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LOUISVILLE -- With all the history at stake this week -- from Brooks Koepka's sixth major to Rory McIlroy's drought ender to Scottie Scheffler's calendar year grand slam to Jordan Spieth's career grand slam -- we may have forgotten about one key storyline at the 2024 PGA Championship.

Collin Morikawa, 27, has a chance to win his third major in his first 18 starts, which -- don't look now -- would be faster than Spieth (19), Koepka (20) and Tiger Woods (20) got to three. It would be the fastest anyone has won three majors since Tom Watson accomplished the feat in his 17th start back in 1977.

Morikawa nearly did it at the Masters a month ago before getting blown away by Scheffler. Still, that was his eighth top 10 at a major since the start of 2020, which is tied with Jon Rahm for second most in that span. Both are tied for third behind Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler, who both have 10 such finishes.

We have perhaps underrated the start of Morikawa's run at majors. He won that weird COVID-19 PGA Championship at Harding Park in 2020 before defeating Jordan Spieth at the 2021 Open at Royal St. George's-- where the wind never blew and laid down conditions led to a type of dome golf. 

But the consistency has been there throughout, even if he's not talked about among the great champions of his era. And more importantly, Morikawa believes there is more where those two came from. 

"I had belief since Day 1 that I was going to be able to [win a major]," said Morikawa following his Friday-best 65, which got him into the top two on the leaderboard, one stroke back of Xander Schauffele. "Obviously, you want to see the results, but just believing that it's possible and just knowing that it's going to happen.

"Before I won Zozo last year, I talked about -- I know I'm going to win again, it's just a matter of when. Is it going to be tomorrow? Is it going to be -- but it's going to happen. I know I still have it in me, and that's what's exciting is that, after Augusta [National], it sucked to finish like that and it sucked to lose to Scottie. But at the end of the day, I knew I had three more majors coming up and to prep for that and get things as sharp as possible and just come out strong. It's obviously nice to get off to this start."

There should be plenty of opportunities to see something historic this weekend. From Koepka rolling to No,. 6 to Scheffler keeping the slam alive to Spieth or McIlroy making an epic charge.

We should remember, though, what has become (for whatever reason) so easy to forget: Two could become three for the 27-year-old Morikawa, who is trying to do something that none of those four historically great golfers ever did.

Tee to green mastery

Scottie Scheffler shooting 66 after being arrested Friday morning was shocking, of course, but so is his run of tee-to-green play so far this year. Across all his measured 72-hole starts, here's where Scheffler ranks in the field from tee to green.

  • The Sentry: 1st 
  • Phoenix Open: 1st 
  • Genesis Invitational: 2nd 
  • Arnold Palmer Invitational: 1st 
  • Players Championship: 1st 
  • Houston Open: 3rd 
  • Masters: 1st 
  • RBC Heritage: 1st 
  • PGA Championship: 1st (currently)

There are a hundred reasons Scheffler is winning everything he looks at right now. This one is the most important one, though, and the one that is easiest to leverage into championships.

Disappointment, again

It was all out there in front of McIlroy on Friday. He had a soft, easy golf course that was playing a shot and a half easier in the afternoon than it did in the morning ... and instead of taking advantage, he went out and laid a disappointing even-par egg that likely, barring something truly outrageous, ended his chances at winning a fifth major championship this week. At the time he finished, that was better than just 16 of the 21 club pros in the field.

Nearly everything was going in his direction this week, and yet, he more or less took himself out of it before the weekend. That's a huge bummer, and it extends an unwanted streak by yet another major championship zero.

Does this feel like a major?

We knew Valhalla was going to be a birdie-fest, but even for a soft venue that has historically surrendered crazy scores, this week has been extra crazy. On the other hand, it also looks like it's going to lead to a full-time hitters only leaderboard come the weekend, which is obviously what everyone wants.

Sahith Theegala is electric

Theegala shot well Friday to move himself near the top of the leaderboard, and his round included some hilariously offline moments, including a shot off a cart path and a ball in a hospitality tent on the same hole.

I have some concerns about him because he can get Spieth levels of wild off the tee, and Valhalla can truly punish extraordinarily wild drives like sometimes hits. But boy is he fun to watch, and buddy, does he make a lot of birdies. If he truly gets into the mix on Sunday, you can bet that he'll leave his heart on the golf course, which is always compelling for folks who perhaps only tune in to the major championships. (Some of them are about to fall in love with Sahith Theegala.)

It's there for the taking ... 

It's out there in front of Xander Schauffele now. We've been told for years that he's a major champion, that he's one of the best in the world, that he has what it takes. We haven't seen it all that often, though, and here's why.

Throughout his career, Schauffele entered the third or fourth round of a tournament with the lead 16 times. In just five of those has he performed better than expected, according to Data Golf's models. In 11 (!) of them, he's performed exactly as expected or worse. That's something to remember as Schauffele tries to win the first major of his career against Morikawa, Scheffler, DeChambeau and others over the next 36 holes.