I’ll never give up on McIlroy. I think the PGA is likely harder for him to get up for than say the Masters but I expect that fact will serve him well in St. Louis.
It’s a perfect date. I can’t wait. It’s THE perfect date. I’d rather be playing myself. As a native Michigander and Lions sympathizer this match will be No. 2 on my dial if it’s played opposite the football game. (At least until halftime when the Lions are out of it.) But like everyone else I think the date is a winner.
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.
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.
I’ll always think of him as a savvy negotiator (witness the mega-TV contract he nailed down for the Ryder Cup with NBC). In terms of challenges there’s the matter of boosting the PGA Championship to the status of something more than the afterthought major and of finding the right venues for the newly rejiggered schedule.
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.
Bigly (if I am using that correctly). Significantly. Props to Chamblee for qualifying but qualifying is one thing and contending is another. The nod goes to Watson and it’s not really close. Adding to that Brandel’s qualifier was just 18 holes. Tom Watson contended into Sunday! These two are really not quite comparable. Watson’s was far far more impressive.
On 14 McIlroy misses the fairway to the left in another patch of snarly rough. JT and Tiger are OK. And Tiger misses it on the high side. Safely in for par though. Rory drops it from 12 feet for his first birdie. JT blasts from the sand to tap-in range. Woods next…
Tiger hits a nice bunker shots that nearly drops in the hole leaving him about four feet for par. My goodness. Tiger makes the same mistake and ends up in the bunker behind the hole. Rory meanwhile stays below the hole setting up a makeable birdie from about 12 feet.
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.
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.
I love the idea in theory; read it and putt it! Pure as can be. But I wonder what it’ll look like in practice — how much grey area remains in enforcing the rules and pushing the limits? I’m wary of more rules. Color me cautiously in favor.