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PGA Championship storylines: Tiger Woods' return, Jordan Spieth's Grand Slam bid and more

A career Grand Slam for Jordan Spieth? A major challenge for Tiger Woods? A return to action for Bryson DeChambeau? More Scottie Scheffler success? A third PGA Championship win for Rory McIlroy? Watch the PGA Championship all week on Sky Sports Golf

Jordan Spieth tees off of the second hole during the third round of the AT&T Byron Nelson golf tournament in McKinney, Texas, on Saturday, May 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Emil Lippe)

Six storylines to follow ahead of the PGA Championship, live this week on Sky Sports Golf, ranging from injury comebacks and historic attempts to more potential controversy!

Can Spieth complete the career Grand Slam?

Following Rory McIlroy's best attempt yet at completing the career Grand Slam at The Masters last month, it will be Jordan Spieth's turn in similar circumstances this week at Southern Hills.

McIlroy admitted he was happy to undertake his preparation at Augusta National largely "unhindered" thanks to the presence of a certain Tiger Woods, the last of the five men to have won all four major titles.

MCKINNEY, TX - MAY 14: Jordan Spieth looks on while waiting to putt on the 6th green during the third round of the AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, TX.  (Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire)
Image: Jordan Spieth will be looking to create golfing history at the PGA Championship this week

This week, it will be the absence of defending champion Phil Mickelson which will dominate the conversation, which could be good news in Spieth's pursuit to win his missing major and join golf's exclusive club.

Spieth's best result in the event is second behind Jason Day in 2015, the year he won The Masters and US Open and missed out on a play-off in the Open at St Andrews by a single shot, while he was also a somewhat distant third to Brooks Koepka in 2019.

The three-time major winner bounced back from missing the cut at The Masters last month to win the RBC Heritage the following week, despite struggling in the putting statistics, with Spieth following it up by producing an impressive showing in his runner-up finish at the AT&T Byron Nelson.

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Watch highlights of the final round of the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links, where Jordan Spieth was victorious in a playoff over Patrick Cantlay.

Only Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Woods have won the career Grand Slam in the modern era, although it would be little surprise to see Spieth's name added to that list if all areas of his game are firing in the Oklahoma heat.

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What should we expect from Tiger?

The former world No 1 is listed in the field for this week's event at Southern Hills, the venue where Woods famously won the 13th of `15 major titles when the venue last hosted the PGA Championship in 2007.

Woods has not played competitively since finishing 47th at The Masters last month, his first top-level event for nearly 17 months and the first since suffering career-threatening leg injuries in a car crash last February.

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Ahead of this week's PGA Championship, check out the top 10 shots ever played at the tournament.

The 46-year-old had admitted ahead of his highly publicised comeback that amputation of his right leg had been "on the table", with a return to competitive golf under threat until his impressive display at Augusta National.

Woods produced a remarkable opening-round 71 before fading with rounds of 74, 78 and 78, with the five-time Masters champion saying after his week that he remained hopeful of teeing it up in the remaining majors this year.

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After a remarkable comeback at the Masters, Tiger Woods is playing a practice round at the Southern Hills Country Club ahead of a potential appearance at the PGA Championship.

He did take a recent scouting trip to Southern Hills, playing all 18 holes with the club's director of golf Cary Cozby as his caddie, while hot temperatures in Tulsa will be more favourable to Woods than the cold conditions he experienced at Augusta.

Will DeChambeau be fit to return?

Bryson DeChambeau looked destined to miss the second men's major of the year after undergoing wrist surgery last month, although recent footage on social media suggests the former US Open champion could be close to making a competitive return.

DeChambeau suffered an injury-plagued start to 2022 and had been warned by doctors against teeing it up at The Masters last month, having been limited to three starts early in the campaign before taking six weeks off to try to fix hand and hip issues.

The powerful hitter struggled to early exits at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and Valero Texas Open before missing the cut by eight shots at Augusta National, with DeChambeau initially saying he hoped to be back competing "within the next two months" after his wrist surgery.

Faxon and Chamblee at the PGA Championship

DeChambeau, who remains listed in the field this week, posted a full-driver-swing video to his Twitter account showing 192 miles per hour ball speed and a 342-yard carry, indicating that a comeback could be sooner than anticipated.

Golf Channel reports indicate the eight-time PGA Tour winner is on his way to Tulsa with the intention of competing, providing he experiencing no hand issues over the coming days. A risky move? Only time will tell.

Is this the week McIlroy ends his major drought?

Highlights from Rory McIlroy's dominant eight-shot victory at the 2012 PGA Championship.
Image: McIlroy won the PGA Championship in both 2012 and 2014

The four-time major champion is now a combined 35-over-par in the first round of majors since his most recent success at the 2014 PGA Championship, compared to 68 under for the final three rounds over the same period.

McIlroy's final-day charge at The Masters saw him post a runner-up finish, his best in 14 appearances at Augusta National, although a better Thursday could have seen him challenge for his only missing major.

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The former world No 1 rallied over the weekend to follow a one-under 71 with a round-of-the-day 64 on Sunday, seeing him jump from ten strokes back to get within three shots of eventual champion Scottie Scheffler.

McIlroy followed that performance up with a solid top-five finish while defending his Wells Fargo Championship title, with the Northern Irishman looking to avoid another slow start this week as he looks to end his major winless streak.

Can Scheffler continue his winning streak?

A tied-15th finish at the AT&T Byron Nelson on Sunday marked a rather average week by Scheffler's new high expectations, having dominated the golfing world during his remarkable start to 2022.

His major breakthrough at The Masters was his fourth PGA Tour win in six starts, adding to his previous success at the WM Phoenix Open, Arnold Palmer Invitational, and the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. Not since Jason Day in 2015 has a PGA Tour pro produced four wins in a six-start stretch.

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A look at how 2022 Masters champion Scottie Scheffler has risen through the ranks to become world number one.

The world No 1 now has the opportunity to become the first player since Spieth in 2015 to win the first two majors of the year, while Southern Hills assistant pro Cameron Chhim claimed that Scheffler shot an "easy" 64 during a practice round at the par-70 layout earlier this month.

Scheffler has previously enjoyed success at the venue, having won the 2015 Big 12 Conference Championship while representing the University of Texas, with the 25-year-old openly admitting to Southern Hills being one of his favourite courses. Will more major success follow as a result?

Will the Mickelson and Saudi backlash continue?

Mickelson won't defend his title this week, with the 51-year-old still taking a break from the sport since the fall-out from his explosive comments about the PGA Tour and the Saudi-backed breakaway LIV Golf Investments Series.

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Claude Harmon III shares his thoughts on Phil Mickelson following his withdrawal from the PGA Championship, of which he is the defending champion.

Golf's oldest major champion had initially registered for this week's major, despite his agent saying at the time he had no "concrete plans" about a return to action, only to inform the PGA of America earlier his month that he was going to withdraw.

He has not played since February's Saudi International, shortly after which his comments about the PGA Tour and the Saudi-backed events - fronted by Greg Norman - were made public.

In an interview with the author of a forthcoming biography, due to be released this week, Mickelson admitted he was well aware of Saudi Arabia's "horrible record on human rights", but was using the threat of a breakaway to "reshape" how the Tour operates.

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Claude Harmon III claims that LIV Golf and the Saudi Series is the 'elephant in the living room of golf' and adds that ‘players are like penguins, sitting on the edge of ice waiting for one to jump’.

The PGA Tour rejected requests from players for authorisation to play the first event, staged at Centurion Club in Hertfordshire from June 9-11, explaining that the decision is in the "best interests of the Tour and the players".

Only a handful of players have so far openly admitted to requesting a release, although the pre-tournament press conferences this week are likely to be dominated about more conversation surround the LIV Golf Investments Series and what it could mean for golf going forward.

Who will lift the Wanamaker Trophy this week? Watch the PGA Championship live from Thursday at 1pm on Sky Sports Golf!

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