Golf’s Superstars Set to Compete at 2023 PGA Championship

2023 PGA Championship
The 2023 PGA Championship will host the best players in the world including LIV stars Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau. (PGW)

PITTSFORD, New York – The second major of the year is here. The famed East Course at Oak Hill outside Rochester, NY will host the PGA Championship. A star studded field has been assembled including defending champion Justin Thomas, as well as former PGA winners Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, and Phil Mickelson among others.

Mickelson returns to the PGA Championship after winning at the prime age of 50 in 2021 and then sitting out last year’s edition in the upheaval of the LIV Tour.

He will be joined by 16 other LIV Tour members including recent major winners Cam Smith, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, and Koepka.

Dustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson of Aces GC hits a tee shot on the 18th hole during Day 3 of the LIV Golf Tulsa tournament at Cedar Ridge CC on May 14, 2023 in Broken Arrow, OK. (Photo by Ian Maule via Getty Images)

For Koepka, coming to Oak Hill is a homecoming of sorts.

“It’ll be a good week,” said Koepka who won back to back PGA Championships in 2018 and 2019. “That’s where me and my caddy (Northern Irishman Billy Elliott), it was the first time he ever caddied for me. It’s been ten years so it’ll be special.”

Koepka is a two time winner on the LIV Tour and was the leader after 54 holes at this years Masters, only to finish tied for second with Mickelson, 4 shots behind winner John Rahm. It was Rahm’s second major having also won the US Open in ‘21. He’s the top ranked player in the world and the man many feel is the player to beat at Oak Hill.

Jason Day
Jason Day waves to the crowd on the 18th green after finishing his round during the final round of the AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch on May 14, 2023 in McKinney, TX. (Photo by Tim Heitman via Getty Images)

Johnson and Jason Day come to Oak Hill fresh on wins this last weekend. DJ won a three-way playoff at the LIV Tour in Tulsa. He defeated Smith and Branden Grace in a playoff with a birdie on the first playoff hole. DJ won the 2016 US Open at Oakmont and the 2020 Masters.

For Day, Mothers Day was a very emotional day. He captured his first win in five years taking the AT&T Byron Nelson with a tremendous closing round of 9-under 62. This coming after the passing of his mother last year after a lengthy battle with cancer.

“I was in tears for a little bit there,” said Day. “To think about all that my Mom went through. And then I had injuries on top of all that going on in my life.”

It was the 13th win of his career for Day, the former number one ranked player in the world.

Phil Mickelson gives a thumbs up on the 18th green during the final round of the 2021 PGA Championship held at the Ocean Course of Kiawah Island Golf Resort on May 23, 2021 in Kiawah Island, SC. (Photo by Stacy Revere via Getty Images)

Perhaps the most intriguing story at this year’s PGA will be Mickelson. When he won the PGA at the Ocean Course at Kiawah he claimed the title as the “oldest player to win a major” as 50 years, 11 months and 7 days.

Rarely has a player not defended his title at the PGA, but Mickelson sat out last years tournament amongst the controversy surrounding the LIV Tour and his comments against the PGA Tour. He was a very surprising second place finisher at this year’s Masters shooting a tremendous 7-under 65 in the final round at Augusta. Does the 6-time major winner have one more flash of greatness? We will see amongst the many great players set to take on Oak Hill.

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Rick Zurak has experience and associations in the golf industry that are vast and contribute to his accomplishments which include: 28 U.S. Opens, PGAs and Ryder Cups, former publisher of Niagara Golfer magazine, host of Western New York Golf Report TV Show and Director of the New York State Junior Golf Tour, now in its 32nd year. His most recent project features a YouTube audience called “Rick Zurak Buffalo Golf.” Zurak has traveled extensively while reporting first-hand experiences visiting golf destinations throughout the United States. He is a long-time member of International Network of Golf.

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