No. 18 is a dogleg left. No birdies thus far today. Tiger and JT find the fairway while Rory loses his drive in the rough on the right. Tiger drains a testy little five-footer for par and JT and Rory clean up too. On to the 18th.
I loved watching him in his prime and want to see that again as much as anybody but it was made glaringly obvious on Sunday he doesn’t have the same precision consistency and control as Thomas tee-to-green and is nowhere near as good a putter and while JT’s hunger was palpable Rory seemed as lost as ever.
The U.S. hasn’t won a road game in a quarter-century meaning Furyk is going to want hardened Ryder Cuppers and Le Golf National is tight and quirky so I think Kuchar and Z. Johnson are sure to be picked.
The U.S. seems strong but it’s worth mentioning that a few guys who look like solid bets to be on the team — Bubba Webb and Tiger to name three — haven’t had much success in the event. I think it’s a coin-flip as most Ryder Cups are these days. But in the meantime keep talking Monty! It only adds to the anticipation.
And Tiger pours it in! That was a heck of a par. He even smiled at that one. He’s still +2. Woods from the left trees 70 yards away. And the shot clips a limb…and lands next to cup! Wow that was almost a disaster but instead it coziest past to about 7 feet. That’s for a par save.
He hits a rising bullet that escape the trees…only to hook hard and re-enter the trouble farther down the fairway. Thomas and McIlroy find the green inside 20 feet for birdies. And now another Tiger escape shot coming.
He oversaw the process that moved the PGA Championship to May which is surely better than August (but not nearly as good as late February/early March in my opinion). I think he and his board way overreacted to one ill-advised but meaningless tweet by former PGA president Ted Bishop.
Does prohibitive mean you cannot make a case for somebody else? I’ll make a case against JT and his sunshine bandit is extremely difficult to do it for eight consecutive rounds. Four is hard five is harder — then there’s six and seven. Eight is way way hard.
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.
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.
Phil hacks out and his shot settles in the right rough 70 yards short. Early trouble. Meanwhile a massive crowd on No. 10 greets Tiger Rory and JT. Teeing off on No. 10 Mickelson blows his shot into the rough well left of the fairway on the par 4. And so it begins.
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.