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.
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.
It was captivating TV and I certainly felt bad for him. But this would only cost him a Ryder Cup spot if it happened the week before captain’s picks and it was clear a spot was on the line. Final-round bust-ups happen. He has a few more weeks to make a statement and in the process make the team.
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.
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.
Not sure if he’s fatigued but in this comeback Tiger’s best opportunities to win come at courses where he can hit fewer drivers and play tactical golf. I don’t think Bellerive is that kind of track. He can win again if his health holds and he stays on his current path but this doesn’t feel like the week.
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.
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.
Implosions happen to the best of them. I don’t see it as an issue especially since DeChambeau hasn’t shown a repeated pattern of them. More important to a captain’s pick I think will be the old kindergarten questionHow well does he play with others?
Frayed nerve endings? The guy is still a specimen so I don’t think it’s that he’s physically tired. I think the reality is that he’s the 50th-ranked player in the world for a reason.