Rinaldi at PGA Championship

Professional golf’s final major tournament of the season, the PGA Championship, starts Thursday at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Ga.

ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi will be on hand at the event to report for SportsCenter and other ESPN news and information platforms.

He talked to Front Row about what fans can expect.

FR: Do you see Tiger Woods’ return as the biggest story of the PGA Championship?

Rinaldi: I do because he remains the biggest story in golf. The simple proof is Stevie Williams winning as Adam Scott’s caddie last week becomes an enormous story simply because of his connection to Tiger. Tiger is in the longest winless drought of his career, and I think it’s going to be interesting to see if he begins to improve his form and tries to save what could be his second lost season in a row.

FR: What other stories will you be focusing on?

TR: Obviously, at least initially, we’ll be looking at the Stevie and Tiger continuing drama, but beyond that, I think there are other really good stories. Two of them are Rory McIlroy and Jason Day. Rory McIlroy has played the PGA Championship twice and has finished tied for third each time, and Jason Day has only played five major championships and he’s finished second in the first two this year, tied for second at the Masters and second at the U.S. Open. They are both terrific, young players with a lot of talent and very bright futures.

FR: What are going to be some of the factors in the tournament, the Georgia heat in August? The course itself?

TR: I think the heat is going to be a factor for some players, but the length and difficulty of the course is really going to be a huge factor. If people want to enjoy looking at one hole in particular, I’d say look at the Par 3 15th hole, which plays 260. That’s Par 3, 260. And I think the four finishing holes, and the 18th hole in particular, are just a sensational conclusion and a really, really difficult finish to the championship.

FR: What do you try to bring to SportsCenter viewers from a major golf tournament?

TR: Two words: We always try to bring discovery and access. To find out some things that our SportsCenter fans would have interest in, and to take them into places they wouldn’t normally or necessarily be able to go. That’s sort of my guiding compass, those two things, and if I’m able to do that, then I feel like I’m approaching the job the way it should be done.

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