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Photo: Gary Kellner/PGA of America via Getty Images

The 2020 PGA Championship tees off Thursday at San Francisco's TPC Harding Park, which is hosting its first-ever major.

Why it matters: It's the first major in more than a year — and the first of seven majors in the next 12 months. Though there won't be any fans in attendance, the excitement is palpable.

  • "We are about to enter, starting Thursday, the greatest stretch of golf in the history of the game," sportscaster Jim Nantz said.

The state of play: Naturally, the field is loaded, featuring 95 of the world's top 100 golfers.

  • Brooks Koepka is going for his third straight PGA Championship title, a feat never accomplished since it switched to stroke play in 1958 (Walter Hagen won four in a row in match play during the 1920s).
  • Tiger Woods appears set to make a rare putter switch, using his backup Scotty Cameron instead of the famous Newport-2 he used to win 14 of his 15 majors.
  • Justin Thomas is currently ranked No. 1 in the world and is coming off an impressive World Golf Championship win. He won the 2017 PGA Championship and finished tied for sixth in 2018 (didn't play in 2019).
  • Bryson DeChambeau is absolutely crushing the ball off the tee. That makes him a favorite, as Harding Park's thick rough favors big bombers because it's far easier hit short irons out of it than it is to hit long irons.

TPC Harding Park is a city-owned course, with roughly 65,000 rounds played there each year, some for as little as $50.

  • This makes it arguably "the most unpretentious site ever to host a major," said Phil Ginsburg, general manager of San Francisco's Recreation and Parks Department.
  • "One side is lined by dorms and apartment buildings across a busy boulevard, fenced by chain-link," writes the New York Times' John Branch.
  • "There is no chateaux-style clubhouse, and amid the cart-pulling, bag-carrying golfers are joggers and dog walkers."
  • "But the course is blessed with a classic layout — tight fairways lined by majestic cypress trees, its front nine folded inside a back nine that unwinds alongside Lake Merced."

Go deeper

Oct 28, 2020 - Sports

Los Angeles Dodgers win World Series

Mookie Betts slides home safely to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Dodgers won their seventh World Series in franchise history with a 3-1 Game 6 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday. Shortstop Corey Seager was named the series MVP.

The big picture: It's the Dodgers' first championship since 1988, though they've won the NL West division in eight straight seasons and reached the World Series three times in the last four years.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
27 mins ago - Economy & Business

2021's expected earnings blowout begins

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. Photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

First-quarter earnings so far have been very strong, outpacing even the rosy expectations from Wall Street and that's a trend that's expected to continue for all of 2021. S&P 500 companies are on pace for one of the best quarters of positive earnings surprises on record, according to FactSet.

Why it matters: The results show that not only has the earnings recession ended for U.S. companies, but firms are performing better than expected and the economy may be justifying all the hype.

27 mins ago - Science

NASA's Mars helicopter takes flight as first aircraft piloted on another planet

Ingenuity on the surface of Mars, filmed by NASA's Perseverance rover. Photo: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA successfully piloted the Ingenuity Mars helicopter for its first experimental flight on Monday, briefly hopping the aircraft as NASA's Perseverance rover collected data.

Why it matters: Ingenuity's short flight marks the first time a human-built aircraft has flown on a world other than Earth, opening the door to new means of exploring planets far from our own.