That is incisive Alan and I agree with all of it. The difference between 63-hole and 72-hole golf is the difference between being No. 50 and being a consistent winner and contender of which there’s maybe a half dozen tops.
From the front bunker Rory hits a zipper that scares the flag but backs up to about 15 feet. He’ll have that for a par saver. Woods knocks his 3rd onto the front of the green but he’s going to have about 30-40 feet to save a par. Meanwhile up ahead Mickelson managed to save a par. No. 10 looks like it has some teeth: the hole has produced 14 bogeys and 10 pars so far.
I’ve been lucky enough to visit Scotland several times but have only hit Ireland once. I just love the history and the quirkiness of the old Scottish links. They’re an absolute blast. But Ireland’s sweeping dunescapes took my breath away. It’s a tough call. To make it I need another trip overseas for more research.
Justin Thomas. He is the game’s most complete player and comes in with a ton of momentum. And a softish parkland course like Bellerive is right in his wheelhouse. Sleeper: I took Schauffele at Carnoustie and I’m afraid his profile is too high now to qualify as a dark horse so I’m going with Luke List. He has one of the best long-games in golf and early word is that Bellerive is a bomber’s paradise.
(@Jeff_Ritter)Both are great picks so I’d split the difference and say the favorite is Dustin Thomas. Both guys look unstoppable when locked in. Either could win at Bellerive by five shots or more and it wouldn’t be the least bit surprising.
I’m guessing he’ll dig deep here to make the Ryder Cup team on points. That driving range “episode” — it was hardly an episode. It showed SOMEBODY WHO CARES and somebody who uses the range as Francesco Molinari does as a place to try out the shots you will actually need in competition. So if the shots are lousy you have a reason to be upset. As for the poor play in Germany he’s too smart and too talented not to learn from that. I’m bullish on him in every way.
Gray area = trouble ahead. This panel is going to stay busy next year. Shaping up to be a heck of a sporting weekend despite the Lions’ involvement (sorry Ritter). During football season it’s hard for anything else to register on the sports calendar but if they do this Friday they’ll certainly steal some eyeballs.
With the U.S. Open headed back to a series of heavy-hitter classics maybe the PGA could seize the chance to travel to the country’s best innovative newer tracks. Or just ship the fourth major to Australia like they do in tennis.
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.
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.
The first seven names in the current standings will be on the team even if any of them somehow get bumped out of the top eight. Tiger and Phil are locks too so that leaves three spots.
On the quality of courses I’d say too close to call. But if I had one trip to make I’d make it Scotland and not for the history but for the geographyit’s just easier to play lots and lots of great courses with less travel hassle there.