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World's Top Golfers Coming to Valhalla for 96th PGA Championship; Early Pairings Set

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Some of the world’s top professional golfers have begun arriving in Louisville for next week’s PGA Championship, the last of the game’s four major competitions of the season.    

Valhalla Golf Club is hosting the PGA Championship for the third time.    The last one was in 2000, when Tiger Woods took home the Wannamaker Trophy after defeating Bob May in a playoff.PGA Chief Championships Officer Kerry Haig says the field of 156 will include the game’s best players."We currently have 99 of the top 100 golfers in the official world golf rankings all entering and all playing here next week.  And with that obviously Tiger Woods is one of those great players," he said. Woods is looking for his first major championship victory since 2008.    He missed part of this year’s tour after undergoing back surgery.The four-day PGA Championship begins next Thursday.   The first ticketed day for spectators is Monday, when they can begin watching practice rounds.Meanwhile, the pairings and start times have been set for the first two rounds of the PGA Championship. In keeping with tradition, the winners of the first three major championships of the season will play together.  They are Masters champion Bubba Watson, U.S  Open winner Martin Kaymer and  British Open champion Rory McIlroy.Four-time PGA champion Tiger Woods, who won the 2000 championship at Valhalla, will be teamed with PGA winners Phil Mickelson and Padraig Harrington.The field also includes two Kentuckians, Kenny Perry and J.B. Holmes, and Kentucky native Brian Norman, who’s now a club professional in Texas.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.