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…
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.
Justin Thomas meanwhile pars the 16th to remain -3 and tied atop the leaderboard with Stewart Cink. Greetings folks. Jess Marksbury with you for the next two hours. And I’m just in time for another Tiger bogey on the par-3 16th. Bummer. He falls to +3 for the day.
I’ve underestimated him at two of the majors this year but I expect Jordan Spieth to contend deep into the weekend at this one so what the heck: why not just win it and finish the career slam right here? Bellerive is tree-lined with deep penal bunkers and big greens.
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.
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.
It was captivating TV and I certainly felt bad for him. But this would only cost him a Ryder Cup spot if it happened the week before captain’s picks and it was clear a spot was on the line. Final-round bust-ups happen. He has a few more weeks to make a statement and in the process make the team.
Tiger hits a nice bunker shots that nearly drops in the hole leaving him about four feet for par. My goodness. Tiger makes the same mistake and ends up in the bunker behind the hole. Rory meanwhile stays below the hole setting up a makeable birdie from about 12 feet.
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…
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.
(@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!