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Tomorrow the US PGA starts at the Southern Hills course.

The PGA is the poor relation of the 4 Majors.

Yet The Open only became competitively of global interest when Arnie Palmer played it and –  as a links course – it’s subject to climatic conditions such as wind.

The Masters is a tad “up itself” and, for all its tradition and Southern courtliness, the one tourney that black players do not favour.

The US Open can be so tough that the pros complain.

So the PGA, normally tacked on after the other three but now second , can often generate an absorbing contest.

This time it has received pre-publicity via last year’s winner – and the oldest ever – Major winner Phil Mickelson withdrawing.

No one is quite sure whether this was his decision, or that of the PGA.

He has tied his colours to the mast of the Saudi tour promoted by Greg Norman notwithstanding Lefty calling the Saudis “scary motherfuckers”.

What is clear that the Mickelson wholesome image had been undermined by stories of gambling and scorning the PGA tour.

The LIV Golf International Series (as the Saudi-backed tour is known) is controversial, not least as Greg Norman started a breakaway tour twenty years ago (unsuccessfully) and recently has defended the Saudi regime over the Khashoggi journalist killing.

As for a winner, I fancy Cameron Smith.

The Aussie is one of the best putters on the tour and his first Major cannot be far away.

Keegan Bradley and Hideki Matsuyama are in form too – and worth an each way tickle – with most bookies paying 10 places.

The course given a total makeover by  Gil Hanse is not unlike Augusta with wide fairways but demanding precision approach play.

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About John Pargiter

John Pargiter’s biggest claim to fame is his first-ever work experience job, as ‘legs’ (or runner) for Henry Longhurst. For many years he worked in insurance at Lloyds. After retiring he has returned to his favourite sport of golf and is a keen recreational sailor and grandparent. More Posts