John Bickerton, Anthony Wall and Simon Kahn have all been rewarded for their good recent form by being invited to take part in the final Major tournament of the 2006 season, the USPGA Championship. The famous old tournament begins at the Medinah Golf Club in Illinois in just over a week’s time, and the three Englishmen will be making their first ever appearances.
Automatic invitations are sent to the top 100 players in the world, meaning that Bickerton (94th), Wall (74th) and Kahn (70th) qualify for the first time. In addition to this, the top 100 on the US Money List also qualify – meaning that England’s Justin Rose will feature in his first Major championship since 2004. Rose currently lies in 99th place.
The USPGA Championship is the last points scoring event for those American players hoping to be a part of captain Tom Lehman’s Ryder Cup team to face Europe in Ireland next month. The European hopefuls have slightly more time, with two more points scoring tournaments scheduled for after the USPGA Championship. The 34-strong European contingent may be reduced by the absence of Ulsterman Darren Clarke. Clarke has not played at all since the Open Championship due to his wife’s illness and may have to decline his invitation.
The championship returns to Medinah (Aug 17-20) for the first time since 1999, when Tiger Woods held off the challenge of Spain’s Sergio Garcia in what was a memorable renewal.