I’m not saying I agree with it but Bryson would be particularly easy to leave off as “a poor team fit” if he doesn’t auto qualify right? Although he’s a particular favorite of assistant captain Woods. Xander Schauffele should also be sure to lock his spot in; a lack of seniority may have him on the outside looking in otherwise.
Rory has drifted a bit the past few years. Some of it was injury some of it was probably life changes off the course. But this PGA sounds like a big tough course that may play a little rain-softened. That’s straight out of the old Rory major-winning playbook. I think he’ll be part of the story this week.
Justin Thomas meanwhile pars the 16th to remain -3 and tied atop the leaderboard with Stewart Cink. Greetings folks. Jess Marksbury with you for the next two hours. And I’m just in time for another Tiger bogey on the par-3 16th. Bummer. He falls to +3 for the day.
TV showed a lot of Tiger’s warm-up session this morning. If I had to describe it in three words it would be “a warm-up session.” Everything seems fine. He’s heading to the tee and off soon with Rory and JT.
Nah that honor still belongs to Dustin Johnson. DJ has two wins and two third-place finishes in his last five starts the only aberration coming with an MC at the British Open. Nice win by JT though! Not only is JT coming in scorching hot he’s been stellar all season long backing up last year’s breakthrough. I’ll take him over DJ.
Monty’s claim was enough of a hedge (“Well almost ever”) that I wouldn’t bother trying to refute it. And I agree that the Europeans are very very strong this year. And that their strength has been overlooked/downplayed amid the hype surrounding all the youthful talent the Americans will field. Sometime ago our own Alan Shipnuck boldly predicted a U.S. romp. I disagreed with him then and I disagree now. I expect this to be close and I expect Europe to win.
Tiger Woods. Why not? He’s excelled at hot-weather PGA Championship venues with four victories. With the forecast for St. Louis as hot and muggy all week it favors Tiger. Tiger loves brawny 1960s-style courses with eight wins apiece at Firestone Torrey Pines and Bay Hill alone.
So as we make the turn to No. 1 Tiger is at +2 JT remains tied for the lead at -3 and Rory is at even par. All right! Tiger drains his birdie to get back to +2 through his first nine. JT misses his birdie and settles for par and Rory takes a bogey.
A group of my buddies have been going through this exact debate in thinking about a future golf trip; I’ve never been to either so I’m little use but I’d have assumed Scotland would get the nod. Needless to say Coyne has me intrigued…
And Tiger pours it in! That was a heck of a par. He even smiled at that one. He’s still +2. Woods from the left trees 70 yards away. And the shot clips a limb…and lands next to cup! Wow that was almost a disaster but instead it coziest past to about 7 feet. That’s for a par save.
At 425 yards No. 1 is one of the shorter par 4s at Bellerive. Rory and Tiger find the fairway while it looks like JT ends up in the left-side bunker. Leaderboard update: Four players are now at -3: JT Rafa Cabrella-Bello Stewart Cink and Rickie who birdied two of his last three holes!
It’s Tony Finau time. He’s been knocking at the door in the majors and now he comes to a big straight-forward layout that favors bombers and an event that has no par-3 tournament for him to wreck his ankle in. Sleeper: Luke List. Putting is his historical weakness but he’s been rounding into form and is coming off a strong showing at Firestone a course that plays not unlike Bellerive.