Look at this pic. Adam Scott can’t even make eye-contact. He’s that humbled by being in the presence of greatness. Or, is he giving Stevie a very subtle finger from behind his Titleist hat? It’s hard to say. What we know for sure is that this week is all about Stevie going after win number 146. Of course, I looked at every single online gambling house I could find and did not see odds on Steve Williams winning the tournament. Weird. Did they cancel the event?
I made fun of the PGA calling itself, “Glory’s Last Shot,” last week and so I’ll fight the urge to do it again. The PGA is kind of like when someone asks you about a really mediocre piece of pizza and you say, “Wellllll…..there’s nothing wrong with it, but.” It is a major championship, but it’s 4th in the pecking order. There’s no way around it. The funny thing is, in recent years the PGA always gets the best field, and has been playing great courses with fair set-ups. I guarantee you the players will have better things to say about the course than they did at Congressional, for the American audience there aren’t 40 European Tour guys you’ve never heard of, but still in the Phillies 4-aces analogy, the PGA is currently Roy Oswalt.
If Steve Williams isn’t going to win, then is there a chance Adam Scott goes back-to-back? What are the storylines for this thing?
Different Course: Last time the PGA came to AAC, David Toms burned the thing to the ground, and scores were historically low. Steve Lowery shot four rounds in the 60s. Re-read that. The event was made memorable by DT’s hole-in-one and his famous lay-up par on 18 that sealed his victory over Phil Mickelson. Mickelson at that point still did not have a major. I think AAC and the PGA are hoping for a similarly exciting ending, but don’t want scores to be quite as low. They’ve apparently created a beast this week. The course is lengthened, the fairways are tighter, and the greens remain treacherous. Players always predict doom early in the week, then someone goes out and shoots 65 and it all changes, so you never know, but don’t expect anyone to shoot 17-under.
Ballstrikers: David Toms is certainly not a bomber, but especially back in the day he did everything else exceptionally well. Accurate, absolutely deadly iron player, and a putting stroke that made fellow pros swoon. With AAC toughened up a bit, I’m not sure if there will be as many opportunities to roll in putts and there might be a bit more of a premium on distance off the tee. Could this be the major where great drivers have an edge? Sergio, Dustin Johnson, Rory, Watney, and that guy Steve Williams caddies for? The lower the scores go, the more it turns into a putting contest sometimes, so if it plays tough, could be a ballstriker’s paradise.
Tiger: Tiger really is something else. He said he was hitting the ball too far and too straight last week at Firestone. God bless him. There is part of me that wants to see Tiger win this week and then allow Bryon Bell to give a 20 minute press conference. That would be amazing. I just don’t think it’s going to happen, though. I do think he’s due for a 9-hole run, though, so watch-out for that. There could be some excited announcers for about 2 hours. I read an article last night that said Tiger needs golf more than golf needs Tiger now. It said that Mickelson, McIlroy or Fowler would also drive the TV ratings. I just stopped laughing at that about 2 minutes ago. If Tiger wins this thing, it will destroy any ratings for an event this year.
Young vs. Old: We were making a big deal out of the youth movement. Kaymer, Schwartzel, McIlroy, etc. Then Darren Clarke took his career off life support and won the Open Championship. Phil Mickelson finished tied for 2nd. The old guys can still play, and there’s no reason why Mickelson can’t win this week, or hell, Davis Love III could win the golf tournament. The young guys just get a lot more hype.
And, Finally, Does America have a Chance: This is the PGA championship. The “A” stands for America. We haven’t won a big one in a while. That’s Tiger’s fault. Or maybe Dustin Johnson’s. Or maybe, it’s his caddy’s fault. I’m not sure, but the streak needs to end. Will it happen this week? It’s probably the best set-up for the American players (the numbers are in their favor as well), but there are plenty of Euros and worldwide players that have fallen in love with the “American” game. Rory, for example, didn’t have many nice things to say about poor conditions after Royal St. George’s. He was eager to get back to the pristine U.S. fairways. He’ll be tough to handle, as will many other foreign charges.
The Definitive Top-10.
- Anthony Kim
- Phil Mickelson
- Sergio Garcia
- Rory McIlroy
- Matt Kuchar
- Jason Day
- K.J. Choi
- Tiger Woods
- Ryo Ishikawa
- Adam Scott