Gooood morning golf fans! The sun is out the rain is gone and players are on the course at the PGA Championship. We’ll get the blog rolling at 9:15 ET with two power groups: Phil Mickelson-Jason Day-Keegan Bradley (9:01 ET) and Tiger Woods-Rory McIlroy-Justin Thomas (9:23). See you shortly.
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.
Tiger Woods. Plenty will focus on a disappointing finish at Firestone but even this week I saw plenty to be encouraged by. A couple of days of intense practice and we’ll see a dialed-in Tiger in Missouri.
Sleeper: Kyle Stanley. I had Stanley locked in as a sleeper last week; his runner-up finish at Firestone makes him slightly less sleepy but I like the way his ballstriking sets up for Bellerive. Plus there’s the added potential bonus of Stanley completing the Former Nike Staffer Without a Club Deal Grand Slam.
Woods has a gap in the trees and he’s going to try a tough escape shot that reaches the green. Buckle up. Thomas rips one up the chute and Woods also with driver hits it into he trees left of the fairway. That one looks like punch-out but we’ll see how it’s lying.
He oversaw the process that moved the PGA Championship to May which is surely better than August (but not nearly as good as late February/early March in my opinion). I think he and his board way overreacted to one ill-advised but meaningless tweet by former PGA president Ted Bishop.
Are they all pulling the same direction in the grow-the-game efforts? There’s a lot of good happening in that organization but with that membership number there’s plenty more to be done. They should be one of the most powerful and influential forces in the game. At this moment I’m not sure they are.
What I expect to see from Tiger is more of what we’ve seen since his comebackOld Tiger brilliance mixed with New Tiger glitches. That may wind up being good enough to win. That doesn’t make him the real-world favorite but Vegas and the public might make him the gambling favorite. So it goes when you are Tiger Woods Old or New. I suspect we’ll see much of the same at the PGA.
Not the favorite. I’ll go with Dustin Johnson for that distinction. I’ll be looking for his “control” again this week. He had it at Carnoustie not making a double bogey until the back nine Sunday. If he can avoid double bogeys for another long stretch I’ll start believing he can contend at the PGA.
There’s also the ever-nagging question of how to grow the game. With so much money floating around the upper echelons of the pro game I’ve heard grumblings about the PGA seeming increasingly out of touch for the everyday member to say nothing of the everyday golfer. I think there’s some truth to that.
I’d say any European team that had Seve Faldo Langer Lyle and Woosnam would likely be better than whatever 12 players the Europeans assemble this year.
It was captivating TV and I certainly felt bad for him. But this would only cost him a Ryder Cup spot if it happened the week before captain’s picks and it was clear a spot was on the line. Final-round bust-ups happen. He has a few more weeks to make a statement and in the process make the team.