The PGA Championship at Whistling Straits

August 10, 2010

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The PGA Championship starts this Thursday at Whistling Straits at Kohler, Wisconsin. This is the second time this great course has hosted a PGA Championship, the last one seeing the Big Fijian, Vijay Singh victorious in a playoff over Chris Dimarco and Justin Leonard.

Whistling Straits is an interesting course, it is a little bit of links style golf in the always links golf thought of state of Wisconsin. Premium is placed on putting your ball in play off the tee, so the winner this week will likely be among the leaders in the field in driving accuracy.

Tiger Woods has no chance to win this week. None, zip, zero, nada. The soon to be former world number one player is … in the words of Joe Willie Namath … struggaaaaliiiing …. Tiger cannot keep it on the golf course, frankly looked completely disinterested last week and now goes into a course that requires you to hit shots to certain spots on each hole. This sounds like appetite to miss the cut if you ask me.

Phil Mickelson, aka Flopsy McChokenstein, showed again last week why we love to get our fill of Phil. Just when it looks like he is poised to make a move, win a big tourney and take over the #1 spot, he goes out and fires a smooth 78 hitting it all over the park and looks completely lost. As only Phil can do in a presser, he indicates he really is close and expects big things this week. Links style courses have not be Phil’s forte, so we shall see what transpires.

Here are Goodman’s Picks for the week in no particular order

  • Justin Leonard, has had success here before, played well last week, good driver of the ball. I like this combination
  • Jeff Overton , about as consistent as they come over the last few weeks, has been a top 10 machine, so why not again
  • Ernie Els, Mr. “What about me” Ernie has fallen out of contention for a few years but has played great this year and leads in Fed Ex Cup points
  • Retief Goosen, only a triple bogey to start his third round sidetracked him last week, he finished 3 back, and if the putter gets going on tricky greens…..we have seen it before
  • Rory McIlroy, the kid is about due to throw out another great performance, why not this week.

As always I hope the wind blows thirty five, the rough is six feet tall and the ground hard as a runway. I love watching the best have a tough time of it.

Toothless Tiger?

August 18, 2009

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As Y.E. Yang hoisted the Wannamaker Trophy with his named newly engraved as the winner of the 91st PGA Championship, the ink had not even dried on the headlines.

“After Fading in the PGA Championship, Tiger Woods’ Slump is Official

” Tiger Woods’ PGA Championship collapse sets up pivotal 2010

“ Tiger Woods Loses PGA Championship to South Korea’s Y.E. Yang

Too many of the fish wrappers state the obvious train wreck type of headline. Don’t bother giving any credit to Mr. Yang. After all, he was a golfer who had to go through qualifying school this year. He formerly was ranked 110th in the world rankings. He had only one PGA Tour golf tournament victory to his credit.

Was, Formerly, Had … all those are way in the past tense now.

Yang becomes arguably the biggest upset winner since Buster Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson. Douglas was the only guy in the place that night that seemed like he didn’t know he was supposed to go home on the wrong end of the stick. He was the guy that was going to get knocked out … not the guy DOING the knocking out.

This has to be one of the biggest sports stories in the history of South Korea. Yang will and should be lauded as a national sports hero. Heck he has won just two less major golf championships that all of the European golfers over the last 10 years combined.

Tiger Was 14-0 in Majors when holding at least a share of the 54 hole lead. Formerly he had played aggressive in many of those rounds, setting scoring records that may never be broken. He Had been untouchable in Majors when entering the final round. It was pretty much like bringing in Goose Gossage to face your kid’s little league team.

Was, Formerly, Had … in Tigers case these are being used in the present tense

And as many will celebrate the demise of the golf demi-god known as Tiger Woods, we get to see that at least on this weekend he was a mortal human … Not just a robotic, cannot be beat, machine like terminator that goes into the final round with the lead and says … I must break you.

The man Tiger is chasing, Jack Nicklaus, won 18 Professional Golf Majors (British Open, Masters, PGA Championship, US Open) in his career. Maybe more astounding than the 18 wins he that he finished second place in those same majors a remarkable 19 times. That means 19 times he was very, very close. Formerly, Jack was considered to be the best golfer of all time. Now many think it is Tiger Woods. Just think if maybe he had just one or two less lucky shots by an opponent, or avoided a bad break or slight miscue to hurt his chances, he might have 25 even 30 majors to his credit.

Was, Formerly, Had … I don’t think Jack dwells on this too much these days.

Regardless, what happens now will be interesting with Tiger. Many times in his career he seems to make it a point to do the unthinkable just to prove the naysayers wrong. After all, two of the traveling championships are at two of his favorite venues, the Old Course at St Andrews, and Pebble Beach.

Or, maybe he is getting a bit older. Maybe he has lost a bit. Maybe the rest of the field is getting better.

I did see one thing on Sunday’s final round that led me to believe he would not win the tournament. On the 7th hole when faced with a long approach 2nd shot on a reachable par 5, Woods chose to hit a bunt wedge to layup range. That was an unspectacular and non-heroic shot to be sure. Formerly a younger Tiger would never had made such a “safe” play. He would have ripped a 3 wood into the green and taken his chances. Was that a sign of older wisdom on the golf course, or a sign that the nerves are present to the guy who never seems to get nervous?

Was, Formerly, Had.

I am sure he is already thinking about Augusta next year.

[Editor’s Note: in case you missed it, there was an early morning (or late evening, depending where you are) publication of an article regarding the MLB draftee signing deadline.]