Iron play should be a major factor and it all sounds like a fit for him. Also if you like a history angle Bellerive hosted the U.S. Open that Gary Player won to complete his own career slam. What’s one more?
Justin Thomas. He is the game’s most complete player and comes in with a ton of momentum. And a softish parkland course like Bellerive is right in his wheelhouse. Sleeper: I took Schauffele at Carnoustie and I’m afraid his profile is too high now to qualify as a dark horse so I’m going with Luke List. He has one of the best long-games in golf and early word is that Bellerive is a bomber’s paradise.
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.
I guess the question of “Who is the favorite?” on a weekly basis will become only more meaningful in an era of broad betting interest in golf. It’s not like picking horses. Having said that Woods’s past success at Firestone is not any kind of predictor of whether he can win this week.
It’s a perfect date. I can’t wait. It’s THE perfect date. I’d rather be playing myself. As a native Michigander and Lions sympathizer this match will be No. 2 on my dial if it’s played opposite the football game. (At least until halftime when the Lions are out of it.) But like everyone else I think the date is a winner.
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.
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.
Tiger Woods. Plenty will focus on a disappointing finish at Firestone but even this week I saw plenty to be encouraged by. A couple of days of intense practice and we’ll see a dialed-in Tiger in Missouri.
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.
You split the baby because you have no other choices. The governing bodies want to reward effort in the map-making department. It will be hard to enforce but the players need to do that more than the officials. It’s a work in progress.
So as we make the turn to No. 1 Tiger is at +2 JT remains tied for the lead at -3 and Rory is at even par. All right! Tiger drains his birdie to get back to +2 through his first nine. JT misses his birdie and settles for par and Rory takes a bogey.
(@Jeff_Ritter)Both are great picks so I’d split the difference and say the favorite is Dustin Thomas. Both guys look unstoppable when locked in. Either could win at Bellerive by five shots or more and it wouldn’t be the least bit surprising.