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RTL Today – Scheffler is ahead of the PGA while Koepka and McIlroy take a big win

RTL Today – Scheffler is ahead of the PGA while Koepka and McIlroy take a big win

Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler, with four wins and a second-place finish in his past five starts, is the clear favorite for next week’s 106th PGA Championship in Valhalla.

But the 27-year-old American star has taken two weeks off ahead of the big showdown in Louisville, Kentucky, for a life-changing event outside of golf: his wife Meredith is soon to give birth to their first child.

Scheffler captured his second Masters green jacket in three seasons last month and then became the first player since 1985 to follow it up the following week by winning the Heritage tournament.

Scheffler won at Bay Hill and The Players Championship in March and then lost in a playoff at the Houston Open before taking his two titles in April.

“I have pretty high expectations for myself,” Scheffler said. “I’ve been working hard and playing good golf and it’s nice to see some results from that with wins.

“When things don’t go the way I think they should, it can be very frustrating.”

Scheffler, who has until Tuesday afternoon to commit or withdraw from the Valhalla showdown, is the PGA favorite, with Spaniard Jon Rahm and four-time major winner Rory McIlroy close behind.

They are followed by defending champion Brooks Koepka and Swede Ludvig Aberg, who skipped the final PGA Tour tune with a sore knee after finishing second at the Masters in his major debut.

American star Jordan Spieth will make his eighth attempt at completing a career Grand Slam by winning the PGA Championship.

Spieth, whose last PGA Tour win was at the 2022 Heritage, has been plagued by a left wrist injury he suffered just before last year’s PGA Championship, calling it a “come and go” thing.

The three-time major champion has missed the cut in four of his past six starts, including the Masters.

Valhalla will host its fourth PGA Championship, the others won by Mark Brooks in 1996, Tiger Woods in 2000 and McIlroy in 2014.

McIlroy has not won a major since his fourth-place finish at Valhalla a decade ago, racing through the darkness to beat Phil Mickelson by one stroke.

The 35-year-old Northern Irish star, winner in Dubai in January on the DP World Tour, captured his 25th PGA Tour title alongside Ireland’s Shane Lowry in the pairs event in Zurich last month.

“I felt like I needed something like that to get going and hopefully that’s the case,” McIlroy said.

McIlroy missed another chance at completing a Grand Slam career at the Masters but was boosted by his pairs title.

“I can’t remember driving the ball that well,” McIlroy said of his final round with Lowry. “It feels like it’s all starting to come together, which is great to see.”

– ‘Hard work pays off’ –

Five-time major winner Koepka is one of 16 LIV golfers who will compete in the PGA Championship, with majors still the only place where stars from the rival tours meet.

Koepka became the first active LIV golfer to take a major crown at the PGA at Oak Hill last year. He won LIV’s final PGA Championship tune-up last weekend in Singapore.

“It’s nice to see some of the results and hard work paying off,” Koepka said. “It’s all starting to work out fine. I put a lot of work into it.

“I like the way things are developing. We just have to go back next week and make sure everything is in order, do the right things and go from there.”

Several other major winners who jumped to LIV are in Valhalla, including fifth-placed Rahm of Spain, Cameron Smith of Australia, Americans Patrick Reed, Bryson DeChambeau, Mickelson and Dustin Johnson and German Martin Kaymer.

Also at Valhalla will be 15-time Major winner Tiger Woods, who won a Major there as part of his Tiger Slam in 2000-2001 when he defeated Bob May in a play-off. Woods struggled to complete 72 holes after a car accident in 2021 and finished 60th at the Masters.