I’m sitting here in Southwestern Virginia, only a couple hundred miles from Louisville, and I can tell you, it doesn’t look good for getting round two underway anytime soon. It’s going to be a crazy day so let’s talk about round one at the 2014 PGA Championship. There were some interesting thoughts I took away from Day One action at Valhalla on Thursday, and first on the list was Rory McIlroy.
I had a late meeting Thursday afternoon, and had been listening to the coverage on SiriusXM during the drive to my meeting. The last thing I heard was after Rory McIlroy had hit his second shot on the 10th hole out-of-bounds, took a double bogey, and made bogey on eleven.
His three under par start had evaporated in two holes. When I got back in my truck, I was anxious to hear how bad the damage for the young Northern Irishman was, and he had just hit a laser to the 18th hole and was looking at a 23 foot put and the lead….What Happened!
Instead of doing what the old Rory would do, he went on a birdie blitz at 12, and ended his day just one shot off the six under par lead.
This new, and improved Rory McIlroy has so much confidence in his driver, and his golf game that I’m still not convinced anyone can beat him right now. He doesn’t seem to dwell on mistakes, and has found away to get past bad holes, and get it turned back around quickly.
“Walking on to 12th tee, I was muttering a few things to myself,” McIlroy said. “It was great just to hit that second shot the way I did. Hit it in close. It’s one of the toughest par 4s on the course.”
If you read my Fantasy Picks on Wednesday, you would know my fifth, and last pick was Henrik Stenson. Stenson hasn’t had the it factor this year that he enjoyed in 2013, but if the big Swede can get on a roll, we all know he can get it done.
Stenson is currently tied with Rory, Jim Furyk and Brit, Chris Wood at five under par, and one stroke out of the lead. He was able to get past his lone bogey at the 15th hole and got the stroke back on 18.
Henrik Stenson needs a major on his resume in order to validate his career, and into the hall of Fame when he’s done. He has looked brilliant at times this year, but when he’s been close to a leaderboard, he has found a way to make a couple of double bogeys and quickly remove himself from contention.
Matt Kuchar showed everyone a ton of class on Thursday morning when he grabbed John Huh and took him to the practice tee. Matt was concerned about the condition of his back, and his ability to play in the PGA Championship.
John Huh was the next alternate in line, and after hitting a couple of practice shots, gave his seat on the airplane to Huh. Unfortunately, Huh is at seven over par, and probably won’t make the cut, which is projected to be around even par.
Last, but not least! Defending 2014 PGA Champion, Jason Dufner made a snowman at the 10th hole and promptly withdrew from the event. His round had not been stellar at that point, and he called it quits.
Dufner was eight over par, and the bulging disc in his neck was just too much to deal with.