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5 Things We Learned on Saturday of the 2018 PGA Championship

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Round 3 has concluded at Bellerive, and golf could not ask for a finer leader board as Saturday evening falls. In fact, a populace could not be better served than the teaching professionals of America. The organization that introduces a majority of golfers to the game, polishes swings, refines etiquette, has a star-studded cast on stage for Sunday’s final round. The weather problems have left the region, and St. Louis and Bellerive are prepared for an unforgettable 4th round. We learned a few things on day 3, so let’s move along with 5 things we learned on Saturday at the PGA Championship.

5) Does the viewing public care about quality architecture more than a quality field?

Complete transparency: I’m an architecture junky and know the difference between Trent Jones and Travis, Dye and Doak, and Coore and MacDonald. Sometimes there isn’t much, other times, there is. The runway tees, constant same-direction doglegs, and fairway-pinching bunkering of the Trent Jones influence were certainly a reaction to the quality architecture that came before World War 2 in the USA, and a lightning rod for the renaissance that began in the early 1990s. Here’s the rub: Koepka, Scott, Rahm, Fowler, Woods Day, Thomas, Molinari, Kisner, Cink are in the top 15 after 54 holes. You have U.S. Open, British Open, Masters and PGA champions in that roll call, recent challengers and the best of a young generation. What’s not to like about that, whether the architecture is our finest or not? One thing’s for certain: the PGA of America set up the Bellerive course to challenge (but not burden) the field, and the superintendent and crew executed the plan to perfection.

4) What does it mean to be Under The Radar?

Andy North won 2 U.S. Opens and not much else. One other PGA Tour event, in fact. He wasn’t due any more attention than that, as he didn’t demonstrate any staying power or diversity in his wins. Eerily similar is the case of Brooks Koepka: a standard tour win (Phoenix) followed by … 2 U.S. Opens. You can’t say that Brooks Koepka is any better than Andy North, at this stage of his career. Therefore, he doesn’t merit any more attention or respect than other major winners in the field. How about Adam Scott, Stewart Cink, Webb Simpson or Jason Day? One major for each of them, and like Koepka, ready to break free of whatever distinction they currently have. All great players, but not yet part of a legendary pantheon.

3) Who are these young guys, yet to win a major?

Jon Rahm is the most heralded of the younger generation. 23 years old, already a winner, already tabbed to perform in a legendary manner. Unfair burden, perhaps, but those who desire the mantel of greatness, must accept such an onus. Kevin Kisner has challenged so often in majors, these last 15 months. On Saturday, he played an un-Kisner like round of +2, dropping 5 shots off the pace set by Koepka at -12. Will the chance to come from behind suit him more than being a front-runner, as he was in July at Carnoustie? How about Gary Woodland? He’s 34, not a young guy by any stretch, but he needs a feature victory of his own. He fits the image of a PGA champion: hard-grinding journeyman who stays out of the spotlight, but has the game to produce at any moment.

2) How about the defending champion and the Jarrod Lyle factor?

Justin Thomas had 68 on Saturday for a total of 8-under. He’s a quartet of shots off the lead and not keen on giving up the Wannamaker trophy he won in 2017. He knows how to win from behind, and how to hold a lead. He’s awfully tough to beat when the stakes are high. On a completely-different plane, Adam Scott and Jason Day have the entire nation of Australia on their shoulders, as they try to win one for their fallen comrade, Jarrod Lyle. So many forms of motivation, only one winner.

1) Woods

The elephant in the room is a tiger. Tiger Woods had a chance in July at the British Open. He has consecutive 66s after opening with 70. Another 66 will get him to 12-under, but it won’t be enough to win. He’ll need 64, and he’ll need to do it in the company of Gary Woodland, in the 3rd-last pairing. Before he arrives at the first tee, Woods will have the information he needs on who is making a move, which holes offer an opportunity to save strokes, and what he might need to do. The rest will be up to Tiger 4.0, a mash-up of 2000, 2005 and 2008 Tiger Woods. If he shoots another 31 on the front nine, as he did on Saturday, watch out. I can’t wait. I CANNOT WAIT!!

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Ronald Montesano writes for GolfWRX.com from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. joro

    Aug 13, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    What a bunch of really stupid comments. There is no comparison to Brooks and Andy, the guy is for real and will win a lot before he becomes another announcer who can’t compete anymore,,, Hear that Trevor ? You went to David runtime Leadbetter and now you are out. As for Tiger, he is coming along but the public still adores him, so be it. Maybe he will win something, maybe not.

  2. RocketBall

    Aug 12, 2018 at 2:21 am

    I’m going to go out on a limb and call you on one point. The Brooks Koepka / Andy North compare. I think even Andy North would agree that Koepka is better than he was at this stage.

  3. sid

    Aug 12, 2018 at 12:58 am

    Tiger will be prowling in the rough and plummet down down down… wanna bet?!!

    • Ronald Montesano

      Aug 12, 2018 at 12:06 pm

      I’m not a betting man. I certainly don’t want anyone in the rough, plummeting. It will be a learning experience for 4.0, so here’s hoping we have an unforgettable finish to this event.

    • Jerrod

      Aug 12, 2018 at 5:40 pm

      Typical hater comment. Your rally is in DC while the PGA Championship is going on. Wanna bet I’m right?!?!

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Equipment

Danny Willett’s Winning WITB: DP World Tour Championship

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Driver: Callaway Rogue (9 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana W 60x

3-wood: Callaway Rogue Fairway Wood (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana W 70X

Irons: Callaway X Forged Utility Irons (18, 21, 24 degrees), Callaway X Forged 18 Irons (5-9)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 Superlite

Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy Forged PW (48 degrees), Callaway Mack Daddy 4 Wedges (54, 58 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold

Putter: Odyssey Prototype (Stroke Lab)

Ball: Chrome Soft X

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Danny Willett spotted with new Odyssey prototype putter, putter shaft

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You may have seen Danny Willett’s name near the top of the leaderboard at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. At 10 under, the Englishman sits one stroke behind fellow countryman Matt Wallace.

You may not have seen, however, that the 2016 Masters champ has a new Odyssey prototype putter in the bag.

(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

(Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

All the company would say

“Willett first put in his new gamer last week at the Nedbank Challenge. Willett’s prototype putter also features a new prototype Odyssey shaft to help improve the consistency of the putting stroke.”

Willet has historically favored his blade-style Odyssey O-Works #1 W. More recently, at the Turkish Airlines Open, we spotted him with an Odyssey Versa Jailbird Black. However, the prototype in question is clearly a heel-shafted mallet with a different insert than the 1 W or the Jailbird. The insert looks to be the White Hot Microhinge. Obviously, the two-tone, potentially multi-material, shaft, and the technology therein, is notable as well. Also apparently two-tone, the putter head, which looks similar in shape to a Tank Cruiser and similarly has a pair of sole weights.

Do we need the TG2 to break down the few photos we have like the Zapruder film? We’ll continue digging, in the meantime, let us know what you think, GolfWRX Members!

 

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McIlroy snaps back at McGinley criticism: “Next year, I’m looking out for me”

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Earlier this week, Rory McIlroy suggested that he would leave the European Tour in 2019 which produced criticism from Irish golfer and analyst Paul McGinley, who called the decision “extraordinary” and “hard to understand.”

McIlroy, who is currently in action at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, indicated before the event that he would only play in two “pure” European Tour events next year. When told about McGinley’s negative reaction to the news on Thursday, McIlroy hit back in unrepentant style. The 29-year-old defiantly expressed how 2019 will be the year he puts himself first in a bid to end a major drought dating back to 2014, while also suggesting that just like himself, McGinley has his own interests in mind.

“McGinley is on the European Tour board. He’s involved and he has to protect what he has, and I get it. Everyone has to do what’s best for them and for me next year I’m trying to do what’s best for me to help get back to the best player in the world and try to win majors again.”

Should McIlroy decide not to renew his European Tour membership for 2019, he would be unable to captain his continent in future Ryder Cup’s, due to a European Tour rule introduced last year. When asked about his thoughts on that particular issue, McIlroy appeared to show no concern, bluntly replying: “It’s 20 years away”.

McIlroy confirmed that he had met with European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley in South Africa last week to brief him on his plans for 2019. But while the move to quit the European Tour looks increasingly likely, McIlroy was not ready to drop any bombshells in Dubai, and even poked fun at the controversy, stating

“Geez, I’d cause all the stirs in the world if I go back to winning majors. Next year I am looking out for me. At the same time, I don’t have to make a decision on it. I didn’t say it was a definite. It is up in the air. We’ll see how it goes.”

McIlroy has until next May to decide whether or not to renew his European Tour membership for 2019.

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