Sleeper: Muscular Kiwi Ryan Fox is one of the biggest hitters on any tour and when he keeps it in the park he can contend anywhere. Quietly he’s climbed to ninth on the Race to Dubai points list and 80th in the OWGR thanks to a playoff loss at the Irish Open and a T6 at the Scottish Open.
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.
The U.S. seems strong but it’s worth mentioning that a few guys who look like solid bets to be on the team — Bubba Webb and Tiger to name three — haven’t had much success in the event. I think it’s a coin-flip as most Ryder Cups are these days. But in the meantime keep talking Monty! It only adds to the anticipation.
Is there any golfer anywhere with more positive memories than Tiger at Firestone? He shouldn’t be the favorite but based on what we’ve seen of late Tiger belongs in that next tier of contenders. He’s playing well! And his presence certainly ups the intrigue for this two-week stretch.
Next up is the one par 5 on the back nine. JT misses left his first missed fairway of the day. Rory also misses left but finds a decent lie in the rough. He’s still -1 on the day. Tiger hits driver like the others and also finds the bunker on the left side of the fairway. An inauspicious start on this par 5 for our trio.
Bellerive fits the profile perfectly. And hey he’s close. Six top 12s in 2018 including a recent T4 at the Quicken Loans and T6 at the British Open. He’s playing very very well. At the 100th PGA Championship he’ll rise again.
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.
Iron play should be a major factor and it all sounds like a fit for him. Also if you like a history angle Bellerive hosted the U.S. Open that Gary Player won to complete his own career slam. What’s one more?
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 wouldn’t be worried about Tiger’s fatigue this week. It’s the last major of the year and Tiger’s attention will be squarely placed on attacking Bellerive. He can take his foot off the gas at the Northern Trust and nobody will hold it against him…
…and he take a lash with the driver but his shot also drifts right into the deep rough. The feature group is underway at Bellerive. Thomas is up first hitting driver…and he splits the fairway. Rory is next: another driver and it leaks into the right rough. And now Woods…
Rory. The driving game he showed in Akron for one thing. Also how long can you keep a good man down? Sleeper: Bryson. He’s earned his place in the darkhorse category because of the talk around him. Example: he’s choking his way off the Ryder Cup team (some people will say) he had a fit of driving-range craziness (some will say) at the Open and he was classless and looked lost (some will say) in the final day in Germany.