I’ll always think of him as a savvy negotiator (witness the mega-TV contract he nailed down for the Ryder Cup with NBC). In terms of challenges there’s the matter of boosting the PGA Championship to the status of something more than the afterthought major and of finding the right venues for the newly rejiggered schedule.
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.
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.
Not the favorite. I’ll go with Dustin Johnson for that distinction. I’ll be looking for his “control” again this week. He had it at Carnoustie not making a double bogey until the back nine Sunday. If he can avoid double bogeys for another long stretch I’ll start believing he can contend at the PGA.
Tiger hits a great approach setting up another short birdie attempt of about 8-10 feet. Rory also finds the green but will have 25 feet for birdie. JT ends up just short of the green from the fairway bunker but it’s puttable.
The level of play across professional golf is higher now than ever; from a very literal perspective these players are likely the best the European side has ever seen. But in terms of team dominance? Nah. The U.S. squad is loaded and deserves to be the favorite as long as it can figure out a couple of the trickier team pairings.
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.
TV showed a lot of Tiger’s warm-up session this morning. If I had to describe it in three words it would be “a warm-up session.” Everything seems fine. He’s heading to the tee and off soon with Rory and JT.
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.
Pete Bevacqua helped make the PGA of America far more modern in its approach to marketing planning and taking inventory in the broadest sense. He helped oversee a process by which the players could control the playing of the Ryder Cup and trained professionals could handle the business aspects.
On the par-4 15th Rory swinging driver finds the right side of the fairway. That one was smoked. …and he come up short as well. He taps for par. Looks like pars all around here. Rory’s putt trundles down the slope but comes up about 5 feet short. JT leaves his birdie 3 feet short..and now Tiger…
I’ve been lucky enough to visit Scotland several times but have only hit Ireland once. I just love the history and the quirkiness of the old Scottish links. They’re an absolute blast. But Ireland’s sweeping dunescapes took my breath away. It’s a tough call. To make it I need another trip overseas for more research.