A major week for the LPGA and the seniors
So Yeon Ryu goes into the LPGA Tour's second major on quite a roll.
By winning last week in Arkansas, the 26-year-old Ryu became the first player to win multiple times on the LPGA Tour this year. It also was enough for the South Korean to rise to No. 1 in the world. And now she has a chance to become only the fourth woman in the last 50 years to capture the first two legs of the Grand Slam.
Winning the first one this year wasn't easy. In a major moment hard to forget, Lexi Thompson was penalized four shots in the final round for improperly marking her golf ball (two shots) and signing an incorrect scorecard (it happened on Saturday and the LPGA Tour was made aware by a TV viewer on Sunday). Ryu won with a birdie on the first playoff hole at the ANA Inspiration.
Next up is the KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Olympia Fields, which last hosted a major when Jim Furyk won the U.S. Open in 2003.
That's not the only major this week.
The U.S. Senior Open returns to Salem Country Club in Massachusetts for the first time since Bruce Fleisher won in 2001.
The women and the seniors have one other thing in common - more majors are around the corner. Both have another major in two weeks, with the U.S. Women's Open at Trump National in New Jersey and the Senior Players Championship at Caves Valley outside Baltimore.
It's easy to overlook the PGA Tour, for reasons beyond the fact it doesn't have a major this week. The Quicken Loans National, which began with a patriotic pulse a decade ago, is having a hard time attracting much of a field. It features just one player from the top 10 in the world - Rickie Fowler at No. 9.
The French Open, part of the Rolex Series on the European Tour, didn't fare much better. Its only top-10 player is Alex Noren at No. 8.
The second-oldest major on the LPGA Tour lost its name during a partnership with the PGA of America that began three years ago. The LPGA Championship dated to 1955. Now it's the KPMG Women's PGA.
What it gained was stature.
Most of that was the golf course. Instead of places like DuPont and Bulle Rock and Locust Grove, the Women's PGA is moving around to big markets. It began at Westchester (where the PGA Tour spent 40 years), moved the next year to Sahalee (site of the 1998 PGA Championship) and now goes to Olympia Fields, which first hosted a major in 1925 when Walter Hagen won his second straight PGA Championship.
The tournaments have been memorable, too. Inbee Park won by five shots in 2015 for her third straight victory in that major, matching Annika Sorenstam. A year ago, Brooke Henderson hit 7-iron to 3 feet in a playoff to beat Lydia Ko in the most exciting major of 2016.
Ko had won the ANA Inspiration and was trying to win the second leg. That's something for Ryu to consider.
Television: Thursday-Friday, 12:30-3:30 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 3-6 p.m. (NBC).
Bernhard Langer already is 1 up on Ryu. He's going for this third straight major.
The ageless German won the Tradition and the Senior PGA in consecutive weeks in May, giving him nine senior majors to break the record held by Jack Nicklaus. No one has ever won three straight senior majors. No one has ever won three senior majors in any year.
Langer has won a senior major for the fourth straight year, and this is the fourth time he has won two majors in a year.
Fred Couples is coming off a victory last week in Wisconsin . He has only two senior majors in his career. Among those not playing is Steve Stricker, citing a schedule that has worn him out - six tournaments in seven weeks. That included a U.S. Open qualifier when the USGA didn't give him an exemption to the first U.S. Open in Wisconsin.
Television: Thursday-Friday, 2-7 p.m. (FS1); Saturday-Sunday, 1-6 p.m. (Fox Sports).
The Quicken Loans National is run by the Tiger Woods Foundation, which under normal circumstances would guarantee the presence of the biggest draw in golf.
These haven't been normal times.
Woods is out for the year with a fourth back surgery. He has played this event only six times since he became the tournament host in 2006.
Fowler has a corporate deal with Quicken Loans. He was runner-up two years ago and played in the final group in 2011. Fowler already has won this year at the Honda Classic, though far more memorable was starting the final round one shot behind at the Masters and two shots behind at the U.S. Open and fading in both.
The Quicken Loans this year moves to its fourth course - TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm. It has been redesigned since it last staged a PGA Tour event, the Booz Allen Classic in 2006, which Ben Curtis won on a Tuesday.
Television: Thursday-Friday, 3:30-6:30 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday, 1-2:30 p.m. (Golf Channel); 3-6 p.m. (CBS); Sunday, 1-2:30 p.m. (Golf Channel); 3-6:30 p.m. (CBS).
Le Golf National is assured of having a strong field in 2018, certainly in September when it hosts the Ryder Cup.
The French Open begins the continental European run to the British Open - the French Open, Irish Open, Scottish Open and the the oldest major at Royal Birkdale. Expect the fields to pick up significantly over the next couple of weeks.
Television: Thursday-Friday, 4:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Golf Channel).