Springfield - Severe thunderstorms drenched
Baltusrol with heavy rain on Monday, cutting short the first practice session
for the 98th PGA Championship and soaking greens that had been fast in
Sweltering heat greeted players in the
early afternoon but the day ended with standing water puddled across many areas
of the course after thunder, lightning and downpours.
PGA of America officials halted play at
16:38 and had spectators seek shelter, several dozen huddling in the massive
souvenir tent until a break between storms allowed them a chance to leave.
It was a signal that players could face a
lot of extremes in this week's quest for the Wanamaker Trophy, with forecasts
for hot conditions until storms are set to return for the weekend.
World number one Jason Day of Australia
will try to defend his first major title, which he won last year at Whistling
"I feel good about my game," Day
said. "I'm hitting a lot of good shots and that has given me confidence. I
should be good to go."
Day was won seven titles in the past year
and flirted with major success, sharing 10th at the Masters and eighth at the
His mind-set is less about repeating as
champion, especially on a different course, than it is about achieving new
"I never really look at it as
defending," he said. "I try to win it again. That's the
World number two Dustin Johnson made his
major breakthrough last month by winning the US Open at Oakmont. The American
also won a WGC event at Firestone and shared ninth at the British Open, enough
good finishes to bolster his confidence entering the final major tournament of
"I think the game is in really good
shape," Johnson said. "Do a little practice on the putting in the
next few days, but other than that, I'm really confident in the game right now.
I feel like everything is going really well."
Day will play the first two rounds
alongside four-time major champion Rory McIlroy, the 2014 PGA Championship
winner, and Phil Mickelson, the 46-year-old US left-hander who won the last PGA
Championship played at Baltusrol in 2005.
Mickelson battled British Open winner
Henrik Stenson into the final holes before settling for second to the Swede at
Royal Troon two weeks ago.
Johnson will play Thursday and Friday
alongside Stenson and Masters champion Danny Willett of England in the annual
threesome of the season's prior major winners. Each won his first major this
year - and none of them wants to see another first-timer take the trophy this