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!
I think they’re the best European team since…2012? Sure the Molinari win coupled with Rose and Rory T2 made them all feel nice and cozy. But there’s something I’d really like to stress about Ryder reactions to individual eventsThey’re not that connected! It’s natural to get excited when that happens but it means next to nothing for how they’ll play in Paris.
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.
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.
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.
Tiger hits a great approach setting up another short birdie attempt of about 8-10 feet. Rory also finds the green but will have 25 feet for birdie. JT ends up just short of the green from the fairway bunker but it’s puttable.
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.
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.
JT takes the pin out to chip from the fringe and he babys it just a tad. He’s nearly in gimme range for par but seemed a bit unhappy with the effort. Rory misses his birdie try and leaves himself a few feet for par. He’s not happy about that effort either.
Tiger has showed this year that his best golf is good enough but he has been unable to string together four straight strong rounds. Is it mental fatigue? A back that is balkier than he will let on?
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.
Sleeper: Kevin Na. Yes he only has two top-10 finishes in major championships over the course of his career but he’s having a stellar season with a win at the Greenbrier in July and three other top 10s. I like him!