Just two weeks after a historic Open Championship from Royal Troon, the fourth and final major championship of the 2016 golf season comes your way this week as the 98th PGA Championship comes to Baltusrol Golf Club. Located in Springfield, New Jersey, about 20 miles west of New York City, Baltusrol hosts a men's major championship for the ninth time. The famed course has hosted the U.S. Open seven times and was also the site of the 2005 PGA Championship. It's also played host to the U.S. Women's Open, the U.S. Amateur, the U.S. Women's Amateur and looks to be in top shape as the world's best golfers vie for their shot at history and a $10.5 million purse this week. A PGA Championship win will also give the winner 600 FedExCup points.
The par-70 Lower Course will play very long this week at nearly 7,500 yards, which should certainly create some great storylines come Sunday afternoon. Ninety-seven of the top 100 players in the Official World Golf Rankings are at the PGA Championship this week, and many of the top 10 are actually paired with one another for the first two days, but first things first. Where can you catch all of the action for the 98th PGA Championship? Here's a quick breakdown of the TV and streaming schedule for all four days.
PGA Championship Rounds 1 & 2-Thursday, July 28, 2016 & Friday, July 29, 2016
Starting Time: 7:00 AM ET
TV Coverage: 1:00 PM ET to 7:00 PM ET [TNT]
Online Simulcast: 1:00 PM to 7:00 PM ET [PGA.com]
Featured Groups 1 & 2: 8:30 AM ET to 7:00 PM ET [PGA.com]
PGA Championship Rounds 3 & 4-Saturday, July 30, 2016 & Sunday, July 31, 2016
Starting Time: TBA
TV Coverage: 11 a.m. ET to 2 p.m. ET [TNT], 2:00 p.m. ET to 7 p.m. ET [CBS]
Early Simulcast: 11 a.m. ET to 2 p.m. ET [PGA.com]
Late Simulcast: 2 p.m. ET to 7 p.m. ET [CBSSports.com]
Featured Groups 1 & 2: 11 a.m. ET to 7 p.m. ET [PGA.com]
As there always is at the PGA Championship, the only major field of the year in which every single competitor is a professional, there are many intriguing groups in this year's first two rounds. Here are six fun groups to follow on Thursday and Friday.
One of the fun things about the PGA Championship is that they like to group the first three major championship winners of the year. Sure, it gets difficult if someone has won multiple majors like Jordan Spieth did last year and Tiger Woods used to do constantly, but this year, we've got three different winners, and they're all ranked in the top 10 in the world.
World number five Henrik Stenson is coming off his historic Open Championship win at Royal Troon. Second-ranked Dustin Johnson is arguably the hottest golfer in the world right now after winning the U.S. Open, the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, and a T9 finish at the Open Championship. Masters champion Danny Willett rounds out the group and is looking for a little better finish this week after a tie for 37th at the U.S. Open and a tie for 53rd at the Open Championship. Since 2006, a previous major champion has won the PGA Championship for his second major title of the year.
World number one and defending champion Jason Day leads this dynamic group that has won 10 major championships between them. After so many close calls, Day finally broke through at last year's PGA Championship to win his first major title in record-breaking fashion, becoming the first man to finish a major at 20-under-par and has two top 10s in majors in 2016.
2014 PGA Championship winner Rory McIlroy also has two top 10s in majors this year, finishing in a tie for 10th at Augusta and fifth at Royal Troon. He did, however, miss the cut at the U.S. Open, which is the only major that world No. 13 Phil Mickelson has never won.
Mickelson, who hasn't won a tournament in three years and missed the cut at the Masters and the U.S. Open, showed he's not done quite yet with a brilliant performance at the Open Championship, finishing at 17-under-par (which would have won the large majority of major championships) after rounds of 63, 69, 70, and 65. Mickelson also won the PGA Championship the last time it was contested at Baltusrol in 2005. This will be a fun group to follow.
Looking to win the third leg of the career Grand Slam is world No. 3 Jordan Spieth, who, despite two wins in 2016, hasn't had the follow-up year that many predicted for him. Following his unfortunate collapse at the Masters, Spieth finished tied for 37th at the U.S. Open and tied for 37th at the Open Championship and will be looking for a better finish in the year's final major.
Bubba Watson, who'll be the highest-ranked player in the world at the Rio Olympics, is also looking for his third major but has finished higher than 37th in any of the three majors this season. And then there's Sergio Garcia, who remains one of, if not the best player in the world to have never won a major. He finished tied for fifth at both the U.S. Open and Open Championship and hopes to finally take his place in golf history with a victory at the PGA Championship.
Yet another golfer who could make a claim as the best player without a major, world No. 7 Rickie Fowler looks to take his place among the elite this week as well. As fellow young guns Day, Spieth, and McIlroy have all won major titles, Fowler has yet to break through but does have six top-10 finishes in major championships. However, the last of those was two years ago at the PGA Championship, and he's missed the cut in two of the three majors in 2016. He's joined in this threesome by two-time major champion Zach Johnson and Hall of Famer and four-time major champion Ernie Els, who made his American major debut at the U.S. Open at Baltusrol in 1993.
This is yet another group that contains multiple major champions, led by world No. 11 Justin Rose who has two top-25 finishes in majors this year, including a tie for 10th at the Masters. Joining him in this threesome is 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, who also has two top-25 finishes in majors this year and also tied for seventh at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Fourteenth-ranked Patrick Reed, who, at 25-years-old, has already won four times on the PGA Tour, rounds out the group and looks to take that next step in his career.
Okay, so one of these three really doesn't have a great chance to win the PGA Championship, and I probably should have included the group that has world number eight Adam Scott in it (he's the only person in the top 10 that wasn't covered here), but come on, how cool is this group? For one, all three are former PGA Championship winners. John Daly was the first of the trio to get one in 1991, which makes this the 25th anniversary of him breaking onto the golf scene. Former world number one Vijay Singh won this championship in 1998 and 2004 and three-time major champion Padraig Harrington took home the Wanamaker Trophy in 2008. Even with a combined age of 147, this threesome is almost guaranteed to have a large following on the golf course for the first two days. And if you can't find them out there, just look for the bright colors on John Daly's pants.
Who do you have to win the 98th PGA Championship? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below.
[Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images]