On the par-3 13th Woods knocks one to about 15 for a good look at birdie. Rory finishes with twirl and his ball settles about 10 feet away. JT misses the green. JT drains it to drop to -2. Woods gets back to +2.
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.
He made the cut at both the U.S. Open (T41) and British Open (T39) so he knows what it feels like to be around for the weekend in a major. Don’t be surprised to see this Fox go crazy at the PGA.
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.
(@Jeff_Ritter)DJ would be my favorite too. Weekends like the one he just had in Canada make me wonder How does that guy ever lose? But Tiger is on the short list for Firestone. I think a non-major win is far more likely to happen for Woods before one of the big ones and if he’s able to pull it off this week it would give him a tremendous boost heading into Bellerive. And for the record I still have him slated to win the Hero World Challenge this December…and then look out 2019 Masters!
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.
McIlroy takes rip from the deep rough and comes up short — his ball is in one of the many deep bunkers at Bellerive. Woods from 217 yards from the deep rough on this par 4 and tree-trouble in front of him…and he takes a half-wedge and punches it back to the fairway. Nothing else he could do there.
All things considered Rory hits a very well-executed flop to set up a 18-20 footer for par. So Rory is actually WAY over the green into the gallery. He’s taking a free drop now. Will be a tough shot to a short-sided pin.
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…
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.
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.
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.