This Week in Golf: Will Rory’s stars be aligned for him to win a long-overdue fifth Major at the USPGA?

It was in Valhalla back in 2014 when the World No 2 last sampled winning one of golf’s coveted events

By Nick Tarratt, Khaleej Times Guest Golf Writer

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Rory McIlroy won a record-breaking fourth Hero Dubai Desert Classic earlier this year. - Instagram
Rory McIlroy won a record-breaking fourth Hero Dubai Desert Classic earlier this year. - Instagram

Published: Tue 14 May 2024, 6:05 PM

Last updated: Tue 14 May 2024, 6:46 PM

All eyes this week will be on the 106th edition of the USPGA Championship at Valhalla, Kentucky US, the second men’s Major of 2024.

Some golf fans are getting used to its May calendar date but some, including myself, feel that having all four Majors in a global sport all over by July of each year – is somewhat disappointing. But we all know the reasons why – golf calendar congestion. Traditionally it used to be styled as the ‘Glory’s Last Shot.’


Rory McIlroy must be one of the favourites this week, having just won on the PGA Tour at the Wells Fargo Championship by five clear shots and for the fourth time as well. He also won the 2014 USPGA Championship on the same course at Valhalla.

Maybe, after such a long time – the stars are aligned for his fifth career Major after that win.


The 2024 PGA Championship takes place at Valhalla this week. - Instagram
The 2024 PGA Championship takes place at Valhalla this week. - Instagram

His confidence must be sky high and Rory is one who always performs at his best when his confidence is high.

He won at Emirates Golf Club at the HERO Dubai Desert Classic not long ago in January and is a solid number two in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) and fourth in the FedEx Cup standings.

In the 2014 USPGA Championship McIlroy shot rounds of 66, 67, 67 and 68 for a 72-hole total of 268 - 16 under par to take the title by one shot from Phil Mickelson and take the $1.8 million first prize cheque.

Rory said of his form going into this week’s Major: “I’ve sort of been banging on this drum for the last few years – but I am a way better player now than I was back then.

“I haven’t had a Major record to back that up, but I’ve had the wins – I’ve done everything there is to do in the game since 2014. “The only thing I need to do is get another Major. You know, a win like this going into the USPGA Championship ….. is a good way to prep for that,” he added.

Dubai-based Adrian Meronk, now playing on the LIV Golf Tour, has an important week as he strives to gain some much-needed OWGR points – as he now stands 65th in the OWGR having been a career-high 39th as recently as January 2024.

Dubai-based Tommy Fleetwood will also be playing at Valhalla. - Instagram
Dubai-based Tommy Fleetwood will also be playing at Valhalla. - Instagram

Another Dubai resident Tommy Fleetwood, now 11th in the World Ranking is surely overdue a Major win – having finished a strong tied third at The Masters last month.

The dominant player in men’s golf so far this year, Scottie Scheffler, is returning to golf after becoming a father last week. It would be no surprise to see Scheffler and McIlroy competing on the back nine on Sunday – for the Wanamaker Trophy. Oh! We must not forget defending champion Brooks Koepka. It should be worth the watch.

The LPGA is hosting the Mizuho Americas Open at Liberty National Golf Club, New York.

A field of 120 LPGA professionals will compete alongside 24 top-ranked junior girls on the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) Tour – with tournament host Michelle Wie.

Aligned with the tournament is the inaugural Mizuho DrivHER Summit. Mizuho Americas, is part of Mizuho Financial Group (NYSE: MFG) and one of the largest financial institutions in the world – with the Summit being developed in conjunction with Girls Inc. and will take place on May 15th, 2024, at the tournament.

Featured speakers will include Wie, Mollie Marcoux Samaan, Commissioner of the LPGA; Stephanie J. Hull, President & CEO, Girls Inc.; LPGA and AJGA players, as well as several Mizuho representatives from across the organization.

On the Ladies European Tour, friend of Dubai, Kristina Napoleaova (Czech Rep), will be defending the title she won 12 months ago at the AMUNDI German Masters at the same venue in a later June date.

Schedule

Majors

Thursday 16th – Sunday 19th May, 2024

USPGA Championship

Venue: Valhalla GC, Kentucky, US

Purse: $17.5 million

LPGA

Thursday 16th – Sunday 19th May, 2024

Mizuho Americas Open

Venue: Liberty National GC, Jersey City, New York, US

Purse: $3 million

Ladies’ European Tour

Thursday 16th – Sunday 19th May, 2024

AMUNDI German Masters

Venue: Golf & Country Club, Seddiner See, Germany

Purse: €300,000


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