Trump, Wentworth and Colonial by a different name
May 27, 2017 04:29 PM
The one name hard to ignore in golf this week isn't playing.
President Donald Trump might not even be at the Senior PGA Championship, which is being held at his Trump National Golf Club on the Potomac River about 25 miles north of Washington. Even so, it's the first major on any of the three tours — PGA Tour, PGA Tour Champions, LPGA Tour — to be held on a Trump course.
The U.S. Women's Open is next, but that's not until the middle of July.
The biggest tournament this week? A case could be made for the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth on the European Tour, at least by the amount of world ranking points it offers the winner (64) and total prize money — $7 million, which is $100,000 more than Colonial on the PGA Tour.
Tradition belongs to Colonial, which dates to 1946 when Ben Hogan won the first of his five titles on the fabled course in Fort Worth, Texas. That's why it's known as "Hogan's Alley," even though the PGA Tour with its obligations to those paying the bills refers to it as the "Dean & DeLuca Invitational."
It's always amusing to hear a new title of a tournament become part of all the history before it. There might be a TV graphic noting that Hogan won the last of his 64 PGA Tour titles at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational. That was in 1959, which was 18 years before Dean & DeLuca opened its first store.
Anyway, the winner still gets a plaid jacket and his name on the Wall of Champions. The latest entry on the wall and in the wardrobe is Jordan Spieth, who closed with three straight birdies a year ago.
The LPGA Tour is in Michigan for the second of 12 consecutive weeks. For the PGA Tour Champions, this is its second straight week of a major.
By any name, it's a busy week in golf.
Spieth returns to Colonial for his title defense on the heels of consecutive missed cuts at The Players Championship and the AT&T Byron Nelson. The last time he did that was in 2015, when he missed the cut in the opening two FedEx Cup playoff events and still won the Tour Championship to claim the FedEx Cup.
What's getting more attention is that Spieth last week changed putters. And now he's got back to his old putter, known as the 009.
Masters champion Sergio Garcia is playing for the third straight week. Phil Mickelson also is playing, only for Lefty, it's the first of what likely will be four consecutive weeks through the U.S. Open.
Mickelson hasn't played Colonial in seven years. He won it in 2008, memorable for a fan leaping into the water after the final birdie and Lefty's interview with Scoops Callahan .
Television: Thursday-Friday, 4-7 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 1-2:30 p.m. (Golf Channel); 3-6 p.m. (CBS Sports).
The BMW PGA Championship is the flagship event of the European Tour, and part of the new "Rolex Series" that features enhanced television coverage and $7 million in prize money. What it doesn't have this week is Rory McIlroy, who is taking a week off to rest his ailing ribs.
The tournament dates to 1955 and once was played on some of the great British links — St. Andrews, Royal St. George's, Royal Birkdale, Western Gailes and Prince's to name a few. It went to Wentworth for the first time in 1972 and returned for good in 1984.
The defending champion is Chris Wood, who in some respects has won twice in the last two years — the tournament in 2016, and a BMW in 2015 when he made an ace .
The featured players are Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose, neither of whom have won since last summer's moment of glory — a gold medal for Rose, a silver claret jug for Stenson. This would be a good week to change that.
Television: Thursday-Friday, 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Golf Channel).
PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS
Bernhard Langer will see if he can master Trump National and set a senior record with his ninth major. He won his eighth career major on the 50-and-older circuit last week at the Regions Tradition when he closed with a 64, which is only five shots older than his age.
The defending champion is Rocco Mediate, though more people remember him for that battle with Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines in the 2008 U.S. Open than winning a major on the PGA Tour Champions.
At stake for the winner is a trip to the PGA Championship this summer at Quail Hollow Club in North Carolina.
Television: Thursday-Saturday, 1-4 p.m. (Golf Channel); Sunday, 3-6 p.m. (NBC Sports).
The LPGA Volvik Championship is in its second year not far from the Big House, where the Michigan Wolverines play.
The big question: Will this finally be the week that Lydia Ko loses her No. 1 ranking? Ko isn't playing this week, meaning ANA Inspiration winner So Yeon Ryu could replace her by finishing fifth or better. That depends on Ariya Jutanugarn, who has a mathematical chance of getting to No. 1 by finishing second.
Television: Thursday-Friday, 7-9 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 3-6 p.m. (Golf Channel).
By DOUG FERGUSON
Updated: May 27, 2017 04:29 PM
(Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)