I’m giving the nod to Scotland but let’s say thisyou can’t go wrong either way. For those of you have never been to either but have been to Bandon Dunes I would say Bandon is more Scottish than Irish until you get to the bar.
That is incisive Alan and I agree with all of it. The difference between 63-hole and 72-hole golf is the difference between being No. 50 and being a consistent winner and contender of which there’s maybe a half dozen tops.
Sleeper: Kevin Na. Yes he only has two top-10 finishes in major championships over the course of his career but he’s having a stellar season with a win at the Greenbrier in July and three other top 10s. I like him!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bigly (if I am using that correctly). Significantly. Props to Chamblee for qualifying but qualifying is one thing and contending is another. The nod goes to Watson and it’s not really close. Adding to that Brandel’s qualifier was just 18 holes. Tom Watson contended into Sunday! These two are really not quite comparable. Watson’s was far far more impressive.
Tiger has showed this year that his best golf is good enough but he has been unable to string together four straight strong rounds. Is it mental fatigue? A back that is balkier than he will let on?
I wouldn’t be worried about Tiger’s fatigue this week. It’s the last major of the year and Tiger’s attention will be squarely placed on attacking Bellerive. He can take his foot off the gas at the Northern Trust and nobody will hold it against him…