Scattered Storms, Sultry Weather On Tap At PGA Championship
- Category: Inside Golf
- Published: 2018-08-08
By DAVE SKRETTA, Associated Press
ST. LOUIS, Missouri — Dustin Johnson forgot to pack shorts when he was getting ready for the PGA Championship.
Good thing he remembered pants.
The world’s top-ranked player plum forgot that the PGA of America decided last year to begin allowing players in the championships it conducts to wear shorts during practice rounds. Johnson even showed a little leg at Quail Hollow, joining roughly half the field in wearing them.
But when he was busy stuffing his suitcase for Bellerive Country Club this week, Johnson must have gotten into the week-to-week PGA Tour zone: Trousers are required every day out there.
“I definitely forgot,” he said, grinning. “Today I was going to play really early this morning so it wasn’t going to be too hot, so I just wore pants. And when I did it last year at Quail Hollow, it almost felt kind of weird wearing shorts, especially when I wear pants every single day.”
Quite a few players wore shorts for practice rounds, when temperatures soared into the upper 90s. Heavy storms rolled through to provide some relief from the heat, but they also prevented anybody from getting onto the course until late in the morning, by which point the rapidly rising humidity had made the conditions only slightly more bearable.
“It’s going to be hot,” Tiger Woods said, “and it’s going to be wet.”
That shouldn’t be as much trouble next year, when the PGA Championship shifts to May. And Bethpage Black on New York’s Long Island is due to play host, so pants will probably be the pick all week.
Johnson had better remember that jacket, though.
TRAFFIC JAMS: The lousy weather that chased players off the course could mean a slow, busy day, which is typically a lighter day spent resting for the opening round.
“It’ll be pretty packed,” said Tiger Woods, who only got five holes in before play was delayed. “All the guys will be trying to get in as much practice as they can.”
Woods has never played a competitive round at Bellerive. He was supposed to play a World Golf Championship event in 2001 but it was canceled after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and he missed an event in 2008 when he had ankle surgery following his playoff win in the U.S. Open.
In other words, every minute Woods can get to scout the course is valuable.
“It’s just a matter of how much I’ll get in,” he said. “There will be quite a few guys trying to get out there and I’m going to be one of them.”
O CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN: In the unlikely event Sergio Garcia needed a reminder of his perilous place in the Ryder Cup rankings, European captain Thomas Bjorn provided it.
“I would like,” Bjorn said, “to see something from him.”
That’s because the fiery Spaniard has struggled since winning the Masters last year. Garcia shot 81-78 and missed the cut at Augusta this year, then missed the cut at the U.S. Open and British Open.
When he did make the cut at the Players Championship, he shot 75-76 on the weekend.
Garcia can turn everything around at Bellerive, where a strong finish could give him a boost in earning an automatic spot. But even falling short, playing into contention would give Bjorn the kind of confirmation he needs to use a captain’s pick on one of Europe’s longtime Ryder Cup stalwarts.
“I mean, Sergio’s a world-class player,” Bjorn said, “and he’s got some weeks ahead of him where he wants to go out and achieve things, but we also know that Sergio is the type of player that can turn it around in a week or two and then all of a sudden he goes on a great run of form.”
AHEAD BY A CENTURY: Davis Love III will be joining a select group this weekend.
Only 14 others have started 100 major championships, a list topped by Jack Nicklaus with 164. The 54-year-old Love’s first was the 1986 PGA Championship at Inverness, so it’s a nice coincidence he will be reaching triple digits at the PGA Championship at Bellerive.
The winner of the 1997 PGA said he hopes to play quite a few more.
“It’s amazing to be in that group, to make it that far, and I don’t see very many guys on that list I can catch. Hopefully a few of them,” Love said. “Another reminder that you’re getting older, and you played for a long, long time, but I’m blessed to play this long.”
Love has made the cut 62 times in major championships, finishing in the top 10 on 21 occasions, and once had a streak of 70 consecutive starts that lasted more than 17 years.
“If I feel like I can compete and not get in the way,” he said, “I’d love to keep competing.”
CARDS? UH, NO: Don’t think for a minute that two-time U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals, even though his great-uncle Dick Groat played three seasons for them.
Koepka actually has a close friendship with Jim Crane, who owns the Houston Astros.
“I know he played for the Cardinals, won a World Series with them. I do know that,” Koepka said of Groat, “but other than that, not a big Cardinals fan, if I’m honest. So I’ll leave it at that.”