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’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.
138 yards left for JT. This is a big green with the pin cut on the very back. JT overcooks it just a bit and it hangs on the fringe of the green off the back about 10 feet from the hole.
Bubba Watson. It’s been an incredible year for Bubba and it continues this week when he picks apart Bellerive with that pink driver. Sleeper: Hossler has been there all year. He’s shown the ability to play his way into contention at normal Tour stops. I think he avoids the weekend blow-up that has normally followed and bags himself his first top 10 in a major.
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.
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.
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.
On the 241-yard par-3 16th McIlroy and Thomas find the green but not close to the hole. Woods overcooks and iron long and left and it settles next to the grandstand. Thomas kicks in his third birdie of the opening nine and he’s tied for the lead and looking totally in control. McIlroy pars to stay -1.
Can’t sum it up any better. I do think Finau’s major-championship consistency would help his case. But for that last spot don’t you want to roll out a fiery rookie? I think Bryson would actually be a great pick. Let’s see how these next few weeks play out.
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.
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.
This Euro team is filled with a lot of really good players and Carnoustie did nothing to really further prove or denounce that. If those guys play well at say back-to-back playoff events in a month then I’m inclined to respect Monty’s reaction.