Rory McIlroy hoping to let golf do talking as US PGA Championship gets under way

Recent history was against Rory McIlroy as he attempted to put personal turmoil to one side and secure an overdue fifth major title in the 106th US PGA Championship.

McIlroy claimed the last of his four majors to date when Valhalla staged the event in 2014, with Australia’s Jason Day succeeding the Northern Irishman as champion at Whistling Straits.

Since then however, only American players have lifted the Wanamaker Trophy, with Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas winning five times between them and Jimmy Walker, Phil Mickelson and Collin Morikawa also enjoying success.

McIlroy understandably refused to talk about his private life in his pre-tournament press conference, which came the day after it emerged he had filed for divorce from his wife of seven years, Erica, on Monday.

The timing could not have been worse given the world number two had won the Wells Fargo Championship for a fourth time just hours earlier, a second victory in succession following his win alongside Shane Lowry in the Zurich Classic.

Coincidentally that mirrors the form McIlroy enjoyed in 2014, when he followed his victory in the Open at Royal Liverpool with another in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational before travelling to Valhalla.

The former world number one was scheduled to get his first round under way from the 10th tee at 0815 local time (1315 BST) alongside Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose, with Tiger Woods in the preceding group with Adam Scott and Keegan Bradley.

Defending champion Brooks Koepka was also among the early starters alongside Max Homa and Jordan Spieth, while Masters champion Scottie Scheffler had to wait until mid-afternoon to start his bid for back-to-back major titles and a fifth win in his last six starts.

Is there anything new for 2024?

Valhalla played to 7,458 yards in 2014 and has been lengthened by 151 yards for this year thanks to the addition of several new tees. The par-four opening hole has been stretched by almost 50 yards and the par-three 14th could prove unpopular as it has been extended to a maximum of 254 yards from a new back tee. The par-five 18th, which saw McIlroy make par in the darkness to win by one from Mickelson a decade ago, is also almost 30 yards longer.

Form players?

Several of the biggest names in golf have been in superb form recently, none more so than world number one Scheffler, who has won four of his last five starts and finished runner-up in the other. McIlroy has also claimed back-to-back victories while Koepka was downbeat about his game until winning the most recent LIV Golf event in Singapore.

Key tee times (all BST)

1215 – Michael Block, Luke Donald, Shaun Micheel.
1304 – Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, Keegan Bradley.
1315 – Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose.
1337 – Brooks Koepka, Max Homa, Jordan Spieth.
1913 – Wyndham Clark, Brian Harman, Scottie Scheffler.

Weather forecast

Drier weather returns on Thursday with partly cloudy skies and light winds up to a maximum of 12mph. An isolated shower or thunderstorm could develop during the evening and showers and thunderstorms will become likely after midnight as another low-pressure system moves across the region into Friday, with heavy rainfall possible at times.


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