Rory McIlroy may be entering the best stretch of his career. Tiger Woods may be in the middle of the worst of his.
That’s the backdrop for the PGA Championship, which starts Thursday at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville.
Read on for more about tee times, betting odds, TV coverage and everything else you need to know.
1. Rory McIlroy Is Seeking His 2nd Straight Major & 3rd Straight Win
After a slump that lasted more than two years and saw McIlroy temporarily lose his status as golf’s most talked-about star, the Northern Irishman has never been more at the center of the conversation heading into a major.
McIlroy, who won his first British Open title last month at Hoylake, followed his Claret Jug-winning performance with a win last weekend at the Bridgestone Invitational that gave him his first World Golf Championship win and made him the No. 1 player in the world.
2. McIlroy Is the Clear Favorite to Win the Tournament
Just about every odds maker lists McIlroy as the clear favorite, with Bovada offering odds of 5/1 — far ahead of Adam Scott, who’s next at 12/1.
Here’s a look at the favorites, via Bovada:
Rory McIlroy: 5/1
Adam Scott: 12/1
Justin Rose: 16/1
Sergio Garcia: 16/1
Phil Mickelson: 20/1
Rickie Fowler: 20/1
Henrik Stenson: 25/1
Keegan Bradley: 28/1
Matt Kuchar: 28/1
Tiger Woods: 28/1
Bubba Watson: 33/1
Jim Furkyk: 33/1
Charl Schwartzel: 35/1
Jordan Spieth: 35/1
Graeme McDowell: 40/1
Martin Kaymer: 40/1
Bovada has McIlroy as a 6/1 favorite to be leading after the first round, with Scott at 16/1 and Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose each at 22/1.
McIlroy is at even money to finish in the top five.
Rory McIlroy is the clear favorite at the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club, with Adam Scott, Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia next in line.Click here to read more
3. Tiger Woods Is Questionable With a Back Injury
Woods, who missed the Masters and U.S. Open following back surgery, aggravated his back Sunday at the Bridgestone Invitational and had to withdraw from the tournament after the ninth hole in the final round.
He didn’t speculate Sunday on his status for the PGA, but he was in such pain after withdrawing that he struggled to tie his shoes.
Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg, told USA Today Monday that Woods needed to “rest and get treatment and asses later” his chances of playing at Valhalla.
“Pointless to make that decision now without proper time to give him the best chance,” Steinberg told the paper.
4. Valhalla Is Hosting the PGA for the 3rd Time
Valhalla, which was designed by golf legend Jack Nicklaus and opened in 1986, is hosting the PGA for the first time since 2000 and the third time overall.
The course hosted the PGA for the first time in 1996, when Mark Brooks won the tournament in a sudden-death playoff with Kenny Perry.
Woods won the PGA at Valhalla in a three-hole playoff over Bob May in 2000.
Since then, the course has hosted the Senior PGA Championship in 2004 and 2011 and the Ryder Cup in 2008.
5. TNT & CBS Have the TV Coverage
TV coverage of the tournament is split between TNT and CBS, with TNT handling the early rounds and the early portion of play Saturday and Sunday and CBS picking up the afternoon on Saturday and on Sunday, when the leaders will be on the course.
Here’s a look at the TV schedule, courtesy of PGATour.com. All times are eastern.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 7
TNT: 1 p.m.-7 p.m.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 8
TNY: 1 p.m.-7 p.m.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 9:
TNT: 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
CBS: 2 p.m.-7 p.m.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 10:
TNT: 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
CBS: 2 p.m.-7 p.m.
McIlroy will tee off at 1:45 p.m. Thursday in the first round along with the other two men who have won majors this year: Masters champ Bubba Watson and U.S. Open champ Martin Kaymer.
Another notable threesome will tee off at 8:45 a.m.: Woods, Mickelson and Padraig Harrington.
Defending champion Jason Duffner tees off at 1:55 p.m. Thursday with Y.E. Yang and Keegan Bradley.
Sergio Garcia's resurgence has coincided with a romance between the Spaniard and former College of Charleston golfer Katharina Boehm.Click here to read more
Watch the video of Tiger Woods hurting his back on the second hole at Bridgestone.Click here to read more