*Jordan Spieth, the latest in a long line of Texas greats, seeks to join Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods in golf's upper echelon as winners of all of the sport's modern majors.
With victories in the Masters, U.S. Open and last month's British Open, Spieth at age 24 needs to capture the PGA's Wanamaker Trophy to complete the cycle
If he falters, Spieth should have a long career ahead of him to win the PGA, but time slips away fast. The tournament eluded Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson, who both captured all of the other majors.
*The tournament marks the emergence of Charlotte's Quail Hollow as one of the country's best courses after a redesign. Often taken apart in the annual tour stop at the course, Quail Hollow gave the majors' strongest field a tough test in the first round Thursday, and likely will outshine Erin Hills, this year's U.S. Open site. Quail Hollow looks worthy of hosting the U.S. Open.
*Along with Spieth's quest to become the first player of his generation to reach the grand slam, the muscular Brooks Koepeka will try for the rare feat of winning the PGA and the U.S. Open in the same year. Masters champ Sergio Garcia could also take a double major. Several players are seeking their first major, including Matt Kuchar, who battled Spieth in a memorable British Open finish. Top players like Rory McElroy, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Jason Day are in the mix as well.
*TNT is broadcasting the tournament along with CBS, which means that Ernie Johnson fans have a chance to view Johnson's artistry outside of playing NBA vaudeville straight man to Charles Barkley, Shaquille O'Neal and Kenny Smith. Johnson is a superb golf announcer, much better than Joe Buck trying to do golf on Fox's U.S. Open broadcasts. CBS will broadcast the tournament in afternoon prime time.
*AjC followers were glad to see venerable sports columnist Jeff Schultz covering the event, a welcome sign of vitality for the ad-challenged newspaper.
*For longtime golf fans who saw the PGA as a bittersweet end-of-summer ritual marking another golf season's close, this year's tournament heralds the end of that tradition. Beginning in 2019, the PGA will be played in May, after the Masters. The U.S. Open will follow in June as usual, with the British Open, in July, the last major.
The PGA is making the move to avoid conflict with golf's Olympics competition. The professional tour also hopes that with the PGA off the August schedule, more attention will be given to its lagging FedEx championship. The FedEX will be played earlier and the season shortened to avoid autumn competition with the NFL.