He made the cut at both the U.S. Open (T41) and British Open (T39) so he knows what it feels like to be around for the weekend in a major. Don’t be surprised to see this Fox go crazy at the PGA.
Sleeper: Muscular Kiwi Ryan Fox is one of the biggest hitters on any tour and when he keeps it in the park he can contend anywhere. Quietly he’s climbed to ninth on the Race to Dubai points list and 80th in the OWGR thanks to a playoff loss at the Irish Open and a T6 at the Scottish Open.
Are they all pulling the same direction in the grow-the-game efforts? There’s a lot of good happening in that organization but with that membership number there’s plenty more to be done. They should be one of the most powerful and influential forces in the game. At this moment I’m not sure they are.
Sleeper: Pat Perez is still riding a career rebirth and he got a taste of the fire at Carnoustie. I can see him playing his way back into the thick of it and hanging there even longer than he did at the Open.
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.
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.
What he has shown in his remarkable year is that he can play good enough golf to win for about 63 holes. Getting from 63 to 72 is like climbing Everest with a Tour bag on your back.
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.
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.
138 yards left for JT. This is a big green with the pin cut on the very back. JT overcooks it just a bit and it hangs on the fringe of the green off the back about 10 feet from the hole.
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.
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.