It has been about 36 hours now since the PGA Championship came to a close and Rory McIlory blew the field away by eight shots. That eight shot margin broke Jack Nicklaus’ old PGA Championship margin of victory record which was seven. I was pretty spent after the PGA and instead of cranking out a piece about it moments after it finished like the regular scribes, I decided to let my cranium chew on it for a couple of days before I posted my comments. Here we go.
Here’s a guy who is 23 years old, same height as me (5 ‘9″), and weighs in at only 160 pounds (considerably less than me), yet he outdistanced the big hitters like Bubba Watson, averaging 311 yards per drive. On one 500 yard hole, Rory hit pitching wedge for his 2nd shot after hitting his drive 350 yards. The power and speed with which this kid can hit the ball is astounding. The balance in his swing is beautiful. Yes Bubba hits it long, but Rory hits is as long or longer when he needs to without swinging out of his shorts.
The break McIlory got when the blimp found his ball in the dead tree branch was big at the time. That came when he was just starting to heat up. Had he not found his ball in that tree and managed to save par after the unplayable lie, he would have been looking at a likely double on that hole.
I’ve had the pleasure of following Rory around for a few rounds this season, at the Masters. Watching him hit the ball is one of the few times I’d rather watch golf than play it. He hits the ball so damn high it is insane. Softer course conditions, like Kiawah this past week, favor his length and carry. I wonder if they will have to start “Rory-Proofing” courses now?
With the win McIlory beats Tiger in how fast he got to his 2nd major if I’m not mistaken. How long until the scribes and fans start pondering if Rory will break Jack’s major record of 18? Easy now. We see how hard it is for Tiger right now. The win also moves Rory to #1 in the world again. But this time there is no doubt. He really is the best golfer in on the planet right now.
Final thought on McIlory for now, is how genuine he seems to be. Hard not to like someone who is so personable, friendly and seemingly genuine. Loved his tweet yesterday which said something like “how cool is it to wake up to this?” The picture attached was the Wanamaker trophy.
Tiger looked solid for the first two days, like he has in other majors this year. Once again the regular golf media slobbered all over themselves and awarded him his 15th major before it happened. That’s getting old.
There’s no doubt that Tiger has lost his edge. Not saying he can’t get it back, but he certainly doesn’t have it right now. Watching him miss crucial short putts and seeing his body language after bad shots tells the story. And the bad shots are all over the place. Distance control in the short irons and wedges is extremely inconsistent. After rounds Tiger always has an explanation for it, like not having enough reps or needing to make a swing adjustment. This time his story was that he was playing “too relaxed.” If he’s so sure of the reasons he can’t win, why can’t he figure it out until after the tournament is over? Doesn’t make any sense.
Tiger doesn’t dominate off the tee with his length like he used to. Everyone hits it long now, nullifying the advantage he had for years. Rory is much longer than he is now, as are many other players. Courses have been lengthened too.
In the end it all comes down to what is going on inside Tiger’s head. There’s no doubt he still has the physical ability and the knees look to be fine. He’s got the physical tools still, but his psyche is what needs the most improvement if he’s to win another major at all, let alone break Jack’s record. It will be interesting and entertaining to watch either way.
Following his missed cut Lee Westwood sacked (to use British terminology) his caddie and coach. Lee’s putting has been his nemesis. I’d love to see him win a major. Lee posted this on his social networks:
“It’s a shame my first missed cut in more than a year was at the USPGA Championship. I played well enough to be in contention but my putting is frustrating me at the moment.”
Ian Poulter’s run to start the final round was off the charts good. Five consecutive birdies to start. For a minute there I thought perhaps he’d get his first major win. He faded at the end, but the front nine performance was fun to watch.
Carl Pettersson had a tough break on the 1st hole in the final round when he brushed a leaf with his club in a hazard. That’s a two stroke penalty, which really hurt him. He came back nicely, despite the setback. Fans on the social networks complained about the “stupid rules of golf” etc., but I think anyone who complained about that is in fact stupid. The rules are the rules. Sometimes one can take advantage and sometimes not. Yes it was a tough break and too bad for Carl.
Big news. John Daly made a cut in a major. In fact, he had a solid appearance all around, especially in some tough conditions. Big JD finishes at -1 for the tournament, good enough for a tie for 18th. Solid.
Martin Kaymer missed the cut with two rounds of 79. The former #1 has not been playing terribly well as of late. Is he a one hit wonder?
Kiawah – The Track
I have not had the opportunity to play Kiawah, but it is on the list. I’m currently a 3 handicap, but I doubt I could have broken 100 if the best players in the world averaged 78 on the 2nd day with the wind and rain. The track looks pretty amazing. I hope to play it one day, and to break 100.
Season Winding Down
Sniff sniff. The PGA is the fourth and final major of the year. That means the season is winding down. For me that means my playing season is winding down. That thought doesn’t thrill me much. Here in Salt Lake (HOG World HQ), the snow will be flying in a couple of months, then the game will go into hibernation until spring. And the game is getting good right now too. Same cycle every year: suck in the spring, work it out and get the game decent in the summer, cry and whine in the fall and winter.
With the majors over it is FedEx Cup playoffs time, and of course this year will be the Ryder Cup as well. There’s still plenty of golf to enjoy on the pro circuits. And the new PGA Tour schedule is starting, where the first official events of the season don’t start in January anymore, but in the winter. Not sure I can wrap my cerebral cortex around that but we will see how that plays out.
Love To Hear From You
Whether you agree with my comments or not, I’d like to hear from you. Comment below.
Rory put on an amazing display of driving and short game in the final round. I was impressed with how he handled the lost ball in the tree on Saturday and his ability to recover from a couple short misses early Sunday morning.
Tiger clearly does not trust his swing during the weekend pressure at a major. No matter how good you hit it on the range or in the early rounds, it doesn’t compare to the weekend of a major.
He’ll get it back but he won’t be dominate anymore. It will be interesting to see how well he deals with the pressure that’s on him to get to 19 majors.
Kiawah is a good looking course. However the paspalum around the greens made for one option only and that was the aerial shot. True links courses give players more options thanks to the fescue grass. The course would be really good if players were able to have different options after a missed green.