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Nelly Korda, Rory McIlroy, PGA Championship thoughts

Rory McIlroy on Sunday after his win at the Wells Fargo Championship.

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Check in every week for the unfiltered views of our writers and editors as they analyze the hottest topics in the sport, and join the conversation by tweeting us at @golf_com. This week, we discuss the chances of Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods at this week’s PGA Championship, Nelly Korda and more.

1. The 2024 PGA Championship begins Thursday at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky., where Scottie Scheffler he will be the betting favorite and Brooks Koepka will defend his title. (No word yet on when Scheffler’s baby was born, but it’s on the schedule for Tuesday’s interview.) Any reason to think three weeks off could hurt Scheffler’s chances?

Ryan Barath, mechanical editor (@rdsbarath): At this point in Scottie’s game, I don’t think three weeks off, even if it includes the birth of your first child, will do any harm to his golf game. If he can go out and win the RBC Heritage the week after winning the Masters, and weather the storm from that, I think he’ll come out ready to go to Valhalla.

Dylan Dethier, senior author (@dylan_dethier): As a first-time dad, I can say that’s the kind of thing that can throw off anyone’s golf game, even the World No. 1 — but I think we have different childcare arrangements. Of course, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him in the distance. But we can forgive him if he arrives in Valhalla with something a little less than his best.

Nick Piastowski, senior editor (@nickpia): A three week break will not be a problem. But a child? It’s probably possible. Thoughts will be elsewhere, understandably so. Then, when he wins, days after becoming a new father, his legend grows even bigger.

2. Rory McIlroy and Xander Schauffele battle it out in the final round of the Wells Fargo Championship, with McIlroy wins by five shots after an impressive six-under 65. A good confidence booster (both) for the upcoming PGA Championship, or not for the World No. 1 not in Quail Hollow?

Rory McIlroy pumps his fist at Wells Fargo.

Rory McIlroy blasts Xander Schauffele to win the Wells Fargo Championship


Jack Hirsh

Barath: Both players distinguished themselves this week on a long and tough golf course, and it will be hard not to come out of this event without a lot of confidence heading into the PGA Championship. Sure, Scottie wasn’t on the field this week, but you can only beat those on the field. Rory went on the back nine while Xander stood, and hopefully this continues for Rory on the PGA.

Dethier: Great confidence boost! Almost every good PGA Tour player has hooked it up at Quail Hollow and Xander Schauffele beat them all like a drum. All but Rory McIlroy, that is, and he looked very upset when it mattered on Sunday. Both guys know that winning the week before a major isn’t a guarantee of anything – their last PGA Tour wins came at the 2023 (McIlroy) and 2022 (Schauffele) Genesis Scottish Invitationals, the week before the Open, which they didn’t win. Still, short of Scheffler, who plays better golf?

Piastowski: So much, especially for McIlroy, the World No. 2. Everything seems to have clicked, compared to the PGA Tour’s leading 67, at the course that will host the PGA next year. But I also wonder about Zurich and his win with friend Shane Lowry. McIlroy spoke this week about being released now. That can mean many different things. But maybe this is the result of McIlroy. And yes, there are good vibes in Valhalla, where they last won a major award.

3. One issue that dominated the pre-tournament talk was the position of Webb Simpson’s seat on the PGA tour policy board. Simpson previously tried to step down, but only if McIlroy could take his place. That, however, did not happen, and Simpson is still serving the rest of his term. “There was a group of people on the board who were probably uncomfortable with my return, for some reason,” McIlroy said. Reading between the lines, why don’t some feel comfortable when McIlroy returns? Can he help the golf club? And, finally, do you have a problem with him rejoining after resigning months ago?

Rory McIlroy and Jay Monahan.

What’s up with Rory McIlroy, Jay Monahan, Tiger Woods and the PGA Tour board?


Dylan Dethier

Barath: A few things here. First of all, I mean as someone who pays a lot of attention to the men’s game, this is all just a complete cliché, and right now, I just want someone to wake me up when this whole thing is settled and done with. Second, when it comes to people who are uncomfortable, I believe that there is a great deal of tension between those who are fine with letting the history of the PGA Tour die so that there is finally a true world tour, and those who still want to preserve history. The PGA is very organized the way it is now. Having said that, I think Rory has made it clear that he is on the side of the world tour, and he is ready to negotiate with the Saudi PIF and bring all the best players together, while others are not ready to lose. their share if that happens. As for coming back, Rory seems to be thinking for a long time, and for that reason, if he wants to come back to some extent, he should be able to.

Dethier: However, as it turns out, McIlroy is a member – albeit a non-voting member – of the commercial sub-committee, [pause for yawn] he is actually conducting reasonable negotiations with the Saudis. It would be strange to have McIlroy back on the board after leaving a few months ago. But he still seems to be an important person in the show.

Piastowski: Lots of easy questions here! Let’s try to answer them, though. Uncomfortable? Hard to say without hearing from sources. Maybe it’s because McIlroy once left the board and his dedication is still in question. Perhaps it’s the situation Barath describes, where McIlroy wants the world tour, and others don’t. All good ideas. Can he help the golf club? You bet – and as Dethier notes, you will be, as part of the commercial committee. (Lots of commissions these days!) Moving is good, if you’re looking for a deal. McIlroy has said he has at least some relationship with Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund. Is there a problem with him rejoining? Maybe a little bit. If it’s as simple as Simpson asking McIlroy for his spot, and McIlroy agreeing, I think that’s fine.

4. The PGA will also be the first to see it Tiger Woods since turning 60 at the Masters, and returns to the course where he won the PGA in 2000. Does Woods finish better or worse than he did at Augusta?

Tiger Woods is hugged by his mother, Tida Woods, during the Mercedes Championship at La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, California.

Tiger Woods’ mother gave him more tools than you can see


Michael Bamberger

Barath: I hate to count Woods out, but Valhalla is too tall, and the overall field is much stronger than the one he faced at the Masters to miss.

Dethier: Better! Stop doubting this guy.

Piastowski: I’ll go in. Worse than the Masters, but less and less makes the cut. Conditions look good – for fans, for sore joints.

5. Nelly Korda tied for seventh in Cognizant Founders Cup — Rose Zhang hosts Madelene Sagstrom victory – ending his streak at five, which tied the all-time record. Korda’s incredible athleticism often sparks Caitlin Clark comparisons, or at least the topic of conversation about whether she can help elevate women’s golf like Clark did for women’s basketball. But do you think those comparisons were fair?

Rose Zhang smiles after winning the Cognizant Founders Cup

Rose Zhang wins the Founders Cup as Nelly Korda’s streak comes to an unpleasant end


Jack Hirsh

Barath: Women’s golf needs more mainstream coverage if it wants to move forward in the mainstream of the sport, and unfortunately it still gets second fiddle to things like the PGA Tour Champions circuit. I think with the right investment, the best players on the LPGA Tour can be seen as the best players on the PGA Tour, who are miles behind other sports like the NBA.

Dethier: I think the Caitlin Clark comps are well-intentioned but underappreciated. Korda has no team, no rival, no built-in fans, no March Madness tournament. I wrote about this earlier this week, but Korda was right to point out that all he can do is continue to play high-quality golf – the kind he’s been playing – and let any improvement happen naturally.

Piastowski: Good points made by my colleague. The comparison is easy, as we are in the midst of Clark fever. But it’s on Korda’s tour, and Korda’s tour broadcasters, and Korda’s tour promoters and Korda to get his name out there – because it looks like he’s doing his part.

6. Let’s wrap up with the final PGA preview question. What’s a great story that no one is talking about yet?

Dethier: Jordan Spieth looks injured and out of sorts – but he’s still in contention for a career slam! Don’t worry, though, nine good holes on Thursday and you’ll hear a lot about this.

Barath: Wow, I even forgot about Spieth’s career grand slam opportunity here until you mention it, Dylan, but I’ll go with Rahm. He’s still looking for a solo win at LIV and didn’t play that well at the Masters. If the PGA doesn’t go well, we can run into an angry and frustrated golfer come Friday afternoon.

Piastowski: This will get a run during the week, but club coach Tracy Phillips will be playing for the first time in the PGA Championship at the age of 61. But his story gets better. He once gave up golf for 20 years, before he was brought back. Wild.

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