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The return of the Majors - a special day for golf

It was 382 days ago when Shane Lowry lifted “The Claret Jug” as the Champion Golfer of the Year. This was, without the world knowing it, the last time we would see a men’s major golfing title being won.

Today marks the “return to majors” as the world’s best take on TPC Harding Park in the 102nd PGA Championship. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - It was 382 days ago when Shane Lowry lifted “The Claret Jug” as the Champion Golfer of the Year – winning the Open by six shots. This was, without the world knowing it, the last time we would see a men’s major golfing title being won.

Until today.

Today marks the “return to majors” as the world’s best take on TPC Harding Park in the 102nd PGA Championship. The field will see the likes of former champion Jordan Spieth and defending champ Brooks Koepka. South Africans can look forward to seeing Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Dylan Fritelli, Erik van Rooyen, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, and Shaun Norris.

Although the current South African lineup has not faired very well in majors when compared to the days of Gary Player and Bobby Locke or Retief Goosen and Ernie Els, the talent is there. We have already witnessed Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen ascend to the top of the sport in the Masters and the Open respectively – no doubt a South African win would make the “return to majors” that much sweeter.

However, the opening round at 17:33, will also feature a special trio taking to the course. All three players have held the PGA Championship, two players have held the PGA, the US Open and the Open and one of the three has held all four majors – the PGA, the US Open, the Open, and the Masters.

Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, and Tiger Woods take the stage all looking to add to their major titles. For Thomas, also current world number one, he is looking at his second major win with McIlroy, albeit still trying to get off his Augusta woes, is chasing his fifth major.

Meanwhile, Tiger Woods chases history. The American already has a career slam with his latest green jacket coming at the Masters last year. That took Woods’ tally to fifteen majors - only 3 wins behind all-time leader Jack Nicklaus. Thus, the American duo alongside Northern Ireland’s shining star will start this year’s PGA Championship with 20 majors – looking for number 21.

But that’s not all – 2018 and 2019 PGA Champion Brooks Koepka, who has not finished outside the top four of a major since the 2018 US Open, will tee it up with 2019 US Open Champion, Gary Woodland and Ireland’s own Champion Golfer of the Year, Shane Lowry.

Another noteworthy event, even if it is just a possibility, Jordan Spieth could complete his career grand slam – having won the 2015 Masters, 2015 US Open and the 2018 Open.

All in all, today marks a special day at TPC Harding Park. With major golf being almost forgotten without the crowds and the usual April through to July hype, this year’s PGA will undoubtedly be one to remember.