On the par-3 13th Woods knocks one to about 15 for a good look at birdie. Rory finishes with twirl and his ball settles about 10 feet away. JT misses the green. JT drains it to drop to -2. Woods gets back to +2.
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.
Bubba Watson. It’s been an incredible year for Bubba and it continues this week when he picks apart Bellerive with that pink driver. Sleeper: Hossler has been there all year. He’s shown the ability to play his way into contention at normal Tour stops. I think he avoids the weekend blow-up that has normally followed and bags himself his first top 10 in a major.
(@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.
JT takes the pin out to chip from the fringe and he babys it just a tad. He’s nearly in gimme range for par but seemed a bit unhappy with the effort. Rory misses his birdie try and leaves himself a few feet for par. He’s not happy about that effort either.
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.
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.
I’m not saying I agree with it but Bryson would be particularly easy to leave off as “a poor team fit” if he doesn’t auto qualify right? Although he’s a particular favorite of assistant captain Woods. Xander Schauffele should also be sure to lock his spot in; a lack of seniority may have him on the outside looking in otherwise.
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.
Justin Thomas meanwhile pars the 16th to remain -3 and tied atop the leaderboard with Stewart Cink. Greetings folks. Jess Marksbury with you for the next two hours. And I’m just in time for another Tiger bogey on the par-3 16th. Bummer. He falls to +3 for the day.
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.
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.