KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. This is the final event for U.S. players to earn Ryder Cup points, with the top eight at the conclusion of the PGA Championship locking up spots on the U.S. team in September.
Tiger Woods is the only player to have clinched a spot, but Jason Dufner, Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar are all but assured to lock down spots this week.
Phil Mickelson is eighth entering the PGA, and Hunter Mahan, a two-time PGA Tour winner this year, is ninth, followed by Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk and Rickie Fowler.
U.S. captain Davis Love III will have three weeks after the PGA before he will make his four captain’s picks for the matches.
CHARLOTTE TIES: Dave Stockton, a two-time PGA champion and recipient of the PGA’s Distinguished Service Award Wednesday night, said he gets his greatest satisfaction from teaching these days and cited Myers Park High golfer Jordan Warren as one of his favorite examples of helping golfers improve.
“(Warren) was practicing for his (conference) championship. I told him one thing, and then later he went to the green and I showed him something there,” said Stockton, who was in Charlotte for the Wells Fargo Championship in May.
“He went out the next day (playing in) the … championship from Myers Park and … I looked in the paper and they won, but I didn’t see his name.
“I’m helping (Rory) McIlroy, and Jordan comes up with two of his buddies and I congratulated him. He said it was really good. I said, ‘I didn’t see your score.’ He said, ‘I shot 76, and that’s the best score I’ve had this year and we qualified for state.’ I said, ‘that’s great.’ Two weeks later, he led them in state, shooting 71.”
GREENSBORO FIELD: Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion, has added his name to the list of commitments for the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro next week.
Schwartzel joins a field that includes reigning champion Webb Simpson, FedEx Cup champion Bill Haas, U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III, Jason Dufner, Ryo Ishikawa, Nick Watney, Lucas Glover, Y.E. Yang, Angel Cabrera and Brandt Snedeker.
• Quail Hollow Club president Johnny Harris, golf professional Scott Davenport and Tony Schuster, director of operations for the Wells Fargo Championship, were on site at the Ocean Course Wednesday. The PGA Championship will be played at Quail Hollow in 2017, and the group was taking a look at how the event is presented and the many pieces required to bring it all together.
Harris said he hopes Quail Hollow will reopen by Oct. 1 after a significant renovation this summer that included the addition of several new tees, the creation of a new eighth green and other work on the layout.
• Keegan Bradley hosted the annual champions’ dinner Tuesday night and served Maine lobster with filet mignon, corn on the cob and ice cream sundaes. As a gift to each player, Bradley gave them a Boston Red Sox jersey with the number corresponding to the year they won the PGA Championship.
• Adam Scott says he feels good about his game despite the bitter disappointment of losing the British Open last month. Scott has played three rounds at the Ocean Course, getting comfortable with the layout, and playing the World Golf Championship Bridgestone Invitational last week helped him move past what happened at Royal Lytham.
“I played maybe the best golf of my career for the whole week,” Scott said of the British Open. “Unfortunately, I didn’t get a win. But even with the last four holes, taking it as a whole, I played spectacular golf for such a long time in a major championship. That’s something I’ve been working to do for my whole career and finally that’s happened.
“I’ve got one out of the system after the Open, and certainly (it’s) great to have another crack at a major so soon after. That great play wasn’t that long ago. So it won’t be hard for me to find again, I think.”
Wouldn’t that be a story?
THEY SAID IT
• “I’m feeling the heat. I think everyone is. It’s hot and humid out there. Getting eaten by alive by these insects, as well, which isn’t very nice.” – Rory McIlroy
• “I have a very hard time watching the replay. I really can’t. I get nervous. I get uncomfortable.” – Keegan Bradley on his PGA Championship victory last year.
• “I did quite like it, yeah. It has an interesting mix of holes.” – Luke Donald on the Ocean Course.
• “Wherever Freddie (Couples) is, we’ll go down that far.” – U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III joking when asked how far down the points list he’ll go in making his four wild-card picks.
After another rainy day on Wednesday, the tournament forecast is more encouraging. There’s a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms for the first round with temperatures reaching near 90 degrees. The wind is expected to be an increasingly big factor, blowing 15 to 20 mph hour Thursday afternoon and gusting to 30 mph an hour Friday and Saturday afternoon.