Francesco Molinari, of Italy, smiles as he listens to a question during a news conference at the PGA Championship golf tournament Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018, at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

The Latest: Johnson hopes to have plenty of support at PGA

August 07, 2018 - 1:41 pm

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Latest from the PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club (all times local):

12:40 p.m.

Dustin Johnson hopes some of his future father-in-law's fans will have his back when the world's top-ranked player tees off in the PGA Championship this week in St Louis.

Wayne Gretzky only played part of one season for the Blues, late in his Hall of Fame career, but it was enough to earn "The Great One" a legion of followers. And when Johnson became engaged to Paulina Gretzky, many of those fans became fans of the former U.S. Open champion, too.

If nothing else, Johnson pointed out Tuesday that he'll have plenty of extended family in the crowd. Paulina's mother, Janet, was born in the St. Louis suburb of Bridgeton.

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11:15 a.m.

Count three-time major winner Jordan Spieth among those happy the PGA Championship is moving from August to May next year, making it the second in line after the Masters.

The schedule change is designed in part to stoke interest in what has typically flown under the radar as golf's fourth major. And while Spieth acknowledged Tuesday that the change will help with the overall calendar flow, he also pointed out another benefit: the weather.

"The move to May opens up a lot more venues," Spieth said before his practice round at Bellerive. "You can really go anywhere in the country in May and have an opportunity to play."

The PGA has already been awarded through 2029 with Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma, also due to host the event. But beyond that, courses such as Shoal Creek in Alabama and layouts in Texas, Florida and California that were written off because of oppressive summer heat could be in the mix.

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10:45 a.m.

The scoreboards for the PGA Championship aren't the only ones worth watching this week.

That's because the tournament at Bellerive is the last points-paying event for the U.S. team for the Ryder Cup, and a crucial opportunity for European players to impress captain Thomas Bjorn.

Justin Thomas clinched the fourth U.S. spot by winning the Bridgestone last week, and Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson hold the other four automatic slots. But with a big point total at stake this week, spots on captain Jim Furyk's team are still in play.

Regardless of who makes the team for the matches in France this September, British Open winner Francesco Molinari of Italy predicted Tuesday the American team will be "one of the strongest ever."

"We need to get there prepared and ready to go," he said, "and make life hard on them."

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9:30 a.m.

The withering heat that greeted players for the PGA Championship this week, and left them soaked in sweat after Monday practice rounds, has given way to thunderstorms and torrential rains.

Now, those who tried to get on the course at Bellerive are simply soaked.

The storms are particularly unwelcome for those arriving from last week's Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio. Many squeezed in a practice round Monday, but nearly all hoped to do the bulk of their preparation at relatively unfamiliar Bellerive on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Justin Thomas is the defending champion, Tiger Woods is set to play his first PGA since 2015 and Jordan Spieth will be chasing the career Grand Slam when the tournament begins Thursday.

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