As a kid one always thought of the Open Championships or the Masters, but now I frequently look at the PGA Championships with fond memories. When I tee off on Friday afternoon, it will be the fifth successive time I would have played this Major, which traditionally has come as the last one each season.
I have made the cut twice in four appearances, but it has also provided me with my best Major result -Tied fifth at Whistling Straits in 2015. That was the breakout year for me with wins at Malaysian Championships and Hero Indian Open.
The PGA Championships that year gave me a great finish, though I am often reminded of the initial disappointment that enveloped me after the finish. One place better and I would have got my PGA card there and then. I had to go through Web Series Finals before getting to the PGA. It was an experience I learnt a lot from.
The 2015 PGA has been a while now, but there are some similarities. I went into Whistling Straits after playing WGC-Bridgestone, where I had back spasms, but I fought back on the weekend with 67-71.
So, I was high on confidence when I went for the PGA Championships and I was also high on energy. It is the same this time after a good WGC finish.
Last week, while playing the final round with Phil Mickelson I had a chance to discuss a bit about Bellerive with him. Phil is one of the legends of our game and he is very helpful.
Talking of WGC, last week was a good one with a T-6 at WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone, Akron in Ohio. It came with mixed feelings - I was happy to get my best WGC result, but sad to see the venue hosting its last WGC event. I have always liked the course and I don’t know when we will be back there. However, it is time to move on.
Getting to my game, I must say that week in Akron was a good one. I played in wind and I hit solid. But unfortunately I did not putt as consistently as I have been in the past. I could have been a lot better with slightly improved showing on the greens.
Yet, I am happy with my game, which is in good shape. There certainly is no extra pressure because of those being a ‘Major’ week. I have played enough of them to approach them with some calm.
This is my 15th Major, which takes me one ahead of Jeev Milkha Singh. But numbers don’t matter, because Jeev for me was one my early heroes and he is a great guy with a Top-10 in the event in 2008 to become the first Indian with a Top-10 in a Major. Personally, It is a nice feeling to have played 15 Majors, but I wish I had done better finishes in some of them.
Yes, Justin Thomas is in great form, while Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and others are itching for another Major, but most eyes will be on Tiger Woods after his T-6 at the Open.