ESPN's Most Dominant: Brooks Koepka Still Feeling Snubbed And He Certainly Has A Point

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There have been some odd media-related slights of 2018’s two-time major winner and Floridian Cup champ, Brooks Koepka, including at the U.S. Open, PGA Championship and Tour Championship.

The winner of two majors and three of the last seven has rightfully been a bit peeved. The latest snub came with publication of ESPN The Magazine’s list of Most Dominant Athletes of 2018 not including Koepka, he simply posted the list on Twitter:

With Ariya Jutanagarn winning one major to Koepka’s two, he’s understandably annoyed at the lack of respect given to his year.

Underrated in his season is how late he started due to a wrist injury. While “dominant” isn’t the first word that comes to mind, his play given the inactivity the first four months of the year suggests it could have been even better.

ShotLink On Brooks Koepka's 2018 PGA Win: If He Improves His Starts And Around The Greens, He's Really Unbeatable

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The PGA Tour and PGA of America have partnered at significant cost to provide ShotLink at the PGA Championship.

So a thank you as always to the crew on site and the volunteers documenting shots for helping us better understand the big picture. 

If only Brooks could chip better...he'd win by ten as evidenced by the above embed.

Then there were these numbers suggesting a driving exhibition like few others. A 25-yard advantage over the field average is pretty staggering given how soft the landing areas were following Tuesday's rain. And check out his starts in this year's majors.

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PGA Overnight: 6.1, Up 56% And Peaks At 8.3! PGA Second Highest Rated Major Of 2018

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Tiger Woods should have another gift basket waiting on his doorstep today, this time from Sean McManus to go with the ones from Mark Lazarus, Mike McCarley and Fred Ridley. Okay, maybe The Masters doesn't do gift baskets. 

Anyway, Tiger helped deliver a 6.1 overnight final round rating for the 2018 PGA Championship. The audience peaked at 8.3 late in the round. 

From Paulsen at Sports Media Watch, who has several other anecdotes about the ratings this year:

Sunday’s final round of the PGA Championship earned a 6.1 overnight rating on CBS, up 69% from last year (3.6), up 56% from 2016 (3.9) and the highest since 2009 (7.5). The previous mark was a 6.0 for the 2014 final round.

The 6.1 is tied as the highest golf overnight outside of the Masters since the final round of the 2012 U.S. Open (6.6).

Some might point out that the 6.1 much better than 2014's 6.0 at Valhalla featuring the unforgettable Rory-Rickie-Phil finish.  However, sports ratings have been on a decline and sizable numbers have moved to streaming, making the rating that much more impressive for CBS.

Also worth noting: the strong final round means the U.S. Open was the lowest rated final round of the four majors this year. The overnights for 2018:

Masters: 7.9
U.S. Open: 3.6
The Open: 5.0
PGA: 6.1

PGA Instagram Wrap: Photos From Brooks Koepka's Third Major Win

The classic trophy shot is bicep friendly.

A #PGAChamp and his trophy. 😁

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And this from the AJGA before Brooks hit the gym:

Probably a good time to bring this back up. #PGAChampionship

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The champion's money clip is swell, too bad Koepka under millennial law refuses to carry cash. 

The Koepka team, including mom, were on hand for this one:

@bkoepka & fam taking this one in! #PGAChamp

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The greatest Olympian was also on hand to document the day:

@m_phelps00 is taking notes. 📝🐅

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A fantastic shot of Tiger's reaction to birdie at the 18th:

Poll: Who Will Win The 2018 PGA Championship?

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We have a fantastic final round on tap for Sunday at Bellerive outside St. Louis, with Brooks Koepka leading Adam Scott by two, with Rahm-Fowler-Woodland three back, and a big group at four back.  Westgate's Jeff Sherman has Koepka as the even-money favorite

The final twosome tees off at 1:55 pm CT. (Times and hole locations here.)

I'm having a hard time seeing Koepka lose this lead, though the back nine was tough for him today. He's still getting my vote. Who do you like?

Who will win the 2018 PGA Championship?
 
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PGA Championship Television Woes, TNT And UK Streaming Edition

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2018 brings with it the same PGA Championship broadcast window woes of the past. 

While CBS has upped their technology game this year, the ironclad PGA contract with CBS and TNT has not been touched since 2009. Today's low early scoring and even a brief 59 watch only adds to the equation.

As John Strege wrote yesterday for GolfDigest.com when none of Rickie Fowler's opening 65 could be seen, TNT was airing episodes of Charmed and Supernatural. And there was this:

In the nearly 30 years that Turner Sports has been telecasting the first two rounds of the PGA Championship, it has always employed the same six-hour window. (Incidentally, its current broadcast rights contract with the PGA of America, negotiated in 2009, runs through 2019.)

One more year and then the PGA of America can give us something else almost assuredly better for the opening rounds and lead-in coverage. 

But if American fans think they have it bad, check out James Gray's Express story on the inauspicious start for the IMG-negotiated, streaming-only PGA broadcast in the UK by the upstart Eleven Sports.

However, the broadcaster announced its more ambitious intentions for 2018 when it secured deals to show La Liga, Serie A, the Eredivise and the Chinese Super League in the UK - as well as the PGA Championship.

Coverage of golf’s fourth major came in for criticism last year after BBC picked up where Sky Sports had dropped it, only to produce a half-hearted effort at producing a replacement.

Celebrating The Quiet Difficulty Of Bellerive's 10th

It was the toughest hole last time here and the third toughest during round one despite only one double bogey. 

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I spent some time there and was enjoyed its subtle features and likely blueprint for how Bellerive might go in the future should they choose to de-Rees the course.  I also got some keen insights from the great fans here.

Hope you enjoy this at Golfweek.com.

In The Annals Of Auditions, The Finau Effort Was Not Good

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As I noted yesterday for Golfweek, Jim Furyk was well aware of the intriguing first-round grouping at Bellerive pairing him with two strong Ryder Cup hopefuls: Tony Finau and Xander Schauffele. Furyk even detailed an identical tryout scenario he experience in 2016. 

The latter recovered nicely from a poor start to post 70 while Finau strggled to a 74 that included a shank. Meanwhile geezer Captain Furyk glided around in a smooth 69.

Brentley Romine on Furyk's play and confidence in his game

“He’s a really easygoing guy,” Schauffele said of Furyk. “He’s not putting any pressure on us.”

Major heat put plenty of pressure on Schauffele early. It was a rough start for the San Diego State product as he bogeyed three of his first six holes. However, he made birdie putts of 10 feet, 5 feet, 24 feet and 3 feet on the front side to battle back to even par.

Furyk liked what he saw, especially out of Schauffele.

“He seemed pretty unflappable, seemed like a guy that doesn’t let much bother him, let’s it roll off his back and goes to the next hole,” Furyk said.

Justin Thomas' PGA Champions Dinner Menu Revealed! Now, About Those Wine Choices...

Nice turnout for the Champions dinner at the 100th PGA Championship. Not sure they dug too deep into any wine cellars for those selections...

@justinthomas34’s Champions Dinner menu definitely won’t disappoint. 🤤

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Bryson Wins The Long Drive With Flair

Since the PGA Championship brought back the Long Drive Competition to liven up Tuesday and give the paying fans a little something extra to enjoy, some players have been reticent to give it their all in fear of injury or altering their mechanics. Not Bryson DeChambeau! Well done effort here to edge Peter Uihlein and Tony Finau. 

Players In Shorts Not Growing The Game Or The Prestige Of Golf's Fourth Major

Many wonder if the PGA Championship is moving ahead of the U.S. Open in the prestige department. 

I'm pretty sure this look--extending to coaches, agents and other team moochers--brands a special member-guest casualness and classlessness that no move to May or Frisco can shake. But if we really want to grow the game,  I say let the boys wear what they put on their best dinner attire these days: gym shirts and shorts, and definitely hats on backwards! 

👀found some fans of the "shorts allowed on practice days" rule.

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Ballstriker's Rejoice: Bellerive's Greens Are Slow, Weak And Not Likely To Improve

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August and the first 100 years are going out with a bang!

We know how hard the agronomists work to get a course ready, so picking on Bellerive's slow, soft and tender greens is not high on anyone's list.  Especially as we sit here Tuesday with multiple deluges hitting the course after relentless heat all summer.

As Joel Beall first noted for GolfDigest.com, the early signs at Bellerive are not good. 

But as The Forecaddie writes with more details on the issues, the balky greens have been an ongoing issue for the course dating back to last summer and all of 2018.

The Post-Dispatch's take by Dave Matter is a bit sunnier, with Tony Finau calling the greens good, something to note for those on his bandwagon this week. 

Carlos Arraya, Director of Grounds here, was on Live From the PGA during Monday's show and is looking forward to cooler conditions as the week goes: 

We discussed on Morning Drive my first impressions of the course:

Bellerive From Above: All 18 Holes Of The 2018 PGA Championship Venue

Because the course seen limited play this summer due to maintenance issues and so few players have any history at Bellerive, this flyover should help get you acquainted with the 2018 PGA Championship host site. Caffeine won't hurt either.

The full scorecard and hole-by-hole imagery is here. The course is over 500 yards longer than last time to account for climate change, kale incorporation into diets and just Joey D in general.

Carve away 14 minutes and time to swat away a few mid-play ads. Here goes: