The PGA of America released the pairings and tee times for the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits on Friday afternoon. One group, naturally, stood out the most: defending champion Rory McIlroy, reigning Masters and U.S. Open champion Jordan Spieth and Open champion Zach Johnson, who will be kicking off their run for the Wanamaker Trophy at 1:20pm local.
Now, the inclusion of McIlroy in the pairings has got everyone jumping for joy, as it appears to be yet another indication that the world no. 1 will be fit enough to play in the year’s final major. The 26-year-old golfer suffered a rupture of his ligaments in his left ankle after a friendly kickabout in early July, forcing him to withdraw from the Scottish Open, Open Championship and this week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
However, McIlroy has given numerous hints via his social media channels that he will indeed make it for his tee time with Spieth and Johnson next Thursday. On Wednesday he posted a video on his Instagram account during a training session, showing him balancing his weight on his left leg and swinging a medicine ball (which looked hard enough to make my ankle sore).
Next, McIlroy posted another video on Instagram of him hitting driver, with the caption, “Feels good to hit the driver again.”
McIlroy took it a step further on Friday morning, tweeting a picture of the inside of a private plane with a bunch of emojis that included a private plane, a thumbs-up, a peace sign, and a golf flag. From what I can interpret, it appears that McIlroy is leaving Portugal, where he has been rehabbing his ankle, and headed for the United States and given the OK to play golf.
However, many questions remain unanswered and we’ll only know for sure if McIlroy’s left ankle is strong enough to hold up in competition when next Thursday rolls around, but as of now, all signs point toward the fact that he has been cleared by doctors to play.
Meanwhile, other notable pairings include Sergio Garcia, Louis Oosthuizen and Bill Haas, who tee off at 7:25 Thursday. They’re followed at 7:35 by Justin Rose, Brandt Snedeker and Geoff Ogilvy. Next, the trio of Bubba Watson, who lost in a playoff to Martin Kaymer the last time the PGA was held at Whistling Straits, Jim Furyk and Paul Casey, tee off at 7:45 in the first round.
The group I’d want to catch for sure in the morning wave is Dustin Johnson, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler, who are arguably the best three young guns yet to win a major championship — they tee off at 8:05 Thursday. Following them are a threesome of former PGA Champions, Tiger Woods, Keegan Bradley and Martin Kaymer.
Consider checking out the long-hitting ballstriking trio of Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott and Brooks Koepka, who start at 1:10pm in the first round. Finally, at 1:30pm, another trio of former PGA Champions kick off their campaign for the Wanamaker Trophy, with Phil Mickelson, Jason Dufner and Padraig Harrington.
Here’s a full list of pairings and tee times for the first two rounds: