• Collin Morikawa is back at the PGA Championship, having won it a year ago with some brilliant play down the stretch at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. It was Morikawa’s first major championship, and Tuesday evening at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course, he presided over a Champion’s Dinner. Morikawa, 24, said he likes to eat, so there was plenty of food to go around. “I gave people the option of fish or fried chicken, so either you go healthy or you don’t go healthy,” he said. “And we had a bunch of porterhouses on the table, just to kind of pick on.” He said when he won last August, he was unaware that such a dinner even existed. “I’m glad it is (a tradition),” he said. “It was so cool to talk to a bunch of champions, not just champions that I know, but guys that are older that aren’t on Tour anymore, just to kind of hear stories from them. It’s a real meaningful night.”

• 2021 U.S. Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker will compete in this week’s PGA Championship as well as next week’s KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Okla. In September, he’ll captain the U.S. team as it tries to recapture the Ryder Cup from Europe. Stricker will have six captain’s picks following the PGA Tour’s 2021 Tour Championship. Being a great putter himself, will Stricker keep an eye out for quality putters? “It's important,” he said. “I mean, I look at that all the time and putting is a huge deal, getting it in the hole, getting it around because in match play, that's the key part, making crucial putts, getting it up-and-down. Scramblers, you know, are very important. So when you look at it all, when it comes down to it, can the guy make the putt when he has to?”

• South Carolina native Dustin Johnson is looking forward to playing a major championship in his home state as the World No. 1. “ It means a lot,” Johnson said. “Obviously it's great coming back here to play, and playing in a major. I've got a lot of friends and family and a lot of support here in my home state. So I'm really looking forward to it. It was great back in 2012. Obviously, it's a little bit different now.” Johnson had just turned 28 when the PGA was last played at Kiawah Island in 2012, and tied for 48th. Now he is 36, engaged, with two children, and owns 24 victories on the PGA Tour, including two major championships (2016 U.S. Open, 2020 Masters). He has been runner-up in each of the last two PGAs, finishing runner-up to Brooks Koepka in 2019 and tying for second last August. Which of the second-place finishes in more annoying to him? “Both of them,” he quipped. He pulled out of last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson in Texas because his right knee didn’t feel right. He said he got an MRI, had treatment on it, and feels ready to go.

• Club professionals Frank Bensel Jr. (Jupiter, Fla.) and Danny Balin (Lake Success N.Y.), who advanced to the Ocean Course through their play at this month’s PGA Professional Championship in Port St. Lucie, Fla., both competed in the 2012 PGA Championship at Kiawah. This week will mark the third career PGA Championship start for Bensel, 53, who has made starts in three different decades (2004, 2012, 2021). Bensel finished second at the PPC.

•Dave Stockton, a two-time PGA champion (1970, 1976), is at Kiawah this week on what soon will be the 30th anniversary of captaining the U.S. to victory at the 1991 Ryder Cup. That Ryder Cup came down to a single putt, with Europe’s Bernhard Langer missing from inside 7 feet in the final match against Hale Irwin to secure the victory for the Americans. Stockton also had a hand in the 2012 PGA Championship, as he was Rory McIlroy’s short-game coach at the time. Stockton, who lives in California, said he probably has been back to Kiawah about 10 times, several times for corporate outings. One vivid memory for him was the European team’s arrival in 1991, as the Concorde jet, which had the team and the Ryder Cup as cargo, circled around the Ocean Course twice. They didn’t leave with the cup. “We got to keep it here, which made it memorable for us for sure,” Stockton said.

• With Hideki Matsuyama having won a first (men’s) major for Japan, maybe the next player to step up and capture a first (men’s) major for his country could be Abraham Ancer of Mexico, who comes into this week’s PGA at No. 19 in the Official World Golf Ranking. “I have been playing some solid golf. Nothing crazy, just keeping the ball in play,” he said. “Whenever the putter gets hot, it is a decent or good tournament.” Though he is a medium-length hitter and Kiawah’s Ocean Course is the longest layout in major championship history (7,876 yards), Ancer likes his chances. “I like this more than big open golf courses, with big greens where you can hit it everywhere,” Ancer said. “You can hit very different golf shots, not just chop it out of the rough. You can bump and run, you can fly it all the way to the hole with some spin, or even hit a 7-wood and roll it up. I really like that.”

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