No golfer with Georgia ties has won the PGA Championship since Davis Love in 1997, but a strong group
of Georgians will take a shot at breaking the 20-year drought next week in St. Louis.
Love will be among almost 20 golfers with ties to state who will be among the 156-player field to
compete for the last major championship of 2018. Beginning next year, the PGA Championship will
move to May, allowing the PGA Tour to end its 2018-19 schedule before Labor Day, getting the
FedExCup Playoffs and the Tour Championship away from conflicts with the NFL and college football.
The list of Georgians in the field includes three players who have won majors since 2014 and two others
who came very close to claiming major titles in the past year.
Patrick Reed won the Masters earlier this year after tying for second in the 2017 PGA Championship at
Quail Hollow in Charlotte. Reed finished two shots behind champion Justin Thomas. Reed also
contended in the 2018 U.S. Open, tying for fourth behind Brooks Koepka, and currently stands eighth on
the FedExCup points list and third in the U.S Ryder Cup standings. Reed, who led Augusta State to
consecutive NCAA Championships in 2010 and ’11, has placed among the top 30 in 11 of the last 15
majors and is going for a second 4-for-4 top-30 showing for the second time since 2015 after a T28 finish
in last week’s British Open.
Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson nearly scored his first major title in the 2010 PGA at
Whistling Straits, losing in a playoff to Martin Kaymer. However, other than the Masters, which he won
in 2012 and ’14 and placed fifth in this year, Watson’s runner-up finish in the 2010 PGA is his last top 10
in a major. He has three finishes between 11 and 26 in the PGA since his playoff loss. Watson, who
played his college golf at Georgia, has three wins this season, most recently in Hartford, but missed the
cut in both the U.S. and British Opens. He is fourth in the FedExCup standings and fifth in the Ryder Cup
after being passed over as a captain’s selection by Love in 2016.
Zach Johnson is looking to add a PGA Championship to his Masters victory in 2007 and British Open
triumph at St. Andrews in 2015. Johnson has competed in every major championship since the 2004 U.S.
Open, with his best PGA finish coming in the memorable 2010 PGA at Whistling Straits, where he
finished one shot out of the playoff. The St. Simons Island resident has 13 top-25 finishes this season but
only two top 10s, one of them coming in the fall of 2017 at Sea Island GC in the RSM Classic. He has
played consistently well of late, with four straight finishes between 12 th and 19 th , including a T12 in the
U.S. Open and a T17 in the British. He stands 49 th in FedExCup and 18 th on the Ryder Cup points list.
Kevin Kisner tied for seventh in last year’s PGA Championship after holding at least a share of the lead
after each of the first three rounds. He repeated that feat last week in the British Open, ending up tied
for second behind Francesco Molinari. Kisner, one of five ex-Georgia Bulldogs who will be in the PGA
field, has had an inconsistent season, losing to Watson in the Match Play finals and missing the cut in
both the Players and U.S. Open. He is 35 th in the FecExCup standings and needs a strong next few weeks
to move up from 13 th in the Ryder Cup.
Matt Kuchar joins Kisner in the running for a Ryder Cup berth, standing 12 th in the standings after a
mostly sub-standard 2017-18 season. Kuchar, who has qualified for the Tour Championship the last eight
years in a row, has a modest four top 10s, including a tie for ninth last week in the British Open., and is
64 th in the FedExCup. The St. Simons resident and former Georgia Tech All-American has 11 top 10s in
majors since 2010, and is one of the game’s best players without a win in a Grand Slam event.
Fellow St. Simons resident Brian Harman has cooled off a bit after a torrid start to the season, but
remains 25 th list and 15 th in the Ryder Cup standings. Harman, a Savannah native and ex-Georgia Bulldog,
has eight top 10s, but a T6 in Hartford is his only one since the Match Play in March. Harman hasn’t
done much in this year’s majors after tying for second in 2017 in the U.S. Open and for 13 th in the PGA.
Like Harman, Luke List also played his best golf earlier in the season, with his last top 10 coming in
Charlotte in early May. With five top 10s and 10 top 25s, List, who grew up in north Georgia, is enjoying
a breakthrough season, and is 27 th on the points list. He missed the cut in both the Players and U.S.
Open, and will be making just his fourth start in a major since 2007. He missed the cut in his PGA debut
last year, but is coming off a promising T39 showing last week in the British Open, his first made cut as a
pro in a major.
Patton Kizzire won two of the first 10 events on the 2017-18 schedule, but has all but vanished since
then, missing nine of his last 12 cuts, including the Players and both majors he qualified for. Despite his
lengthy stretch of poor play, Kiizzire remains 12 th in points thanks to his two wins and a near-victory in
Las Vegas. The St. Simons resident tied for 49 th in his only start in the PGA in 2016.
Chesson Hadley got off to a similar start to Harman last fall, and has also been unable to sustain his
torrid stretch of play from early in the season. He tied for eighth in the farewell stop of the tour’s event
in Washington, D.C., his first top 10 since the Heritage the week after the Masters. On the season, the
former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket has seven top 10s and 13 top 25s, including a T11 in the Players, but
missed the cut in both the U.S. and British Opens. His only made cut in five previous major starts came in
the 2015 PGA.
While several of the state’s PGA Tour members have slowed down a bit after fast starts, Augusta native
Charles Howell continues on the same steady pace that has been a hallmark of his career for almost two
decades. As usual, Howell has hovered just outside the top 30 for almost the entire season, and is
currently 38 th with four top 10s and 13 top 25s. A streak of 10 straight made cuts ended last week at the
British Open, but he had respectable showings earlier this year in the Players (T17) and U.S. Open (T25).
Howell has played in every PGA Championship but one since 2001, missing the 2016 event due to injury.
He tied for 10 th in the 2003 PGA at Oak Hill, his best finish in 44 career starts in majors.
Stewart Cink played in 17 straight PGAs from 1998-2014, and is back in the field after missing each of
the last three. At the age of 45, Cink is having his best season in several years, highlighted by
consecutive finishes of fourth in Memphis and second in Hartford, and is 66 th in the FedExCup. The
former Georgia Tech All-American and long time Duluth resident hasn’t done much in majors since his
playoff victory over Tom Watson in the 2009 British Open, but was T24 last week at Carnoustie. Cink
was T18 in the 2010 PGA, but missed the cut in each of his next four starts in the championship.
Ollie Schniederjans scored a pair of top 10s early in the year on the West Coast, but a tie for 26 th in his
last start at the Greenbrier is his best finish since. Schniederjans, a recent standout at Georgia Tech who grew up in Powder Springs, has missed only five of 21 cuts this season, one coming in the U.S. Open, his
first major start as a pro. This will be his first appearance in the PGA Championship, and he qualified by
finishing among the top 70 players on a money list between the 2017 and 2018 PGAs, largely on the
strength of a second place finish last year in Greensboro the week after the PGA. He is 86 th on the
FedExCup points list.
Russell Henley has just three top 10s this season, but two of them have come in recent weeks at
Hartford and the Greenbrier. He kept the momentum going with a 69 in the first round of the British
Open, his ninth straight score in the 60s, but an 80 the next day resulted in a missed cut and likely cost
him a spot in the WGC event at Firestone this week. The top 50 in the World Golf Rankings qualify, and
he dropped to 51 st , bumped out by Tiger Woods, whose tie for sixth at Carnoustie moved him up 21
spots. Henley, a Macon native and former Georgia Bulldog, finished T15 in the Masters and T25 in the
U.S Open earlier this year, and has finished 27 th or higher in nine of his last 13 starts in majors, but has
never cracked the top 10. He is 66 th on the points list.
Scott Brown made the field as a result of his tie for 13 th in last year’s PGA Championship. This will be the
fourth start in the PGA for the Augusta native, who is a neighbor of Kisner in nearby Aiken, S.C. Brown is
109 th in the FedExCup with his only top 10s of the season coming last fall. He tied for 23 rd in the Players
and a recent T12 in the John Deere is his best finish of 2018. This will be Brown’s only start in a major
Chris Kirk came into the Canadian Open 70 th on the money list for the PGA Championship, with the top
70 at the end of Sunday’s event earning a spot in the field, Even if Kirk is bumped out of the top 70, at
least several players just outside the top 70 will make the field as alternates, assuring him of a spot. Kirk
is 57 th in the FedExCup standings with four top 10s, including a T6 in Memphis, and has missed only
three cuts in 2018. Kirk recorded a pair of top 20s in majors in 2014, but has missed his last five cuts,
including all four in 2016. He has missed the cut in his last three starts in the PGA, and will be making his
only majors appearance in 2018.
Richy Werenski and Keith Mitchell, who played at Georgia Tech and Georgia respectively, were both
among the top five on the alternates list coming into the Canadian Open, and both have reasonable
hopes of making it into the 2018 PGA. Werenski was the third alternate, but is not playing this week and
will likely drop a few spots. Mitchell was fifth alternate and could move up with a decent finish.
Werenski, 88 th in the FedExCup standings, is coming off a tie for fourth in Memphis and a tie for second
last week in an opposite field event in Kentucky. He is in his second season on the PGA Tour and played
in the 2018 U.S. Open, Mitchell is a PGA Tour rookie and is 60 th in the standings with four top 10s, among them a tie for second
in the opposite field event in Puerto Rico, a T3 in the Byron Nelson and a recent T7 in the John Deere.
Mitchell, a St. Simons resident, would be making his first major start.
The veteran of the Georgia contingent is Love, who won the ’97 PGA at Winged Foot. The 54-year old
Love has made 10 PGA Tour starts this season, making the cut in five and is outside the top 200 on the
points list. He made his last cut in the PGA in 2011 and his last top 10 was a tie for fourth in 2005.
Although no Georgia PGA member is among the 20 club professionals who qualified for the PGA
Championship, there will be one PGA member with Georgia ties in the field. Johan Kok, who grew up in
Peachtree City and is currently a club pro in Tennessee, will be making his third straight start in the PGA.