As Zak wrote in Scotland Chamblee pulled double duty all week in Carnoustie prepping for the qualifier around his TV work. And then he claimed medalist honors. It was extremely impressive…and Watson is still at a completely different level. Links courses are just a magical fit for him. It was incredible to see him in the hunt on the weekend at St. Andrews.
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.
It’s Tony Finau time. He’s been knocking at the door in the majors and now he comes to a big straight-forward layout that favors bombers and an event that has no par-3 tournament for him to wreck his ankle in. Sleeper: Luke List. Putting is his historical weakness but he’s been rounding into form and is coming off a strong showing at Firestone a course that plays not unlike Bellerive.
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.
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.
I’d say any European team that had Seve Faldo Langer Lyle and Woosnam would likely be better than whatever 12 players the Europeans assemble this year.
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.
Woods and Thomas are safely on this par 4 but outside 30 feet. Rory from 115 yards with a little tree trouble…and it’s a flyer that stays on the green maybe 30 feet above the hole. No great birdie looks from the group here.
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.
Is there any golfer anywhere with more positive memories than Tiger at Firestone? He shouldn’t be the favorite but based on what we’ve seen of late Tiger belongs in that next tier of contenders. He’s playing well! And his presence certainly ups the intrigue for this two-week stretch.
What I expect to see from Tiger is more of what we’ve seen since his comebackOld Tiger brilliance mixed with New Tiger glitches. That may wind up being good enough to win. That doesn’t make him the real-world favorite but Vegas and the public might make him the gambling favorite. So it goes when you are Tiger Woods Old or New. I suspect we’ll see much of the same at the PGA.
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.