Weirdness prevailed on day one at the PGA. The wind was virtually nonexistent, which, combined with soft conditions led to better-than-expected scoring. That was only mildly interesting. The weird part was seeing John Daly post a 4 under par 68. It shouldn’t come as any great surprise that Daly played well. He’s been quietly having a good run in 2012, playing wherever he gets an invitation and for whoever (in Europe) is willing to pay for his presence. It’s been interesting to see a Daly who looks oddly businesslike on the course. There’s something a bit refreshing about watching JD play well. Everyone knows he has immense talent, but I think most people just got tired of his drunken redneck shtick. It became a little tedious…so it’s fun to see Daly back on a leader board and both looking and sounding like he means to try. Of course, it’s entirely possible that no sooner will this post go up than Daly will fire six balls in the ocean somewhere, card a 21 on a par three, duck under the ropes for a beer, flip the PGA the bird and drive to Charleston to get married. You just never know.
Next we have Carl Pettersson atop the early leader board after firing a 6 under par 66. An unapologetic proponent of the long putter, Pettersson made clear Wednesday in a Golf Channel piece that he thinks the USGA and R&A’s contemplated banning of the long wand is patently unfair. He and Tim Clark, also interviewed for the Golf Channel feature, both indicated in no uncertain terms that they view the assault on the long putter to be a belated attempt to close the barn door on a horse that’s long gone. Both Pettersson and Clark have used long putters their entire careers. They seem to be taking the debate very personally, which they should and which could mean….litigation. Yeeha! It will be interesting to see what happens in the event Pettersson, or some other player who “anchors” the putter, should win the PGA this week. I like Carl Pettersson but I kind of hope he doesn’t win just to avoid adding further fuel to the “Ban the Belly” debate.” On the other hand, I like the idea of a Swede who grew up in North Carolina, attended school there, has a beer gut and a strange combination of Swedish-hillbilly accent, actually winning the PGA Championship. What could be more American than that?
Phil Mickeslson shot a 73 that looked for the entire world like it could’ve been 92. I watched him play the par five 7th yesterday in a manner reminiscent of some of my worst days on the course. He made a miraculous recovery from behind the green to 10 feet, and then made the putt—for bogey. Phil being Phil, he followed his horrific play on number 7 by stuffing his tee shot on the par three eighth for a kick-in birdie. He looked a bit flustered the entire day.
Adam Scott shot 68 and seems to have recovered a bit from his British meltdown. We’ll see if it lasts. After the Open Championship I felt awful for him, because it would appear that his nice guy persona is genuine. My sympathy evaporated to a degree when I read his interview following the tournament; not because of anything he said, but because it was conducted at his home in the Swiss Alps. Yeah, sucks to be Adam Scott.
Bad news for Tiger fans and TV executives—Tiger fired an opening round three under par 69. He said he was pleased and that he’s hitting the ball very well What little I saw of his performance would seem to confirm that Tiger is indeed looking solid, efficient and on form for the PGA Championship. So why is that bad news? Well, he headed south in a hurry the weekend of the US Open after looking like Tiger redux during rounds 1 and 2. Thus, I’m taking his good play today as a bad omen for the weekend—and ratings.
Someone named Alex Noren managed a 67 and is one behind fellow Swede, Pettersson. The leader board should fluctuate wildly today because the wind is starting to howl, and…seriously, as I write this my leader board shows that Noren just double bogeyed the third hole. As I scroll down the leader board, it seems everyone is making bogies…stay tuned.