Who could have predicted the storms of the PGA Championship in St. Louis in August? After a Birdiefest start into the second round came heavy storms for the afternoon wave and extinguished the game. They will be restarted on Saturday at 8am CET, and then the third round will start sometime shortly after 11am, with players depositing two T-shirts in groups of three. During the rainy season, I made some notes on some of the impressive, amusing and annoying things I saw on Friday at the PGA.
What Rory and JT can learn from Tiger
Tiger Woods did not look very good on Friday afternoon. He was a sweat ball and sighed constantly, sometimes looking exhausted after finishing a hole. Nevertheless, the rain break hurt him the most. He cooked on a course that was ready for the recording.
Tiger is unlikely to win, but it's so much better if he puts on a show instead of missing those depressing marches. That's what it looked like on Thursday morning, when he started with his first two holes in threes. Now he jumped 25 more places in the ranking on Friday with a 3-under-start in his first eight holes of the second round up.
At the end of the first round at the Golf Channel Live from the PGAAsked Rich Lerner Brandel Chamblee what Tiger looked like and was stacked on Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy, the two superstar twenty-year-olds living near the top of the world rankings in the absence of Tiger. Instead of trying to stack Tiger on top of the two young guns, Chamblee's response took in what was so conspicuous on the first round of the 42-year-old:
"I think, you [Rory and JT] I would have learned something from him … What this round of cleanliness lacked, so to speak with tenacity. The fact that he could go through it. The ability to correct yourself in the middle of a lap is nice. "
Now Tiger has to be reset first on Saturday morning and try to continue the series he put together in the first eight holes on Friday afternoon. Regardless of what happens, the comeback of this disaster from beginning to end has been a reminder of one of the hallmarks of Tiger's supremacy: making the most of a day when it starts badly or you are not feeling well. We also saw another Hall of Famer on Friday …
Jordan Spieth is unlikely to end the career slam this week. But I thought his Friday morning round was one of his most impressive this season. Granted, his lap was one of the few we could actually see on Friday.
I caught him on the track on Thursday night on the Golf Channel and he looked good, a little lost, He hit drivers and almost immediately seemed angry after contact during the clip. It was late. It was the end of a long, unbearably hot day and he had an early start on Friday. This came after a season of looking lost and frustrated and a week that looked like absolute sanding on the putting green that tried to figure it out.
They did not expect great results in the second round. Then he came back on Friday morning and released a 66 bogey to move well into the cut line and be able to possibly fight when things go crazy over the weekend. At one point he blocked one in danger on a par-5 and broke out (for golf!) In a moment of frustration.
After that, he lay down, almost flinging a wedge for a miracle bird and turning a par-saving putt. It was a fantastic par, especially after he had just raged in the danger zone.
The par was emblematic of Spieth's 66-lap lap of one week when he was clearly looking for some things in several parts of his game. For me it was so impressive, indicative of what Chamblee noted above about Tiger, and what one might expect from some of Spieth's contemporaries.
When a tree falls into the forest …
I understand that there are many, many well-paid positions in the Gulf, whose tasks and tasks are difficult to recognize. Many have work to say "no" without thinking, while others have work just to say "yes" to any dreadful, horrible idea. There are also many smart people in golf, and many of them are involved in this week's big championship.
I understand that there is a contract, and this contract provides for a television broadcast from 14 o'clock. But those smart people had to figure it out – this deal may have proved appropriate in 2009. It is not now.
We were scheduled for six hours of coverage on a day that meant more than twelve hours of golf. The US Open and British Open have 10- and 14-hour broadcasts for each of the first two rounds. The PGA has six. That's not good! Then we got a rain delay, which went out only 2.5 hours after the TV coverage. Meanwhile, NINE Players who shot 65 or less in a morning wave could not be watched.
Thirty years ago, this is the only big championship round with more than 7 rounds of 65 or less. Already 9 have been recorded today.
– Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) August 10, 2018
The morning felt lethargic and directionless when we sat in the dark and only a group flocked. This group was good to see, but none of them shot these super low laps and with just three players in one stream spent so much time watching them wait for a tea box or go to a green.
This is a problem, apart from a contract that should be resolved in recent years by the smart parties involved. Get a new contract. Get a more robust stream offer. Getting annoyed about the reporting is tired and I'm not even upset about the actual production or coverage of the Golf. It's just the lack of coverage and Friday's mocking start, followed by a washed-out TV window just illuminating how big a miss it was that years ago this antiquated arrangement was not renegotiated or reformatted.
It can not happen and it reduces the PGA.
Phil Mickelson dressed like Ron Rivera and went to the welcome cocktail hour with season ticket holders in mid-August. Then, during the rainy season, I saw that Ian Poulter was in the same setting. I like Poulter as a character and I think the hatred can be excessive. But do you know how you know that your outfit is an Airball? If Ian Poulter has the same ensemble.
Phil should have gone to the button-down look. I suspect Poulter may be Mike Shula in this scenario.
What about Rory?
I acknowledge Rory McIlroy for having a problem. As soon as I heard the question on Tuesday during his press conference, I jumped a little. It was direct and did not dance around the elephant in the room, starting with, "Someone told me this morning, they think that you are aware that you have a mechanical problem with their wedges …" Ouch!
Rather than denying that such a problem does not exist, or being mischievous and offended, Rory directly addressed the issue and admitted it, adding a context why he thinks there is a problem. The answer was open and not defiant:
I think, obviously, last week [at Firestone] marks a few things. And, yes, sure, I think what makes me so good with the driver is sometimes what makes me uneven with the wedges and the hand speed and the body speed and spin, and the fact that sometimes a lot of separation in your upper and lower part is required lower body with the driver in hand, but you do not need this separation with a wedge in your hand.
I think I talked to Thomas Björn last year in Scotland and he said that one of the reasons why I am such a good wedge player is the same reason why I'm not very good at the ball and it is Opposite of me. So it's just about finding that mix. In any case, in recent years, I have become a bit more agile, and some of them are due to a bad habit and some of them due to injuries.
I give it credit: The first part confirms that you have a problem. He made it public.
What now? His numbers from wedge rows this year are not as horrible as in recent years, but it seems to be in his head. His wedges at Firestone were bad and there were several rough ones in the PGA. It came to a head before the rain slowed as he bombarded an absolute nothing near the target, just 103 yards away. The result was a miracle par-saving from a bunker. This can not be done from a distance of 100 meters with a relatively simple setup and that makes Rory one of the most frustrating watches in the moment. He is the best driver of a generation and bombards him to Tiger and JT in St. Louis and then wastes a lot of that advantage. This course is just perfect for his strengths and asks him to dominate him.
As I wrote on Thursday: hey, just a few weeks ago he was in the lead with three holes in a major and just four days ago played in a Sunday combination of a loaded WGC. Almost every other player comes up with these results, which we would call hot and trendy. Then watch him start a 360-yard ride and make an effort to save par. I have no idea what to think about Rory. I vacillate between disappointment, frustration, (perhaps misguided) hope and rationalization.