PGA Championship. Play Suspended in Third Round.

Play was suspended during the third round of the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island on the Ocean Course due to inclement weather conditions, namely lightning. Lee Trevino once said if you get caught in a lightning storm on a golf course, you should walk around holding a one iron above your head, ” Even God can’t hit a one iron.” Personally I would not like to test Lee’s theory, I suspect God would be able to strike a one iron better than anybody.

At the suspension of play Rory McIlroy and Vijay Singh were tied at the top of the leaderboard, with a tournament score of -6 under par. Rory had completed the front nine at -4 under par, in-spite of  his tee-shot on the drivable third hole, becoming lodged in the branch of a tree. He took an unplayable lie penalty, dropped the ball and fired his third onto the green and then sunk the 7 foot putt for his par. Rory is keen to get back out on the course, and is happy with is position;

“I’m going into the final day of the final major of the season tied for the lead. All I wanted was to put myself into contention and I’ve done that. It was a great start today and I can’t wait for tomorrow.”

US PGA Championship 2012: Rory McIlroy shares the lead and is poised to strike until weather halts play


Vijay has only played seven holes of the third round, his score at -2 under par and appears to be on cruise control, quite the opposite of his playing partner today, Tiger Woods. Tiger has lost some control and is at +3 over par for the first seven holes. He began the day as the joint-leader, but the putting touch which lit up his first two rounds unexpectedly deserted him, right from the start when he missed a three-footer for birdie off the first.

Adam Scott has completed nine holes and is handily placed at -5 under par for the tournament, his third round so far is -4 under.

So the leaders will have to start early tomorrow morning to complete their third rounds, before starting the final session of the day, quite a daunting and exhausting task. I hope they have the stamina to get through the day and be in contention at the end. It would be horrible to see them drop out of the race and lose the title to someone who has had to only play 18 holes on the final day.

PGA Championship, 3 Tied at the Top at Windy Kiawah Island

There are three players tied at the top of the leaderboard at the conclusion of the second round of the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island in South Carolina. Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh and Carl Pettersson share the top spot with a tournament score of -4 under par. Vijay Singh had the best round of the day, mastering the windy conditions well to conjure up a -3 under par round of 69, and is worthy of his position at the top of the board. Tiger Woods had a second round of -1 under par, but he had to fight hard and ride his luck on occasions. Carl Pettersson struggled to a +2 over par round, he started the day at -6 under, but could not hold on to that score. In all  only three players managed to shoot under par rounds today, if the wind keeps on blowing, just about anybody could still win it.

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Vijay Singh/Ferrey/Getty Images

Vijay had to think his way round;

“After a while you don’t really think about your score. You just think about each hole, each shot and just try not to mess up. Those two-footers are important out here. I think 16, 17, 18, it was so hard just standing on the greens trying to make a putt. It was one of my better rounds. I didn’t strike the ball as good, but I scored really, really well, and I think that was the key. I just started believing that I can do it, I was so negative for a long, long time. I had great sessions on the driving range and just couldn’t take it on the golf course. I finally started to believe that I could do what I’m doing on the driving range. A little tweak to my golf swing during the British Open kind of helped, as well. Like I said, my head is in a better spot. I’m more focused and believing that I can do it has helped me a lot.”

Tiger said of his day;

“It was tough out there, wow. You can’t take anything for granted, simple tap-in is not a simple tap-in. The putter is oscillating all over the place and the ball is oscillating and you know, you have to make an adjustment, at least I was on my down swing and my putts, because the putter is being blown all over the place. It’s a tough day. I mean, your start lines, Holy Cow, we are starting balls so far   off-line, to have it comeback in. There’s so much drift to this wind. It was just a tough day.”

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Tiger Woods/Ferrey/Getty Images

Carl was happy to still be in the mix;

” I thought 2 over today was probably like shooting 2 under yesterday, I played well. I hit some squirrely shots which is typical when it’s blowing 30 miles an hour, but I hit some really good ones, too. It’s just very difficult to get any rhythm in the round of hitting fairways and greens and my short game was good, which was nice on days like this.”

Englishman Ian Poulter is just one shot behind them at -3 under par, but should really have joined the leading group, as he came to the last hole at -4, found the green with his second, then somehow managed to three put for a bogey 5.

The cut at Kiawah came at +6 over par and included 73 players. Notables among those names that will miss the weekend are, recent U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson, who defends his title at the Wyndham Championship next week; world No.4 Lee Westwood, Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III and also some hopefuls for his Ryder Cup team, Hunter Mahan, Rickie Fowler, Nick Watney, Matt Kuchar and Brandt Snedeker.

Amazingly Luke Donald made the cut, or to be correct, the cut line came back to him, his second round of +4 over par added to his first round of +2. it looked certain earlier in the day that Luke would be headed out the exit, but here his is, just on the cut-line of +6.

PGA Championship Kiawah Island

Island in the sun

Carl Petterson/Kinnaird/Getty Images

Carl Pettersson leads the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island with -6 under par round of 66. Carl  has a one shot advantage over a group of four  players who are at  -5 under par, Gary Woodland, Gonzalo Fernandez-Costano, Alex Noren and one of the favorites for the title this week,  Rory McIlroy.

Carl was determined to take advantage of the good conditions, before the wind got up;

“There really wasn’t much wind on the front nine, so I knew I had to keep going low because I figured the wind would get up. The wind started blowing a little bit on the back nine, and I carried on solid play. So it was a great day for me.”

There is a large group on -4 under par, these include Major winner John Daly, who has found some form of late, and Adam Scott, who had a great chance to win The Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes. Tiger Woods is another shot further back, and in a good position after the first round.

John Daly said he played freely;

“To just free wheel it is the only way I can get my confidence back instead of worrying about bad breaks and worrying about this and worrying about what somebody else is doing. I only need to worry about what I’m doing and go out and attack and play golf and enjoy it.” 

Tiger was really happy with his start to the tournament;

“Anything in the 60s is going to be a good start in a major championship, and I’m right there.”

Adam Scott was also very pleased with his opening effort;

“So far, so good. It would be great to put two more rounds together and be coming here Sunday with a good look at the championship. If I don’t, then I’ll really feel like I’ve let it all slip this year for me. So I’d love to use this opportunity while I’m playing well to get in there and have a sniff on Sunday.”

Phil Mickelson shot a 71 to be at -1 under par, after spending most of the day scrambling from all over the course, he said;

“I fought hard today and I kept myself right in it for the most part and should get a bit of a weather break tomorrow morning. It actually felt a little bit closer than it has in a long time. I felt good on the green. My touch was back. I started hitting some shots at some pins.”

Among those who will be struggling to make the cut, currently projected at +2,  are World number one Luke Donald, and Rickie Fowler  who both  had a miserable day at +2 over par for the first round. Luke making his customary slow start to a tournament this year. Surprisingly Webb Simpson, the 2012 U.S. Open Champion is already out of the hunt, shooting a +7 over par round. Lee Westwood is another who is unlikely to make to cut this time around.

I still can not believe that the USGA have ordained that the bunkers are not hazards for this tournament. It is really strange to watch a player in a green-side bunker taking practice swings in the sand to get the feel of how the ball will come out, madness.

Kiawah Island, Luke Donald Inspired by GB Olympic Team Performance.


Luke Donald PGA Championship - Preview Day 2

Luke Donald/Getty Images

Luke Donald is drawing inspiration from the performance of Team GB in the London Olympics, and is hoping this will spur him on to win his first Major, at the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. Speaking in interview yesterday he revealed;

“They’re all inspiring in their own way. The fact that you have one event every four years to really work hard, to see some of the guys who don’t perform and to see some of the guys that perform and win gold, I mean, there’s a lot of raw emotions there. And watching certainly has inspired me a lot in terms of having that wish to be there in four years, to have an opportunity to also win a gold medal. Coming off the US Open I was very disappointed how I kind of handled the situation mentally, I didn’t come in hitting the ball that great and maybe that added to some of the anxiety. But certainly I think there was a little bit of a breakthrough, just realizing at the Open Championship that no matter how I’m hitting it physically there’s always a way to mentally be on top. I did that very well and as a result I also played pretty well.”

The last sixteen Majors have been won a different player, and Luke obviously hopes that streak will continue, this time in his favor;

“I guess the longer the streak goes, the more encouragement it gives to those guys who haven’t yet won a major, like myself. But I’m not sure if it changes anything for me. I continue to focus on what I can do and hopefully give myself a chance on Sunday.”

The gamblers are talking about Kiawah, and they are certain that it will favor the long hitters like Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy. That would seem to be a safe bet, but these long tee shots have also to be straight, if not they will be in trouble, so a more consistent player could easily make an impact. It would be great for Luke ti finally win a Major, and get everybody off his back.

No Bunkers at Kiawah Island for PGA Championship

Dustin Johnson in the bunker on 18 at Whistling Straits/photo


The PGA released a special notice Tuesday to inform players that all bunkering at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course will be considered sandy areas and will be played through the green. Kerry Haigh, the PGA’s managing director of championships said;

“Whistling Straits was obviously just the opposite. It’s the same conditions we played the Ocean Course during the 1991 Ryder Cup, the 2005 PGA Professional Championship, the 2007 Senior PGA and it’s the same conditions played daily at the resort.”

This ruling was made to avoid the confusion that surrounded Dustin Johnson at Whistling Straits,  he unsuspectingly grounded his club in what was deemed to be a bunker before his second shot, leading to a 2-stroke penalty. Dustin referred to the incident;

” I just thought I was on a piece of dirt that the crowd had trampled down, I never thought I was in a sand trap. It never once crossed my mind that I was in a bunker. Obviously I know the rules of golf and I can’t ground my club in a bunker, but that was just one situation I guess. Maybe I should have looked to the rule sheet a little harder.”

Nick Watney, who played with Dustin that day said;

“Honestly, I don’t think anyone reads the sheet, we’ve played hundreds of tournaments. We get a sheet every week. I feel for him. I’ve never seen fans in a bunker with a player. That was a little odd.”

A PGA statement was issued to clear up the differences between Kiawah Island and Whistling Straits;

“What differentiates the courses is that at Kiawah Island the sand is natural to the surrounding terrain, and in many cases, there is no clear definition of where such sandy areas stop and start. Bunkers at Whistling Straits were well defined and were completely surrounded by grass.

“As a result of this [condition of play], players will be allowed to move loose impediments, take practice swings and to ground their club lightly in these sandy areas; except when their ball lies in such a sandy area that is part of a water hazard or lateral water hazard. Under the rules, if a player’s ball is believed to be covered by sand anywhere on the course, he may move the sand without penalty, in order to find or identify the ball. All sandy areas inside the gallery rope line will be raked each morning, prior to play. During play, as strokes or practice swings are made, or players and others walk through such areas, footprints and other irregularities of surface may develop. Rakes will be available so that these areas may be smoothed as a courtesy to following players; however, these irregularities of surface, when not smoothed, are a part of the game and no relief, without penalty, will be provided.”

So Be warned. If the crowd are standing next to you, how are you supposed to know its a bunker ?