponent of a deal with PIF, was denied a spot on the board last week but was named to the “transaction subcommittee,” which will spearhead the day-to-day negotiations. But the loss of Dunne will be a blow to those talks, the world No. 2 said.”

  • “Honestly I think it’s a huge loss for the PGA Tour if they are trying to get this deal done with the PIF and trying to unify the game,” McIlroy said. “Jimmy was basically the relationship, the sort of conduit between the PGA Tour and PIF.
  • “It’s been really unfortunate that he has not been involved for the last few months, and I think part of the reason that everything is stalling at the minute is because of that.”
Full piece.

3. Brandel on AK’s criticism: I thought it was a LIV bot

Our Matt Vincenzi…”On Tuesday during an interview with GolfWRX, Chamblee addressed the feud between Kim and himself.”

  • “At first, I thought it was a bot. But it’s not, it was just somebody who’s been bought.
  • “I thought it was juvenile. Social media is a perfect place for juveniles to go behave like children, like the ball pit at McDonalds without adult supervision. I’m sure Anthony Kim scrolls and gets positive comments and says ‘yeah, these people get me! I’m doing the right thing’. And it’s just juvenile and sad is what it is. I feel sorry for him.”
Full piece.

4. Aberg (knee) ready for PGA

Cameron Morfit for PGATour.com…”Ludvig Åberg said lingering knee soreness that kept him out of the Wells Fargo Championship last week will not be an issue at this week’s PGA Championship.”

  • “The world No. 6 Åberg, who finished second at the Masters Tournament in his very first major start last month, allowed that he is wearing a brace as a precautionary measure.”
  • “Knee’s good,” said Åberg, 24. “It was more of a safety concern last week that I didn’t play. I’m consulting with my doctors, and I trust them with everything that I have, so it’s not bothering me at all this week, and I look forward to playing. I’m wearing a brace just for safety reasons, but it’s nothing that’s bothering me. I’m focusing on the golf.”
Full piece.

5. Masters employee pleads guilty to stealing millions in memorabilia

Sean Leahy for Yahoo Sports…”A former employee of Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia pleaded guilty on Wednesday to transporting millions of dollars worth of stolen Masters memorabilia and historic items, including a green jacket belonging to Arnold Palmer.”

  • “According to federal prosecutors, 39-year-old Richard Globensky made around $5 million over the course of a decade from selling items stolen from the Augusta National warehouse, which were then transported to another party in Florida.”
  • “Globensky pleaded guilty to one count of transporting stolen goods across state lines. As part of his plea, he must hand the government a $1.5 million check this week.”
Full piece.

6. Chamblee on why Rory hasn’t won a major

Our Matt Vincenzi…”While speaking with GolfWRX, Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee gave his opinion as to why McIlroy has come up empty.”

  • “I just think he can’t find a place mentally where he plays his best golf.”
  • “If you go back and look at what he did from 2011-2014, in that stretch, he led roughly 20% of the rounds he played in major championships. His game has not fallen off, not one bit.
  • “He’s, on paper, pretty much the same player he was. He’s not quite the ball striker he was 2011-2014, not quite, but he’s made up for it with his short game around the greens and on the greens. He’s almost the same player.”
  • “Yet, he’s led just two rounds beginning with the 2015 Masters to the 2024 Masters. I just think that tells you he can’t find the proper way to prepare, the proper way to ease into a round. When he’s needed to play his best, he’s played his worst. When he’s played his worst, he’s then followed it up with his best golf. That’ll tell you that he’s just not in the right place mentally.”
Full piece.

7. Why Scottie’s caddie will have a fill-in Saturday

Paul Hodowanic for PGATour.com…”Scottie Scheffler will have a fill-in caddie on the bag for Saturday’s third round of the PGA Championship.”

  • “Ted Scott, Scheffler’s full-time caddie, will miss Saturday’s round at Valhalla Golf Club to attend his daughter’s high school graduation. Scott will leave Friday night after caddying the first two rounds and return late Saturday to loop the final round.”
  • “That’s something we talked about from the beginning of our relationship was family always comes first,” Scheffler said during his pre-tournament press conference on Tuesday. “It’s the same thing for me as it is for my caddie. It was a pretty easy decision. He told me at the beginning of this year that that was the date.”
Full piece.

8. Chamblee: LIV format makes it impossible to judge player talent

Our Matt Vincenzi…”While speaking with GolfWRX, Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee explained why he believes the LIV format makes it impossible to determine if a LIV player is playing well.”

  • “Describing the format as “stupid”, Chamblee stated
  • “The format for LIV is just stupid. There’s no other word for it. 54 holes, 54 players start. Willy nilly here and there.
  • “Nobody winning a golf tournament should finish on the third hole on some par three while his closest competitors finish on the 17th hole or the 18th hole.”
  • “When we asked Brandel if LIV players should be in majors, Chamblee indicated that it would be tough to do with no way to truly measure their performance.
  • “It’s just a laughable concept. There’s no way to judge the talents of these players out there. You look at their data, and again, their data is laughable. It’s very hard to hit 75% of your greens and it looks like everybody on their tour is hitting 75% of greens. Who’s keeping their stats? Who’s doing their data? They haven’t gotten their act together.”
Full piece.

9. Photos from the 2024 PGA Championship

  • Check out all of our galleries from the year’s second major!
Full piece.
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Tour Photo Galleries

Photos from the 2024 PGA Championship

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GolfWRX is on site this week at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, for the PGA Championship.

While we see fewer equipment changes and new gear seeding at major championships, we get a look at custom gear and looks into the bags of players we rarely see, which is just as exciting. In the case of the PGA Championship, this means a look at the gear some of the PGA Professionals who qualified for the tournament will be gaming, and LIV players, such as Jon Rahm and Patrick Reed.

Check out links to all our albums from Valhalla below and check back throughout the week as we continue to update.

General Albums

WITB Albums

Pullout Albums

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