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.
(@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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Gray area = trouble ahead. This panel is going to stay busy next year. Shaping up to be a heck of a sporting weekend despite the Lions’ involvement (sorry Ritter). During football season it’s hard for anything else to register on the sports calendar but if they do this Friday they’ll certainly steal some eyeballs.
Gooood morning golf fans! The sun is out the rain is gone and players are on the course at the PGA Championship. We’ll get the blog rolling at 9:15 ET with two power groups: Phil Mickelson-Jason Day-Keegan Bradley (9:01 ET) and Tiger Woods-Rory McIlroy-Justin Thomas (9:23). See you shortly.
Next up is the one par 5 on the back nine. JT misses left his first missed fairway of the day. Rory also misses left but finds a decent lie in the rough. He’s still -1 on the day. Tiger hits driver like the others and also finds the bunker on the left side of the fairway. An inauspicious start on this par 5 for our trio.
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.
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.
That’s eleven. So Bryson Webb Schauffele and Finau are all competing for the last spot on the team. Only way for any of them to be sure they’re on the team is to be in the top eight a week from now.