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PGA Championship notebook

Bryson DeChambeau withdraws from PGA Championship as he recovers from hand surgery

Bryson DeChambeau, with a wrap on his left wrist, practiced Wednesday but decided he could not play in the year's second major.Matt York/Associated Press

TULSA, Okla. — Bryson DeChambeau withdrew from the PGA Championship on Wednesday after practicing for two days at Southern Hills to test his surgically repaired left wrist.

The former US Open champion practiced with a wrap that extended several inches up his left forearm. He tweeted Tuesday it had “held up nicely” after his initial practice round.

The 28-year-old had surgery to repair the hamate bone in his wrist April 14, a procedure that was expected to sideline him for up to two months. He removed his cast and bandages more than a week ago, and teased an early return when he posted an online video of himself hitting a driver.

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DeChambeau missed the cut in three of his past four starts and has just one top-25 finish in five starts this season.

His withdrawal leaves 95 of the top 100 players in the field for Thursday’s first round. Denny McCarthy replaces DeChambeau.

Spieth, going for Slam, among favorites

Not long ago, it seemed a foregone conclusion Jordan Spieth would one day capture golf’s career Grand Slam.

Even more recently, it seemed as if he might never contend again.

After scorching a Tiger-esque path through his first three years as a pro, including triumphs at the Masters and US Open in 2015 and the British Open in ‘17, things suddenly went sideways for Spieth. That crisp ball striking that was once the envy of so many had abandoned him, his driver went a bit haywire, and his short game had let him down.

Jordan Spieth signs autographs for fans during a practice round Wednesday.Christian Petersen/Getty

The former No. 1 went nearly four years without a win, plummeting to 92nd in the world rankings

Armed with a retooled swing thousands of shots in the making, though, and brimming with confidence after winning at Hilton Head and finishing second at last week’s Byron Nelson, the popular 28-year-old Texan arrived this week at the PGA Championship once again among the favorites to raise the Wannamaker Trophy on Sunday.

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And at long last, join that most exclusive club.

“Certainly at this point, having won the other three, it’s an elephant in the room for me,” Spieth acknowledged Wednesday. “If you just told me I was going to win one tournament the rest of my life, I’d say I want to win this one, given where things are at.”

History is not necessarily on his side.

Of the five players to have won the Grand Slam, none waited more than three years for the final leg. Gene Sarazen in 1935, Ben Hogan in ‘53 and Tiger Woods in 2000 did it in their very first try; Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player weren’t far behind.

Some of the game’s greatest players never do it, either.

Arnold Palmer’s victory in the 1961 British Open left him, much like Spieth, needing only the PGA to finish it off, yet he’d play the tournament 34 times without winning. Phil Mickelson’s vexing second-place history at the US Open is well-documented. The same tournament is also missing from three-time PGA champion Sam Snead’s résumé. Byron Nelson and Raymond Floyd never won the British Open while Lee Trevino won every major (twice) except the Masters.

It’s a feeling that Rory McIlory, who will play with Spieth and Tiger Woods for the first two rounds at Southern Hills, knows too well. The two-time PGA champion has taken eight swings at winning the Masters, the lone major missing from his own ledger, and has been in the top five four times, with a second-place finish earlier this year.

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Dinner attendance draws Stockton’s ire

Dave Stockton won the 1970 PGA Championship at Southern Hills and his nostalgic return this week included the champions dinner for swapping stories of the great shots, the terrible ones and memories of career-making victories.

He was disappointed by the low turnout. Only 11 former champions who are playing this week attended. Nobody misses the Masters champions dinner, Stockton noted.

“That’s what this should be,” he said. “I don’t quite understand why because I think it’s very important for us as champions to come back.”

Dave Stockton, seen here speaking with reporters Wednesday, was disappointed by the low turnout at the recent champions dinner.Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

The other former PGA champions who were there: Collin Morikawa, Rory McIlroy, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Martin Kaymer, Padraig Harrington, Shaun Micheel, Rich Beem, Mark Brooks, and Jeff Sluman.

Those who skipped: Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Jason Day, Y.E. Yang, Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, and John Daly.

One player Stockton didn’t miss? Defending champion Mickelson.

Mickelson withdrew from the tournament last week as he continues a break from golf following his incendiary comments about a Saudi-funded rival league the PGA Tour opposes.

“It was a fun evening. Phil was not missed. I think Phil would have been a big distraction whether he was here,” Stockton said. “The story here this week is the PGA.”