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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
Woods with a wedge in hand…and he stuffs it to about a foot! Kick-in birdie approaching. JT will have about 5 feet Rory 12. On 12 all 3 guys hit driver and all find the short grass. Woods needed a fairway there.
Sleeper: Kyle Stanley. I had Stanley locked in as a sleeper last week; his runner-up finish at Firestone makes him slightly less sleepy but I like the way his ballstriking sets up for Bellerive. Plus there’s the added potential bonus of Stanley completing the Former Nike Staffer Without a Club Deal Grand Slam.
I guess the question of “Who is the favorite?” on a weekly basis will become only more meaningful in an era of broad betting interest in golf. It’s not like picking horses. Having said that Woods’s past success at Firestone is not any kind of predictor of whether he can win this week.