'Nearly men' Finau, Young, Homa eye major breakthrough
Eight of the world's 15 top-ranked golfers are still chasing a first major title and seven of them will start the PGA Championship in what could be a life-changing event.
Americans Tony Finau, Cameron Young and Max Homa hope for a breakthrough at Oak Hill, seeking the same bump countryman Scottie Scheffler got after winning the Masters last year.
"The majors always have a little bit of a different spot in our heads," Scheffler said. "They're the ones you always circle on your schedule and it's a career-defining tournament."
The PGA Championship has produced 16 first-time major winners over the past 40 years, more than any other major tournament, with Americans Shaun Micheel and Jason Dufner getting it done at Oak Hill.
"It sure would change my career," sixth-ranked Homa said. "I think you win a major and you just get vaulted. That might mean I might look at myself a little bit differently.
"I think I'd just be more proud of myself if I could clip off a major."
Homa, who won in January at Torrey Pines, managed his best major finish with a share of 13th in last year's PGA. He says he won't let the chase for a major dim his day-to-day joy of life, but he knows how much winning one would mean.
"I'm pretty lucky and appreciative of everything that I've got going on, and then all the good golf is a cherry on top," he said. A major would be -- I'm not sure what's better than a cherry or taller on a sundae, but it would be awesome."
Young, ranked 15th, was a runner-up in the WGC Match Play and shared seventh last month at the Masters after finishing second in last year's British Open and sharing third at the 2022 PGA Championship.
The 'nearly man' is chasing a first PGA Tour triumph as well as a major and trying to take confidence from near misses.
"The more times it has happened, the more I've just tried to use it as proof to myself that I can win out here and win a big one," Young said.
"I'm just trying to keep giving myself those opportunities. One of these times I'll shoot 5-under on the back and it'll be good enough."
- Finau's confidence high -
Finau, ranked 12th, has won four times in the past 10 months, most recently at last month's Mexico Open where he dethroned top-ranked Masters champion Jon Rahm.
"Whenever you can win leading up to a major championship, I think it gives you some confidence that you can play well," Finau said. "That's definitely the case this week."
Finau has never been more confident entering a major tournament.
"It just tells me that my game is better than it has ever been, and confidence I think is as high as it has ever been leading up into major season," Finau said.
The same patience Finau has had in the quest for a major is what he will need to handle the difficult test offered by Oak Hill.
"Mentally you've really got to be there and emotionally," he said. "It has been proven the guys that win have that mental fortitude and I feel like I have that."