PGA Tuesday: Raves For Southern Hills, Phil Is Missed (Ish)
Tiger talks "legacy" golf and Southern Hills. Plus, tee times, grain talk, beer talk, Cejka's latest "book" drama and an extra beefy edition of Quotables.
Players stepped up to the 2022 PGA Championship microphone and offered golf course assessments, answered questions about various off-course business
greed news, the missing defending champion and expensive beer.
Tiger Woods offered his most direct remarks to date on the PGA Tour Model v. LIV Golf vision for the game, and I posted all of them on the blog if that’s your thing. I’d also point you to assessments from Bob Harig, Mark Cannizzaro and Doug Ferguson.
But since this is a major championship-devoted newsletter, I’ll just share this statement from Woods about where he and Phil Mickelson differ. The remarks sounded impressive as he uttered it and looks more profound in print:
“You know, he has his opinion on where he sees the game of golf going. You know, I have my viewpoint how I see the game of golf, and I've supported the Tour and my foundation has run events on the Tour for a number of years.
“I just think that what Jack and Arnold have done in starting the TOUR and breaking away from the PGA of America and creating our tour in '68 or '69, somewhere in there, I just think there's a legacy to that. I've been playing out here for a couple of years over decades, and I think there's a legacy do it. I still think that the Tour has so much to offer, so much opportunity.
“I believe in legacies. I believe in major championships. I believe in big events, comparisons to historical figures of the past. There's plenty of money out here. The Tour is growing. But it's just like any other sport. It's like tennis. You have to go out there and earn it. You've got to go out there and play for it. We have opportunity to go ahead and do it. It's just not guaranteed up front.”
Wait, you mean elite golf isn’t about arriving at the 4th tee shotgun start in a London black cab? With a bro-ish hand shake from Greg Norman? All while pledging allegiance to the Crown Prince and the gospel of Aramco’s wonderful influence on gas prices because you played a little too much baccarat? Go figure!
Let’s get to this very exciting major championship before us.
Starting Times Released
The PGA of America announced starting times Tuesday and put Tiger Woods with two players who are a win shy of the career Grand Slam: Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth. Only one has a chance to join Tiger this week in the elitist of elite clubs.
Who does the PGA have kicking things off Thursday morning at 7:00 a.m.? Former champions John Daly, Shaun Micheel and Y.E. Yang. Did not see that one coming. Not Wednesday night Hooters meet-and-greet for JD!
Key groups for Thursday afternoon’s main ESPN window:
Good Grain, There Is Grain!
The idea of grain’s impact on putts was occasionally overstated by Johnny Miller. At least if you asked most golf course superintendents. But Johnny would be utterly fascinated by this week’s tight-mow surrounds at Southern Hills.
The Astro Bermuda grass cut at .375” does point in a direction depending on your location at Southern Hills. It will dictate how players try to recover around the greens. Tiger Woods explained Tuesday in his press conference.
“With the surrounds being cut down how they are, there's a lot more grain than we every had to deal with,” he said, referring to the previous majors here bathed in lush rough. “There are going to be different shots. I've seen guys using hybrids, and I've seen guys use 3-woods, putts, wedges, 4-irons. You'll see a lot of different things.”
To state the obvious: based on my deeply unscientific research, trying to bump and run or putt into the grain is pointless. But when it’s helping, as Tiger said, there will be options.
Rory McIlroy sees it differently.
“One of the things I loved is the way they've cut the runoffs, it's very hard to putt from off the greens,” the 2014 champion said. “They're trying to get wedges in guys' hands, which I really like. It's forcing you to chip instead of just -- like whenever Pinehurst was, 2014, you could putt from sort of everywhere; where this is actually forcing you to get a wedge in your hand, which is really good.”