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Jeff WhiteThis Week at August 8, 2007

With PGA Chamionpship on tap in Tulsa, look for an odd year to continue on tour

The 2007 pro golf season might go down as one of the most unpredictable in recent memory: To date we've had three major championships, and three first-time major winners.

First, there was Zach Johnson at the Masters, maybe the one major winner this year who could claim that no one had heard of him beforehand (though he had won once before, and he followed up his green jacket with a win at the AT&T Classic).

Then, Argentina's Angel Cabrera followed by winning the U.S. Open, cigarette and all. At the British Open, we had two chances for a first-timer, and it was Padraig Harrington edging out Sergio Garcia.

What to make of this?

For starters, you need to acknowledge the fact that many of the world's best golfers have been off their game this year. Phil Mickelson, a winner at the Player's Championship, has been battling a wrist injury. Jim Furyk has had back trouble. Vijay Singh and Ernie Els seem to have lost their putting games. Even Tiger Woods has been off the mark.

Another way to look at all this is with less surprise, since the "Era of Tiger Woods" makes it easy to forget that golf has always managed to throw in first-time winners, even while there is still clearly a dominate golfer overall.

Still, this year has been remarkable not just because first-timers seem to be winning more every week, but they're winning on golf's greatest stages as well.

What will happen at the 89th PGA Championship, which tees off this week in Oklahoma? The year's last major has traditionally been kind to first-timers - since 1990, eight have made the PGA Championship their one-and-only major. Only the British Open has been equally favorable to newbies.

So while defending champion Woods is likely to be the favorite, right now if you're considering backing, say, Paul Casey or Adam Scott, Hunter Mahan or - gasp - even Sergio Garcia (all have been playing well), you at least have the trend of a strange year going for you.

As always, welcomes your comments.

Meadow Valleys - 14thPete Dye's Meadow Valleys course in Kohler, Wisconsin wants your respect

It isn't often that a Pete Dye-designed golf course is considered the "weakest link" at a resort - unless of course it's in Kohler, Wis., where Dye is featured exclusively on the town's four courses. Such is the case with his Meadow Valleys course at Blackwolf Run which is commonly referred to as the "easiest" of the four Kohler courses. That's a gross overstatement, however, Brandon Tucker writes.

Gallery: The Meadow Valleys course at Blackwolf Run

LakeRidge Golf CourseNevada golf: Reno a top budget alternative to showy Las Vegas

When it comes to hitting the links in Nevada, golf in Las Vegas ain't the only game in town, baby. From the Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed LakeRidge Golf Course to Northgate Golf Club, Reno proves to be an excellent low-cost golf option for a Nevada golf vacation.

Also: Book Reno tee times online

St. Andrews - Old CoursePlay top Scotland golf courses during the Edinburgh Festival

The Edinburgh area is home to some of Scotland's - and thus the world's - greatest golf courses, and a round at St. Andrews, Royal Musselburgh or another classic links makes a great sideshow to the cultural feast of the annual Edinburgh International Festival.

Also: Before teeing it up, learn how to play the Old Course

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