TV showed a lot of Tiger’s warm-up session this morning. If I had to describe it in three words it would be “a warm-up session.” Everything seems fine. He’s heading to the tee and off soon with Rory and JT.
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.
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.
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.
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 has about 300 yards left to the green and he opts to lay up with an iron landing safely in the fairway. JT is a few yards ahead of Tiger in the same bunker and also lays up. Rory meanwhile has a lie that is much worse than it looked originally and is forced to lay up as well.
What he has shown in his remarkable year is that he can play good enough golf to win for about 63 holes. Getting from 63 to 72 is like climbing Everest with a Tour bag on your back.
I’ve only played Scottish links so that’s my answer. Then again even if I’ve played in Ireland my last two rounds were at Royal Aberdeen and St. Andrews’ Old Course. I’m flying high on the Scotland variety right now.
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.
Are they all pulling the same direction in the grow-the-game efforts? There’s a lot of good happening in that organization but with that membership number there’s plenty more to be done. They should be one of the most powerful and influential forces in the game. At this moment I’m not sure they are.
A group of my buddies have been going through this exact debate in thinking about a future golf trip; I’ve never been to either so I’m little use but I’d have assumed Scotland would get the nod. Needless to say Coyne has me intrigued…