Louis Oosthuizen teeters on missing three majors next season as three LIV golfers earn spots in 2023 British Open

Oosthuizen is teetering on the brink of missing three majors in 2023.

Unless the R&A announces a change in the criteria for earning spots in the British Open, South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen will have a chance to play next July at Royal Liverpool because he won the 2010 British Open at St. Andrews. All past winners are given a spot in the field until they reach age 60.

However, after tying for second at the 2021 PGA Championship, then being the runner-up at the U.S. Open and tying for third at the British Open that same year, Oosthuizen is teetering on the brink of missing the other three majors in 2023.

Last week, Golfweek explained to readers how pros earn spots in all four major championships, and while each uses a slightly different set of criteria to fill out their field, maintaining a high spot on the OWGR is a primary method elite golfers use. For instance, golfers ranked 50 or better on Dec. 31, 2022 can expect to get an invitation to compete in the 2023 Masters.

As of Monday morning, Oosthuizen is No. 49.

The OWGR does not award points for performances in LIV events, so like most LIV golfers, Oosthuizen’s spot on the OWGR has slowly risen since he was suspended from the PGA Tour. In his case, Oosthuizen has risen from No. 21 in early July to No. 49 on November 20. If he goes higher than 50, and he likely will in the next week or two, Oosthuizen will not meet any of the traditional criteria used by the Augusta National Golf Club to warrant an invitation. He also won’t have an exemption into next season’s PGA Championship. As for the U.S. Open, Oosthuizen will likely need to go through qualifying to get into the field at Los Angeles Country Club because the OWGR cutoff for an exemption has traditionally been No. 60 two weeks before sectional qualifying (May 23, 2023) or on the day of sectional qualifying (June 6, 2023).

Three other LIV golfers are likely feeling better than Oosthuizen on Monday because they appear to have earned spots in the field at the 2023 British Open.

Traditionally, golfers who finish in the top 30 in the DP World Tour’s Race to Duabi earn a spot in the following year’s British Open. Rory McIlroy won on Sunday, but Spain’s Adrian Otaegui finished 15th and fellow Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal finished 23rd. England’s Richard Bland finished 24th.

Those performances do not earn them a spot in any of the other three major championships and their world rankings of 98 (Otaegui), 86 (Larrazabal) and 89 (Bland) are not high enough to earn exemptions either.

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Why is the Official World Golf Ranking so important to LIV Golf? And how do pros qualify for majors?

Maintaining a high spot on the OWGR allows golfers who have never won a major to earn exemptions into future majors.

When stars like Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau joined LIV Golf, many focused on the nine-figure contracts these major champions reportedly signed, and their suspensions from the PGA Tour. Then Brooks Koepka signed with LIV, followed by Bubba Watson, Joaquin Niemann and the 2022 Players Championship and British Open winner, Cameron Smith.

But starting in September, the conversation shifted to the value of something that money can’t buy, at least not yet — Official World Golf Ranking points. In a statement on Sept. 21, LIV Golf commissioner Greg Norman stated that not only should LIV Golf competitors start getting OWGR points for their performances, but they should also retroactively get points for LIV events they had already played.

In the following weeks, Patrick Reed, Graeme McDowell and other LIV golfers questioned the legitimacy of the rankings if LIV players continued to be denied points for LIV events.

The rankings are crucial to LIV Series golfers for reasons that go beyond pride. Maintaining a high spot on the OWGR allows golfers who have never won a major championship to earn exemptions into future majors, and while each championship uses slightly different criteria to create its field, they each reward golfers with a high rank at specific times with an exemption into their tournament.

As of now, the governing bodies of golf’s four major championships — Augusta National Golf Club, the PGA of America, the United States Golf Association and the R&A — have not announced any changes to qualifying criteria for 2023. If nothing changes, the exemption lists below will be how professional golfers get into the field of next season’s Masters Tournament, PGA Championship, U.S. Open and British Open, along with the ways that professional golfers who compete on the LIV Series have already earned spots.

Golf architects Gil Hanse and Beau Welling like each other, and players will love what they’ve created at PGA Frisco

Spoiler alert: It’s yet to be announced, but the course is almost certain to be added as the 2041 Ryder Cup site.

FRISCO, Texas — If the coffee at the soon-to-be-completed Omni PGA Frisco Resort doesn’t give you a sufficient morning jolt, a peek at the scorecard of Gil Hanse’s Fields Ranch East Course certainly will.

The sprawling and spectacular track — part of a 660-acre complex that houses Hanse’s East Course, Beau Welling’s West Course and the PGA of America’s impressive new home — opens with what we can safely refer to as major numbers. Major as in the numerous championships that will be played there, including the 2027 and 2034 PGA Championship and the 2025 and 2031 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

And major in terms of sheer distance — like an opening three-hole stretch that can play to 1,699 yards, including a 633-yard first hole that often plays into a stiff breeze.

Don’t come here half-asleep, the East Course seems to be saying.

But while the complex, which sits on a rare bit of rolling land on the northern tip of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, will best be known for the 26 PGA of America championships scheduled over the next dozen years, there’s an interesting bit of behind-the-scenes symbiosis that’s led to the finished work.

The new PGA of America home at the Frisco complex. (Photo by Gabe Gudgel/Golfweek)

Teamwork was the key

Gil Hanse, a golf architect who can’t squeeze enough room into his planner for major course re-designs these days, and self-described project “underdog” Beau Welling formed an interesting and complementary team to make a special piece of property into something that will change the dynamic of golf in the state of Texas.

During a recent media preview, the two sat down for a fireside chat and explained that this was the first time they’d ever worked together, but both sides were excited about the possibility of collaborating again in the future.

Welling not only created the plan for the West Course, a challenging yet playable layout that rolls through the former ranch land, but he also developed the entire site plan, meaning he accounted for details like massive crowds, TV towers and even future concession stands.

It’s all part of a property that’s expected to drive massive tourism and growth in and around the yet-to-be-finished Omni, a resort that will include a two-acre putting course; an entertainment area named The Dance Floor with a massive TV screen to be programmed by PGA of America officials; and a par-3, 10-hole short course called “The Swing.”

But as for the main attraction, Hanse’s East Course, the idea was to make this a track that could challenge the best players in the world.

Spoiler alert: It’s yet to be announced and won’t officially be for years, but the common knowledge among all the key players is that if the course gets satisfactory marks during its run hosting the 2027 PGA Championship, it’s certain to be added as the 2041 Ryder Cup site.

Gil Hanse designed the East Course and Beau Welling designed the West Course at Fields Ranch on the PGA Frisco complex. (Photo by Gabe Gudgel/Golfweek)

Prepping for a major (and a Ryder Cup)

All this left Hanse with a massive challenge, but in recent years he and managing partner Jim Wagner have been given plenty of opportunities to tackle big things. The tandem’s original design skills were on full display at the Olympic Course for the 2016 Games in Brazil, and restorations to major-championship courses have included Winged Foot, Los Angeles Country Club, Oakland Hills South, Baltusrol, Southern Hills and beyond.

But instead of reworking an existing course in advance of a major, this job called for sculpting from conception. That allowed Hanse and Wagner to put some of their routing theories into action.

“When the stage is set, we’d rather see positive outcomes determine champions as opposed to negative outcomes. We really enjoy watching golfers making birdies and eagles to win, as opposed to some guy double bogeys, another guy bogeys and barely hangs on,” Hanse said. “And so the way we’ve set up the finish is we’ve got, you know, a pretty tough stretch of holes on the back nine — the drivable 15th, 16 is a hard four, but then 17 is the shortest par-3 on the golf course and 18 is a reachable five for all those guys.

“So they’re going to have to make decisions and, hopefully, they’ll have positive outcomes determine the way that it all falls out.”

Of course, Hanse didn’t create everything from scratch. He’s openly admitted to “borrowing” design concepts from some of the biggest names before him, a practice that worked well on this project. When asked if greats like Donald Ross, Perry Maxwell and Alister MacKenzie influence his work, Hanse didn’t hesitate to answer.

“Every day. Every day they do,” he said. “We’re fortunate that we are very active in that side of the business as well. And so we’re constantly trying to explore and figure out what they did at their particular projects. And Jim and I are both very open in that we steal ideas from them. If we see something that we really like, we’ll certainly borrow literally from that, but it’s also really nice because we can talk about situational things — that we don’t want to necessarily build that green that Ross built. But that green site feels a lot like (one) at Oakland Hills. And so, then there’s a context and we can talk about those things that way as opposed to — we’re going to build exactly a replica of that.

“But we were always influenced by them, because it’s the highest art form in our profession is, is created during those times. And so we’re always inspired and certainly informed by what they did.”

Moderator Stephen Reynolds, left, Gil Hanse, and Beau Welling, during a recent event in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Tim Schmitt/Golfweek)

Moving earth from west to east

While Hanse was working on his East behemoth, Welling was whittling away at some of the higher pieces of property on the ranch. The two realized early on that they had something the other needed.

The result was a massive movement of earth from the West Course to the East, largely to help the latter deal with Panther Creek, a tributary that winds through the region before dumping into Lewisville Lake.

Although the area is often dry, Hanse and Welling had to be ready for the occasional floods that plague the region. That led to loads of dirt being repurposed, although Welling wasn’t sure of the exact quantity.

“I’m terrible at numbers. I have no idea how much I don’t remember exactly. There was a big export of material from the west to the east,” Welling said. “So there were awesome parts of topography, like where the halfway house is, but then there’s all the stuff that was dead flat along Panther Creek and all that had to be amended in order to protect it from the floodwaters.

“And so we had to move the earth, not so much necessarily to create topography that we might have done along the way, but it really was just to elevate everything such that when the flood event does happen, it’s not inundating the investments been made in the golf courses.”

Although the area around the complex is still largely empty, a number of condominiums and mixed-use projects are either in the works or under construction. And Welling thinks that will make Fields Ranch even more important in years to come.

“I think what’s going to be really neat, long-term, is as the town and city now develops around them, this is going to be this oasis in the middle of the built-up environment that’s going to have flora and fauna and wildlife and whatnot,” he said.

Beau Welling, left, shows Gil Hanse a photo on his phone during a recent event in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Tim Schmitt/Golfweek)

More to come?

Although they’re very different creatures — for example, when Welling mentioned at dinner that he’d had someone dress up as Sasquatch to walk outside the window at his recent wedding, Hanse laughed in disbelief and asked to see pictures — the combination created magic in this bucolic Texas pasture.

“I knew innately from the original phone call, this was gonna be such a massive, special thing and we just wanted to be a part of it and to get to be able to work alongside Gil. His guys, as you know, are special. I certainly consider him friends of ours now, and we really had a great time with all this,” Welling said. “We talked about collaborating and it’s not some marketing thing we’re talking about. I think the two firms really got to appreciate each other and I think part of that is that we’re real people.

“Like we don’t just sit around and talk about golf all the time. So I remember great dinners or we talked about music, we talked about football and we talked about whatever, so it was just really a wonderful great experience.”

That’s when the question came of whether this was the first time the two had worked together.

“Yes,” Hanse said, looking over at Welling. “And hopefully not the last.”

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Full circle at Shoal Creek: An untold story of one man’s convictions changing racial inclusion at 1990 PGA Championship and golf as a whole

The convictions of one man changed the course of racial inclusion at the major in Alabama — and golf.

Pat Rielly was never afraid to stand up for the little guy.

In 1953, the 6-foot-tall junior reserve forward on the Sharon (Pennsylvania) High basketball team was on his way to play in the state regional finals in Pittsburgh when the team stopped for dinner in Zelienople, Pennsylvania, a borough north of Pittsburgh in the heart of coal and iron country. 

Rielly noticed that his three Black teammates – Charlie Shepard, Charlie Mitchell and Edward Woods – weren’t eating and sidled over to talk to them.

“I said, ‘What are guys doing? Are you saving your $5?’ ” Rielly recalled more than 60 years later. “Mitchell said, ‘They won’t serve us.’ I said, ‘Why?’ All three stared at me and said, ‘You know why.’ ” 

This sort of discrimination was illegal but still prevalent, even in southwestern Pennsylvania, and it sent Rielly into a rage. He was the eighth or ninth man on the team, a sub, but he knew right from wrong. When he approached the owner and asked politely why his teammates were being refused to be served, the owner didn’t hide his contempt. “We’re not serving any (N-word),” he said.

With the courage of his convictions, Rielly said they would not pay until the entire team was fed. The owner wouldn’t budge. Neither would Rielly.

“So, we got up and left,” Rielly said. “We stopped and got something to eat another 20 miles up the road, closer to Pittsburgh.”

To Rielly, his memory of the game, which the team won, paled in comparison to the lesson he learned that day.

“You do the right thing, and sometimes you get criticized for it,” he said. “But when you do the right thing for the right reasons, it turns out the right way always.”

Pat Rielly (pictured, back row, fourth from right) and his 1953 high school basketball team from Sharon, Pennsylvania (Courtesy of the Rielly family)

In the early 1960s, Rielly was traveling with a handful of fellow Marines. They needed a few more hours of flight time and convinced the pilot to fly to Reno, Nevada, the self-proclaimed “Biggest little city in the world,” where Las Vegas-style gambling, entertainment and dining is compressed into a few city blocks. As only Rielly could do, he placed a roulette bet not even understanding the rules and won several thousand dollars at a time when that was a lot of money. He took everyone to dinner and ordered a feast. After paying the bill, he still had a wad of cash left over, so he tipped the waiters generously, loaned some money to his pals and went into the kitchen. The employees stopped what they were doing to hear him speak.

“My mother was a dishwasher,” he said. “That’s why I was able to play golf on Mondays. This game has given me everything.”

Then he handed the dishwashers in the restaurant a stack of cash from his winnings. Most of them didn’t understand a word he said, but they shook his hand and gladly accepted the money.

These two dinner stories illustrate why Rielly was the right man at the right time to be serving as the 26th President of the PGA of America in 1990 when Shoal Creek Country Club in Birmingham, Alabama, was scheduled to host the PGA Championship, and professional golf would be forced to change its rules regarding clubs with exclusionary practices. This was uncharted territory for a golf association and a watershed moment in golf’s race relations. It demanded a leader with a dose of humility just below his confidence.

“His own personal integrity matched the integrity of the game he loved,” said Rielly’s longtime friend and former PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beman.

But it wasn’t until more than 20 years later that Rielly learned just how important his role in a long-forgotten dinner played in launching an era of inclusion. Then he insisted this story wait until after he died. Now it can be told.

‘He thought he left it short’: Caddie Travis Perkins on the 38-footer that Sam Burns buried to win the 2022 Charles Schwab Challenge

Caddie Travis Perkins talks about Sam Burns’ playoff win at the 2022 Charles Schwab Challenge.

“Conversations with Champions, presented by Sentry” is a weekly series from Golfweek in collaboration with The Caddie Network, where we take you behind the scenes for a chat with the winning caddie from the most recent PGA Tour event. This week: Travis Perkins, caddie for Sam Burns at 2022 Charles Schwab Challenge.

It went to a playoff but it was over before you knew it. Sam Burns knocked out good buddy Scottie Scheffler with a winding 38-footer from off the green on the first extra hole to win the 2022 Charles Schwab Challenge in dramatic fashion.

According to Burns’ caddie Travis Perkins, getting the flat stick out of the bag is always key for this duo.

“If I can get the putter in his hands, anything is possible,” Perkins told John Rathouz from The Caddie Network. The Schwab win was the third of the season for Burns and fourth in his PGA Tour career.

“I’m not saying it becomes easier but you learn how to deal with the emotions and what you’re going through inside and how your body is going to react,” Perkins said. “So I think all these wins that Sam has done, they’ve all been different. This one, coming from behind the way he did … you just never know what’s going to happen. And when you get into a playoff — it’s hard to win out there — you just try to do everything you can to keep yourself in it and try not to make mistakes.”

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Back to that putt that Burns buried from way downtown.

“We were only a couple of paces away in regulation from where that ball ended up in the playoff so he kinda had an idea of what it was doing,” Perkins said. “After he made it, he came over to me and he goes ‘I didn’t think that was going to get to the hole’ but the greens had picked up some speed because they dried out so much. He thought he left it short.”

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PGA of America sells major-championship site Valhalla Golf Club to Louisville investors

Several Valhalla members form investment group to buy Valhalla, past site of majors and a Ryder Cup as well as the 2024 PGA.

Valhalla Golf Club has been sold by the PGA of America to a group of Louisville investors who want to “continue to bring major championships” to Kentucky, according to new co-owner Jimmy Kirchdorfer.

“Valhalla, for a 36-year-old club, has amazing history,” said Kirchdorfer, an executive with ISCO Industries. “It’s already hosted a Ryder Cup and three major championships. We just saw it as important that this is returned to local ownership. That way, we can control. We know people are going to operate in the best interest of the community.”

Kirchdorfer is a Valhalla board member who joined the club in 2004 and has previously worked with the PGA on events that have been held at the course. Three other well-known local executives joined him in the purchase: former Yum! Brands CEO David Novak, Musselman Hotels President Chester Musselman and Junior Bridgeman, a former University of Louisville basketball player who built an entrepreneurial empire following a 12-year run in the NBA.

The PGA, which bought the course from founder Dwight Gahm in 2000, confirmed the sale in a Wednesday press release, and Valhalla members were informed in an email from Keith Reese, the club’s general manager. The sale is effective immediately, according to Kirchdorfer, who did not disclose the cost of the course.

Paul Azinger
USA captain Paul Azinger is sprayed with champagne after defeating the Europeans on Day 3 of the 37th Ryder Cup at the Valhalla Golf Club in 2008. (Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports)

“Valhalla Golf Club has proven itself to be a wonderful test of championship golf, one that is as fair as it is challenging for the top golfers in the world,” PGA of America President Jim Richerson wrote in the release. “We look forward to partnering with the new ownership group on a highly anticipated 2024 PGA Championship and working with the new owners to continue to have it as one of our championship sites.”

Valhalla, which stands on nearly 500 acres in eastern Jefferson County, is “an icon in the community,” Kirchdorfer said. It had been the only private club owned and operated by the PGA, and it was ranked by Golfweek’s Best as the No. 1 private course in the state. It ties for No. 74 on Golfweek’s Best 2022 ranking of Modern Courses in the U.S.

The course was designed by golf legend Jack Nicklaus ahead of its opening in 1986 and has hosted three PGA Championship tournaments, including a famed victory by Tiger Woods in 2000. It was home to the Ryder Cup in 2008, bringing stars of the sport from around the world to Louisville, and is set to host the PGA Championship again in 2024.

The 2024 event, which tournament officials say could pump $100 million into the local economy, will not be affected by the sale.

Kirchdorfer, a longtime golf advocate, said he got to work forming a group to bid on Valhalla after members were informed in November that the PGA had been approached by a potential buyer and would entertain other offers. All four buyers are longtime members of the club.

Tiger Woods 2000 PGA
Tiger Woods celebrates making a birdie putt on the 18th hole to force a playoff at the 2000 PGA Championship at the Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky. (Donald Miralle/Allsport)

Valhalla’s status brings value to the community, he said, which the ownership group took into consideration. And while some club members expressed concerns over potential redevelopment when it hit the market last year, Kirchdorfer said the 18-hole course isn’t going anywhere.

Instead, the ownership group will work to highlight “Kentucky hospitality,” he said, and “build upon the great tradition and culture that’s already there.” So, concerned club members and others in the Louisville golf community have got that going for them, which is nice.

“Valhalla’s the crown jewel of Kentucky golf, and we wanted it locally owned like it was with the Gahm family,” Kirchdorfer said. “The Gahm family had an amazing vision and took a big risk when they took a farm and hired Jack Nicklaus to build a golf course with the hopes of bringing major championship golf to this community – and they succeeded, which a lot of people don’t.

“We just wanted to make sure that the next owners had the same mission of doing what’s best for Valhalla and the community of Louisville.”

The new owners have plenty of work to do in the next two years ahead of the 2024 PGA Championship, set for May 16-19 that year. The group plans to invest in the property to ensure it’s a “reflection of our community,” Kirchdorfer said.

An impressive turn at that 2024 tournament can send a message to the PGA – which works to promote the game with more than 28,000 members – that Louisville is a capable host for the sport’s biggest moments, according to Kirchdorfer, who previously served as vice chair of a Louisville PGA Championship.

“When we show how much this community will support the ’24 championship, we’re confident they’ll continue to bring more championships,” he said.

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Remember the no-phone guy? Well, he signed a merchandise deal with Michelob Ultra

It pays to actually watch the golf.

It’s become all too common at PGA Tour events over the last few seasons. A star of the game hits it into the people, the fans flock to the ball like seagulls chasing down your chips at the beach, then when the player actually hits the shot, zero eyeballs see it. They all watch it through their phones, taking a video they’ll never watch again.

Just another reason why the Masters is king.

Well, a fan went old-school at last week’s PGA Championship when Tiger Woods hit a wayward drive and had to hit a heroic punch shot from the trees. Every other fan in this incredible photo watched through the lens of their smartphone while one man stood there, beer in hand, taking in the GOAT at work.

Fans at home weren’t the only ones to notice this guy — so did Michelob Ultra, the very beer the man was holding.

A few days after the photo was taken, Mark, the fan, and Michelob Ultra agreed on a deal that resulted in a 15-second advertisement centered around the photo, then a merchandise line that included a shirt and hat with Mark on it.

Michelob Ultra ad

Pretty intense for a beer commercial, but pretty damn cool.


Click here to purchase the shirt, and here for the hat.

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Here’s how Justin Thomas recovered from ‘the best bogey of my life’ to win the PGA Championship

“I’ve never won a tournament shanking a ball on Sunday, so that was a first, and man, I would really like it to be a last.”

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TULSA, Okla. – Justin Thomas rested his left hand against a handle of the Wanamaker Trophy during his winner’s press conference for the 104th PGA Championship with the insouciance of a man who had just been reunited with an old friend.

He had reacquired possession of the gigantic silver trophy for the first time since 2017, back when it was handed out in August. But his playoff victory over Will Zalatoris on Sunday was not without its shaky moments, none more so than when he shanked his 5-iron tee shot at the par-3 sixth hole.

“I just cold shanked it,” Thomas conceded afterward. “I don’t really know how else to say it. It was the best bogey I’ve ever made in my life, that’s for sure.”

Caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay noted that Thomas caught “a great break” that the ball didn’t go into a penalty area, namely the creek that meanders through the hole.

“He had a great lie and 118 yards but he went under it and hit a tree very hard and that could’ve gone anywhere and it went back into the bunker. Then he hit one of his three or four best shots of the day, a cutty pitching wedge from out of the bunker from about 100 yards to 20 feet and then he makes it.”

It turned out to be the final bogey Thomas would make that day. How did he right the ship? Bones explained: “You want something out there almost to take your mind off it and to have some fun,” he explained. “He hits this great drive on the seventh hole and I get the yardage and we’ve got to hit 5-iron again.”

For those scoring at home, that would be the club that Thomas dropped in disgust on impact and had made him look like a Sunday Joe and not a soon-to-be two-time major champion.

“So, very next hole, water right of the green, green sloping left to right, he’s got to step up and hit a shot with the club he shanked 20 minutes ago,” Bones continued, “and he hit arguably his best shot of the day. We were remarking that it was his best full swing of the week and he hit it to 10 feet.”

ShotLink had it at 9 feet, 4 inches. And from there through the playoff, Thomas was money.

Justin Thomas speaks to the media after winning the 104th PGA Championship and reclaiming possession of the Wanamaker Trophy for the next year. (Adam Schupak/Golfweek)

“It was a hang-in-there day,” Bones added. “It seemed like the type of golf course that you could come from way back.”

They did just that, erasing a seven-stroke deficit as Mito Pereira and others faltered down the stretch. When it was all said and done and the trophy belonged to Thomas again, Thomas and Mackay joked about the shank, just as JT emptied his pockets and strapped on his Rolex watch before the official trophy ceremony.

“It was a shanky-barkie-sandy,” Bones cracked. “At least that’s what we’d call it at the club.”

As Thomas said in his CBS-TV interview, “I’ve never won a tournament shanking a ball on Sunday, so that was a first, and man, I would really like it to be a last.”

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PGA Championship: Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay finally gets the caddie trophy he’s long desired

After all these years, Jim “Bones” Mackay got the caddie trophy he’s always wanted.

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TULSA, Okla. – Jim “Bones” Mackay received some help unscrewing the 18th-hole flag from the stick not long after his boss, Justin Thomas, had tapped in to beat Will Zalatoris in a playoff to win the 104th PGA Championship at Southern Hills.

It was for a moment such as this that Bones, 56, dropped the mic for NBC Sports and Golf Channel and returned to caddying for the one player he’d told his wife if he ever got the chance to work for, they’d be having a conversation.

When Thomas approached Bones shortly after the 2021 Ryder Cup and asked him to become his full-time caddie, it was an easy decision for Bones. Thomas wanted him on the bag for moments such as Saturday evening, when a dejected Thomas sensed that his 4-over 74 in the third round had cost him the tournament. Despite the fact that Thomas would be entering the final round trailing by seven strokes, Bones delivered the tough love that was necessary.

“I’m fully confident in saying that I wouldn’t be standing here if he didn’t give me that, wasn’t necessarily a speech, but a talk, if you will,” Thomas said. “I just needed to let some steam out. I didn’t need to bring my frustration and anger home with me. I didn’t need to leave the golf course in a negative frame of mind. I just went down, ‘I played pretty well yesterday for shooting 4-over, and I felt like I’d played terrible.’ And he was just like, ‘Dude, you’ve got to be stop being so hard on yourself. You’re in contention every single week we’re playing.’ ”

PGA: Leaderboard | Photos | Winner’s bag

Bones continued: “It’s a major championship. You don’t have to be perfect. Just don’t be hard on yourself. Just kind of let stuff happen, and everything is trending in the right direction. So just keep staying positive so that good stuff can happen.”

“I left here in an awesome frame of mind,” Thomas said.

On Sunday, after taking a few last putts on the practice green, Thomas handed his putter back to Bones. No words were exchanged, but Thomas calmly took the fresh glove Bones had rested over an alignment stick and started walking towards the golf carts that were shuttling players and caddies to the first tee. Kids along a railing called out to him, but his mind was elsewhere. Instead, he slapped the glove against his right thigh. Hard. He did it again, and then a third time. He was in the frame mind to pounce if any of the inexperienced leaders faltered.

It didn’t look that way early when Thomas made two bogeys in his first six holes, including a shank off the tee at the par-3 sixth hole that Bones later joked was “a shanky, barkie, sandy.” Thomas found his stride and shot 67, the only player in the last seven groups Sunday to break par, and when he ended up in a three-hole playoff, he went for the kill.

“Bones did an unbelievable job of keeping me in the moment,” Thomas said.

PGA: Leaderboard | Photos | Winner’s bag
Justin Thomas and Bones Mackay on the 11th hole during the final round of the 2022 PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club.. (Photo: Matt York/Associated Press)

Winning majors is old hat for Bones, who had won five previously during his 25 years on the bag for Phil Mickelson. But he didn’t have the caddie trophy to show for it.

As detailed in the new book, “Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and unauthorized) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar,” Mickelson had a tradition where he gave his winning flag from 18 to his grandfather, a former Pebble Beach caddie, who hung them on his kitchen wall. Mickelson’s first major flag from the 2004 Masters went there, four months after his death.

“Mackay understood and respected that gesture, but 19 more Tour victories would follow, including four majors and he never got to keep a single flag,” Shipnuck wrote.

“That’s a giant f— you to a caddie,” Shipnuck quotes someone very close to Mackay. “When Phil wins the Masters, he gets the green jacket, the trophy, the big check, all the glory. He had to take the flags, too?… For Phil not to follow the tradition was hugely disrespectful.”

During the week of the WM Phoenix Open, Bones hosted a dinner party for players and caddies at his home and without fail he would be asked, “Where are the flags?”

Shortly after their break-up in the summer of 2017, Mickelson overnighted to Bones the major flags they had won together.

“But Phil autographed them in comically large letters, which Mackay felt disfigured the keepsakes,” Shipnuck reported and noted that Bones never displayed them in his home.

Bones didn’t participate in Shipnuck’s book, and when asked to confirm these details from Shipnuck’s book this week, he declined. But he also didn’t refute them.

It is rich with irony that Bones was on the bag for the winner at the PGA where Mickelson was supposed to be the defending champion and elected not to play. On Sunday, Bones tucked the 18th flag into the left pocket of his shorts.  When asked if he knew where he would display it, he smiled wide.

“I’ve got a spot in mind,” he said, saying he’d have to get approval from his wife, “but somewhere that my friends can come around and see it.”

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2022 PGA Championship prize money payouts for each player at Southern Hills in Tulsa

The top three finishers at Southern Hills, site of the 2022 PGA Championship, earned more than $1 million.

TULSA, Okla. — The 2022 PGA Championship purse was boosted to $15 million dollars this year by the PGA of America.

That raised the first-place check to the whopping sum of $2.7 million. In fact, the top three finishers at Southern Hills Country Club earned more than $1 million.

That first-place check is going to Justin Thomas, who won the PGA for the second time. He defeated Will Zalatoris in the three-hole aggregate playoff.

The 2021 PGA Championship winner, Phil Mickelson, took home $2.16 million.

Take a look at the complete final money list from the second men’s major of the year.

2022 PGA Championship prize money

Pos Player Score Winnings
T1 Justin Thomas -5* $2,700,000
T1 Will Zalatoris -5 $1,620,000
T3 Mito Pereira -4 $870,000
T3 Cameron Young -4 $870,000
T5 Matthew Fitzpatrick -3 $530,417
T5 Tommy Fleetwood -3 $530,417
T5 Chris Kirk -3 $530,417
8 Rory McIlroy -2 $436,600
T9 Abraham Ancer -1 $357,813
T9 Tom Hoge -1 $357,813
T9 Seamus Power -1 $357,813
T9 Brendan Steele -1 $357,813
T13 Tyrrell Hatton E $253,750
T13 Lucas Herbert E $253,750
T13 Max Homa E $253,750
T13 Davis Riley E $253,750
T13 Justin Rose E $253,750
T13 Xander Schauffele E $253,750
T13 Cameron Smith E $253,750
T20 Sam Burns 1 $191,250
T20 Talor Gooch 1 $191,250
T20 Webb Simpson 1 $191,250
T23 Stewart Cink 2 $129,768
T23 Rickie Fowler 2 $129,768
T23 Lucas Glover 2 $129,768
T23 Shane Lowry 2 $129,768
T23 Kevin Na 2 $129,768
T23 Joaquin Niemann 2 $129,768
T23 Aaron Wise 2 $129,768
T30 Tony Finau 3 $83,750
T30 Bubba Watson 3 $83,750
T30 Bernd Wiesberger 3 $83,750
T30 Adri Arnaus 3 $83,750
T34 Brian Harman 4 $61,607
T34 Matt Kuchar 4 $61,607
T34 Marc Leishman 4 $61,607
T34 Keith Mitchell 4 $61,607
T34 Patrick Reed 4 $61,607
T34 Jordan Spieth 4 $61,607
T34 Gary Woodland 4 $61,607
T41 Viktor Hovland 5 $43,839
T41 Kyoung-hoon Lee 5 $43,839
T41 Luke List 5 $43,839
T41 Troy Merritt 5 $43,839
T41 Kevin Streelman 5 $43,839
T41 Cameron Tringale 5 $43,839
T41 Adam Schenk 5 $43,839
T48 Keegan Bradley 6 $32,146
T48 Laurie Canter 6 $32,146
T48 Cameron Davis 6 $32,146
T48 Jon Rahm 6 $32,146
T48 Harold Varner III 6 $32,146
T48 Denny McCarthy 6 $32,146
54 Ryan Fox 7 $29,250
T55 Jason Day 8 $27,925
T55 Brooks Koepka 8 $27,925
T55 Francesco Molinari 8 $27,925
T55 Collin Morikawa 8 $27,925
T55 Sebastian Munoz 8 $27,925
T60 Lanto Griffin 9 $26,125
T60 Russell Henley 9 $26,125
T60 Rikuya Hoshino 9 $26,125
T60 Si Woo Kim 9 $26,125
T60 Jason Kokrak 9 $26,125
T60 Hideki Matsuyama 9 $26,125
T60 Louis Oosthuizen 9 $26,125
T60 Charl Schwartzel 9 $26,125
68 Billy Horschel 10 $25,000
T69 Kramer Hickok 11 $24,625
T69 Beau Hossler 11 $24,625
T71 Adam Hadwin 12 $24,250
T71 Justin Harding 12 $24,250
T71 Shaun Norris 12 $24,250
T71 Thomas Pieters 12 $24,250
T75 Patton Kizzire 15 $23,950
T75 Maverick McNealy 15 $23,950
77 Robert MacIntyre 17 $23,800
78 Sepp Straka 18 $23,700

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