PGA Championship Live Coverage: Round 1 blog

Thursday August 12th, 2010

Leaderboard | Live Video | Photos | TV Schedule 9:00 No crazy-low rounds today, which shouldn't come as a shock, and some very good players at the top as Bubba Watson, Francesco Molinari, Matt Kuchar and Ernie Els all have a share of the lead, with a slew of talent just one or two strokes behind. That's going to do it for me tonight, thanks as always for the great comments. Join us tomorrow for day two of the PGA Championship from Whistling Straits, with the live blog (hopefully) starting bright and early at 9 AM. Good night, folks.8:58 Lots of unfinished business for tomorrow morning, as one of the groups only made it through 6 or 7 holes. Hopefully we'll have a reasonably on-time start, otherwise things could get awfully hairy on Saturday morning.8:56 Is it Rosh Hashana already? No, it's the horns sounding the end of play. Phil taps in for birdie at 11 moving to -1 while Kuchar will make a par on the 5th, keeping his share of the lead.

8:55 Feherty wants us to know that the cameramen are pulling out all their tricks to make this so bright for the TV audience. "It's a lot darker than it looks." Is Yogi Berra in the booth?8:52 The sun is officially setting on Whistling Straits here, with just a bit of wrapping up to do. Let's see how many holes are going to have to be made up (and how long they might be delayed) in the morning8:48 If I had to guess, I'd say Phil Mickelson is planning on building a summer home in Whistling Straits' rough. It's the only reasonable explanation for the amount of time he's spent there today.8:45 Stricker lags one to about 5-6 feet on 12. No bogeys on the day for Strick, but no birdies either. He's at even par...but you already figured that out, didn't you?8:42 With all the hubbub yesterday about Phil's health and the Pavin/Gray feud, and with the huge delay this morning, this has felt like one of the longest days in golf history. Am I wrong?8:40 Ernie misses a decent birdie opportunity on 13, so he'll stay at -4. Nobody seems to be able to take the outright lead for more than a couple holes today, especially amongst the guys who went out this afternoon.8:38  Angel Cabrera sticks a wedge from the 9th fairway. He'll tap in to move to -2, yet another big name up near the top of the leaderboard. He's a big name, right?8:37 Mickelson has no problem getting that birdie, putting him back to even on the day.8:35 Discouraging word from the clubhouse: the fog that rolled in this morning (and has for most of the week) is expected back tomorrow. There's really no way of knowing how much time it might cost us, but considering there are already going to be guys who need to make up a couple holes, this could be a real subplot to the rest of the tournament. And that would be a shame.8:33 Mickelson hits an absolutely incredible recovery out of the fescue to inside ten feet. Nobody turns a double-bogey opportunity into a birdie opportunity quite like Phil.8:31 Despite my not mentioning him all day (or maybe because of it), Darren Clarke is only one back of the lead at -3. He's a guy that I can't really expect to contend for a major at this point...and I can't think of a single decent reason why that is.8:27 Justin Rose hits a classic drop-and-stop on the 9th. If there was ever an example of how soft the greens are today, that was it. Even with the sun barely in the sky this course just never dried out today, which led to a lot of great golf...and a lot of just-short putts.8:25 Kenny Perry quietly makes birdie to move at -1 at the 12th. Frankly I would never have recognized him. He just turned 50 and he looks better than I've ever seen him before, having clearly dropped some pounds this season. Unfortunately it won't be another Ryder Cup year for Kenny, but hopefully he's got a couple more good tourneys in him.8:22 I've been informed that it was TBS that was constantly replaying School of Rock, not TNT. Please make a mental note to replace it with A Few Good Men when you read that joke.8:20 "Kuch kisses the lip." Yes, that's Nantz talking about Matt Kuchar just missing a birdie putt, why, what did you think it was about?8:17 Els follows by sticking the green on the 12th. Unfortunately he missed the small ridge near the front of the hole, so he's got a tough birdie try, but at least it's uphill.8:15 Ernie nails a small double-breaker to move into a four-way tie for the lead at -4. Before we were talking about the advantages of playing some holes tomorrow morning, but considering how well McIlroy and Els are playing today you have to think they're not going to be happy if they've got to stop early.8:13 Rory moves to -1 with his 4th birdie in six holes. This kid is seriously, seriously good.8:11 The sun is clearly going down in earnest now, but still plenty of daylight left. I'd say even the latest groups will get about halfway through the back nine unless it's a particularly quick nightfall.8:09 Mickelson seems surprised to find his tee shot in the fairway on 9. That makes two of us.8:07 Another players moves into the lead as Matt Kuchar puts home a birdie on 11 to tie with Watson and Molinari at -4.8:05 Oosty follows by leaving his putt short for bogey, dropping him back to -1.Still like the way he's playing. Aggressive swings and conservative course management, could be a very good recipe this weekend.8:03 Lefty lags one perfectly but will settle for par on the absurd 507 yard par-4 8th. In theory it's a simple hole, but as long as the course is playing today it's a bogey waiting to happen.8:00 The lip-out parade continues, with Watney settling for par on 7th after what looked all the way like a perfect birdie putt. Although, considering his ridiculously lucky tee shot he'll settle.7:58 Rory just lips out on a birdie putt on nine. He'll finish the front even, but considering he was +3 after his first 4 holes, he's got to be feeling pretty darn good about the way things are going right now.7:56 Stricker finishes out his front nine at even par. Nothing spectacular, but we don't call him "Even Steven" for nothing...or at all.7:53 Nantz asks Feherty
if the fact that Whistling Straits looks kind of like an Irish links course might make Rory McIlroy feel more at home and Feherty does his very best not to tell Nantz that it was a stupid question...nice restraint, David.
7:51 Ernie's slowed down quite a bit, settling again for par on the 10th and staying at -3. I was kind of hoping he'd be the one to put up an outrageous score today after his quick start, but he's slowly running out of holes to do that. I think he'll settle for a couple more birdies though.7:48 Nick Watney hits a completely accidental draw to about 10 feet on the 7th. He's laughing about it now, but that could easily been a costly mistake if it hadn't caught the front edge of the green.7:46 Reader Cuttlefish Placebo takes issue with the way we all are so familiar with our favorite lefty.

So why is it Stricker, Els, Johnson, Mahan...but "Phil"? He's not my buddy, is he yours? Yeah, we're used to "Tiger" but....we don't see "Jim" and "Justin" and "Lee." I guess we can have "Bubba" if we must. I really hope we don't, though. And I'm weary weary weary of "Phil." He has a surname. Use it.
To be honest, the only real response I can give you is that you're just sort of wrong. While you gave a couple examples of players that we call by there last names, there are countless that we call by their first (and I think "Ernie" isn't unusual at all, so I'd take Els off your list). Jack, Arnie, Paddy, Vijay, Freddie even young Rory are far more commonly called by their first names than their last. I think it's more of a stylish flair than anything, and a sign that we use these guys names more often than some others, so we don't want to just say "Mickelson" over and over again.7:41 Speaking of nightfall, there's definitely a tinge of orange in the sky already. We're not at Snooki levels yet, more like the aforementioned Charles Howell III. Supposedly we're going to make it all the way til 9, but I'm not sure I buy it.7:38 On the par-3 7th, Oosty hits a beauty to about 10 feet and Mickelson does what he's done all day...puts it firmly in the rough behind the green. I'm not sure his lob wedge is going to have grooves left by nightfall.7:34 Hunter Mahan eagles the par-5 5th, getting him all the way back to even par after a shaky start. With Phil's health problems, Anthony Kim just coming back from injury and Tiger being Tiger, every US Ryder Cup fan should be holding his breath as Mahan makes his way around the course for the next few weeks. I'm not saying Mahan is America's only hope, but if he gets hurt or goes into a funk things will be awfully bleak (if they're not already).7:33 Oosty makes birdie to move to -2. In my opinion he doesn't need to win another major to validate himself, he just needs to compete in a few. As long as people get used to seeing your name towards the top of the leaderboard, the term "fluke" doesn't have a chance to come up.7:31 I think that Gray's "You're going down!" is a strong contender for "most ridiculous shouted statement of the year." He might have to follow it up with something special if he wants to knock off Joe Wilson though.7:29 Phil hits another tremendous wedge from his lie way below the green. It's times like this you just want to scream at him: Leave the driver in the bag!7:27 Stricker stays even through 7. His best finish in a major was a second place at the PGA in 1998. The good news is that he's aged a heck of a lot better than Vijay Singh, the guy who finished first.7:25 Micheel lips out, dropping him to -2 on the day. That could kill his momentum.7:23 Phil has been very friendly with the rough all day. He finds it again with both his tee shot and his approach on 6. He's lucky he's lefty or he'd be playing out the bunker they just put in there.7:19 It seems like the wind has calmed a bit, but the water-side holes are still seeing plenty of bluster: about a club-and-a-half's worth.7:16 Unbelievably emotional presser from Bubba Watson, who talked about his father's illness and his wife's own cancer scare. From the way he struggled through talking about it, it seems to me that he hasn't really talked a lot about these things. Honest, upfront, emotional but with good humor when he could muster it. If they don't replay the highlights of that on SportsCenter, you should go find it tonight.7:12 Another guy who had a tough day was Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin, who shot a seven-over 69. Maybe this is what Jim Gray meant when he said Pavin was "going down."7:10 Interesting anecdote from longtime golf writer/editor Dave Allen earlier. He told me the best driving day he's ever had was at Whistling Straits when the fog was as thick as it was this morning. Apparently not being able to see his target was a huge confidence boost, and he just let it all out. Ironically, this technique was espoused with limited success by former Top 100 Teacher Ty Webb.7:06 Naturally he follows that with a blast down the fairway. Phil got his ball better than 100 yards too, so he'll have a chance to play a short iron into the green. Perhaps he'll have that birdie chance after all. 7:05 McDowell barely moves his ball from a downhill lie in the rough. It went about five yards before turning down into a fairway bunker. That wasn't what I'd describe as a "major champion" quality shot. Other than that, no comment.7:03 Phil flat out can't find the fairway right now. He's in a bunker in the fairway of the long par-5 fifth. Good chance he's going to have trouble making par.7:02 Can a former PGA Championship winner be considered a dark horse? Shaun Micheel is -3 after a birdie on the 14th, and I'd be mighty impressed if you have him on your fantasy golf team this week.6:58 That being said, I think the course as a whole is playing very fair. The rough (especially around the greens) is absurdly US Open high, but good players seem to have little trouble at least getting it out if not making every shot they want to. While there are a lot more +4s than -4s, Whistling Straits is living up to its reputation as a tough course that doesn't punish good golf. Then ag
ain, the wind has been pretty tame so far.6:56 Ernie goes right at the hole on the par-3 7th. He'll have about 15-20 for birdie on a whole that can really trip you up if you take it lightly. 6:53 Phil can't save par on the 4th, so he'll drop back to even on the day, where he's tied with playing partner Oosty.6:51 The Stricker group is struggling a bit thus far. Strick's at even (but with a birdie putt upcoming) while young Rory McIlroy is scraping along at +3. Word is that the course is playing much more "American" today than its linksy reputation would suggest, so maybe that's hurting the tamer of St. Andrews.6:50 Feherty just referred to Stricker as "Wisconsin's favorite son." Jackie Mason must be fuming.6:48 Charles Howell III has always been tan, and maybe it's the orange shirt he's wearing today, but it looks to me like he's dangerously approaching John Boehner territory. 6:46 Els makes par to stay at -3 through 6. He's still way ahead of the curve though, lots of time to carve out a stellar score.6:45 Phil's in the greenside rough yet again on the 4th. Now he's just trying to show off.6:42 Should have said "very good coverage when they're actually showing golf." This broadcast has more commercials than the last 3 minutes of an NBA playoff game...well, almost as many.6:40 Very good coverage from TNT as they pass the batons to Feherty and Nance. Still, when I see their little logo in the corner I can't help but wonder if the broadcast is about to be interrupted by and emergency broadcast of School of Rock.6:38 Nick Watney splits the fairway on 3 after birdieing his first two holes. A good front nine here could mean a great score, since he'll likely be playing good portion of his first round tomorrow morning when the course is easier pickens.6:35 Mickelson makes par on 3, he's having no trouble with those midrange putts, and if he keeps making chips like he made on 2 and 3, he won't have too many longer ones today.6:33 In case you were wondering how Sergio played today, he shot a gentleman's 78. But hey, at least it's almost Ryder Cup time, right?6:31 Johnson is just the latest in a slew of golfers leaving their putts short today. Tiger said the greens were slower than he was expecting, and it seems to be holding true. That might explain who nobody's really put up a super-low number, as slow greens mean usually slow fairways, letting this already long course play even longer.6:29 Dustin Johnson just shorts an eagle putt on 5, so he'll settle for birdie to move to -1. Seeing Watson tear this course up a bit should be a confidence booster for Johnson, because he can do all the things Bubba can do, and he can do most of them better.6:27 The wind is definitely starting to pick up. You can see it not just on the flags but even in the water. It's certainly not howling, but not nearly as serene as earlier in the day. 6:23 I want to make it very clear: I'm in no way endorsing Rick Reilly on paper.6:22 I actually like Jim Huber...except when he does his Rick Reilly impression. That sort of cheesy, saccharine wordsmithing is a lot better on paper than it is on camera, gents.6:20 Phil sinks the par putt with ease. When he's got his short game going, Phil can stay in a tournament no matter how badly he's driving. What he can't do, however, is win. 6:17 Mickelson hits a great little chip from the thick stuff on the second. Dare I say it was Mickelsonian? He'll still have about 6 feet for par, but it could be a lot worse.6:15 Some final thoughts from good friend Michael Corcoran, before he jets off to do something infinitely more interesting than watching 3 more hours of golf:
They should let the Molinari brothers drive Ferraris around the course. That would be awesome. And what Tiger will say in his presser: "I putted better." As if golf is some big mystery. 
What do you think is more likely, the PGA Tour allowing the Molinaris to drive on the golf course, or Tiger Woods saying something interesting in his press conference? I'd say we're at even odds right now.6:13 Ernie Els is already -2 through 4. Even with the optimal conditions today (other than the aforementioned fog), it's a bit surprising that nobody's put up a really great number. With a little less than 3 hours left of daylight, it'll be interesting to see if Ernie even has a chance to be that guy.6:11 Not shocking, but Tiger's got a smile on his face right now. Two years ago, a round like this would have left him frustrated, wondering how he could have left so many putts short. But with the way he's been playing this year, expect to see the pearly whites every time there's a minus sign in front of his score.6:09 Fransisco Molinari rolls in a birdie to finish his round at -4, tied for the lead. If he can avoid the Koopa Troopas tomorrow he'll be a strong competitor going into the weekend. 6:07 All the packing in of tee times has led to some congestion at the par-3s. Stricker just had to wait 10 minutes to tee off on the 3rd, but he's a very polite guy, so I doubt he asked to play through.6:03 Y.E. Yang finishes out with a birdie, leaving him at even par. FYI, Yang shot 73 in the first round last year.6:01 Tiger and Phil are officially tied, as both just made birdie (Phil on his first hole of the day, Tiger on his last).5:59 Kuchar tosses his holed ball to his caddy, who whiffs on it. I guess that's the eagle equivalent of the missed high-five on a hole-in-one.5:56 Matt Kuchar with the shot of the day, holing out from the fairway for eagle on the 13th. That'll bring him one off the lead at -3. Why don't guys do that every time?5:54 Moore ends up dropping another stroke on 8, which means Watson's now alone in the lead. Congrats (for the moment) Bubba.5:52 Ryan Moore has fallen back into a tie for the lead with Bubba Watson. What do you think Watson's doing right now? Watching on TV? Eating a burger? Reading this blog? I think we can all assume one of those 3 things is happening, and they're all equally likely.5:48 The moment we've been waiting for: the group with three major winners is finally teeing off. I finally get to hear Peter Oosterhuis say Louis Oosthuizen!5:44 Steve Barry wants an explanation on the McCord/Augusta flap. Check out this story from SI for the info, and this piece that ran in Golf for McCords more recent take on it.5:41 Both Molinari brothers are currently under par. A good finish this weekend could definitely help push sales of their forthcoming marinara sauce.5:39 Tiger mishits a 7-iron into the 8th fairway. McCord says "the frustration is finally starting to set in," which would be much better commentary if he hadn't already said it twice.5:37 Back to Corcoran's point, it's absolutely impossible to argue with, as much as I want to. I actually had a similar "argument" with John Hobbins, a senior pro at Chelsea Piers in NYC. I insisted that Pavin would pick Wo
ods no matter what. Hobbins asked me simply, "Why?" After a full minute of thinking, I had this brilliant insight to offer: "Because he's Tiger Woods!"5:34 The good news: Retief Goosen just holed out from a ridiculous lie on the par-3 7th. The bad news: he needed that to get all the way back to +4.5:32 For all you wondering what might be going through Corey Pavin's head if he doesn't pick Tiger, I present to you this otherworldly rant from longtime golf writer/golf anger specialist Michael Corcoran:
On the Pavin and Tiger Ryder Cup thing: Does no one recall that the U.S. won the last time without Tiger? He'd be a bigger distraction than ever this time around, his record in the Ryder Cup sucks, and he's playing like a turd. Pavin should be forced to wear a Bozo the Clown wig if he picks Tiger. And if Tiger makes it on points, he should ride the pine. I read in the NY Post today that Pavin is almost forced to pick Tiger for TV ratings, the fact that he's sponsored by Nike, and that the PGA wouldn't want to incur Woods' wrath. Holy crap! The PGA of America has next to nothing to do with professional golf beyond the PGA Championship and Ryder Cup, and what's Tiger going to do, boycott playing in future PGA Championships? Yeah, right. And yeah, I'm sure Corey Pavin is worried about the TV ratings. And yeah, I'm sure he'll pick him because Nike wants him to. If Tiger gets picked, there'll be only one reason, and that's because there's no better choice available, like pinch-hitting one of your starting pitchers in a game that exhausts the bench. The U.S. Ryder Cup team has NEVER rallied around Woods, even at the top of his game. He's not going to have some Kirk Gibson moment in Wales, and the rest of the team, even if they won't admit it, would probably rather he stay home. If Woods cares at all about history and the integrity of the game, he should decline playing if asked. But because he's a narcissist of the first order, he'll insist he can help the team, and in doing so drag it down. Corey Pavin was one of the best Ryder Cup players in U.S. history. He'll go down with Curtis Strange, Hal Sutton and Tom Lehman as the worst captains ever if he puts Woods on the team.
5:30 Really like Charles Howell, who is having a great round at -3 today. Howell started off with a bang by winning the Michelob Championship in 2002, only to have his career slightly derailed by an inconsistent swing and an ill-advised role in Soul Man.5:27 Yeah, Vijay missed the 5-footer that he had left after that great dig. Sometimes it's like watching a world-class sprinter limping around the track.5:27 Hometown hero Steve Stricker hits a perfect tee shot to start off his round. Stricker is my pick for the tourney, and before you call me a homer, you should know that I've picked Stricker to win every PGA and nearly every US Open for the past 3 years. So I'm not a homer, I'm an idiot. 5:25 Tiger just misses that long par putt, so he's going to drop back to even. I'd be remiss if I didn't admit that it really was a good putt. Tiger looks a lot better today (especially on the green), but he still doesn't look like Tiger.5:23 Vijay hits a gorgeous wedge out of rough up past his shins on 7. If he could putt, this youngun' could be a good player someday!5:22 Bubba Watson's regular caddy is at home with a new baby boy. I'm sure he's very excited, but I'll bet he wishes he did a little better math 9 months ago.5:20  Tiger is way short with his second on the par-3 7th. He's gonna need a small miracle to save par on this one.5:19 Look out folks, Gary McCord is starting to get excited! Maybe he's going to find a way to get banned from his second major.5:18 Ernie Els had to wait a loooong time to get on this course, and he makes the most of it, making birdie on #15:16 From reader Doug Latimer on Bubba's early lead:
Yeah, and Watson was clubhouse leader on Day 1 at Bridgestone. Lot of good it did him then either
Ha, yeah, that's what I was getting at before. But hey, you've got to admit--you'd rather be clubhouse leader than not, right?5:13 And naturally it takes all of a minute for the lead to change. Ryan Moore cards a bogey to move to minus-5. I'm a little disappointed to see that Moore is wearing a regular hat rather than his painter's cap. On the plus-side he didn't bend the brim, so he still looks like a d-bag.5:12 Watson finishes his round with a par, making it an official 68 (-4) for the day. Clubhouse leader at the end of the first day? I think he'll take that.5:10 Lots of pros and cons with the delay this morning. Pro: Tiger got a lot more tv time (and I'm listing this as a pro because he's playing well). Con: we had to wait 3 hours for golf. Pro: late afternoon guys like Phil will get a chance to finish up tomorrow morning, when the weather will likely be very pleasant. Con: I'm going to be watching this tournament until 9 PM. Anything I've missed?5:08 Interesting how people's opinions seem to vary on just how good a golfer Bubba Watson is. I'll probably get into this a little more as the evening wears on, but I will say this: I love me some Bubba Watson, but I'm not going to get overly excited about his chances here until after tomorrow. It wouldn't be the first time that Bubba showed us his brilliance on Day 1 only to fade away. In fact, it wouldn't be the first time in the last week.5:06 Chris: I would never call you guys golf nerds...but even my parents aren't reading this blog.5:04 Tiger taps in for yet another par to stay at -1. Part of him is probably happy just to be sticking on the good side of par, but he's left a lot of birdie chances out there today. For once I'll actually be interested in his post-round interview.5:02 Love how fast and furious the comments have been coming in today. Starting to get pretty late for you business folk out there, but i hope you'll stick with me as the evening rolls along.5:00 Hey folks, Golf Magazine's Steve Beslow to take you the rest of the way, which is supposedly going to be about 9 pm EST. Which begs the somewhat existential question: Do I blog because I have no social life, or do I have no social life because I blog?4:57 p.m. Jason Day is the clubhouse leader at 3 under par. Bubba Watson clinging to the lead. He's hitting it all over the place. But what else should we expect. I'm signing off and Steve Beslow of Golf Magazine is jumping into to take us home through the finish of today's round, where we'll see Phil and Steve Stricker, among others, play a few holes before sundown.  Take it away Steve.4:50 p.m. To Reader Christopher LaBiche: I'm in the minority around here but I think Pavin has his pick of about 20 really good players who wouldn't be controversial choices. There are a lot of good young American players.4:48 p.m. Tiger saved par at the 5th hole after the penalty shot. He's struggling a little but he's hanging in there.4:45 p.m. To Reader G. David Fetters. His question: Would Bubba Watson be a better captains pick than Tiger?  The answer is no because Tiger has experience and course management
skills that Bubba admittedly doesn't have. We always talk about enthusiasm but that's hubris at the end of the day unless you hit the shots.
4:42 p.m. Back to Bubba. I appreciated him telling his caddie "MY BAD" after going against the caddie's wishes on the approach to the par 5. 4:40 p.m. To Reader David Su: You're right. Bubba has to prove himself but he sure is fun to watch.4:38 p.m. First Bubba hits a driver off the deck at the 16th basically off the map. Then he hits his third to about 8-feet and makes birdie to get a share of the lead at 4 under par. Tiger's playing the par 5 5th hole and he duckhooks it into the bushes. The swing was so quick that he couldn't keep the club in his hands through the finish. 4:30 p.m. My colleague Cameron Morfit is out on the course. This is his observation about Anthony Kim and his return since his wrist injury.Anthony Kim said last week he didn't seem to be hitting it with as much pop since he came back from his wrist operation in May and subsequent rehab, and I noticed Paul Casey was quite a bit past him off the tee today. Kim was at least still longer than Jerry Kelly, the third member of the group.  4:28 p.m. To Reader Floyd: The afternoon wave will not finish their rounds today. That group includes Phil Mickelson.4:26 p.m. Jason Day is back in a tie for the lead with Charles Howell.4:23 p.m. To Reader Brian Sullivan: Harrington hasn't played well in the majors all year, two missed cuts and a tie for 22nd at the U.S. Open. Goosen looks the part but hasn't gotten it done since his melt down in the U.S. Open that Michael Campbell won.4:16 p.m. I think Bubba Watson could overpower this golf course. I don't know if he can hold up under pressure but he's definitely got the right mix of power and touch to beat this course. If he can hang around the leaders there is no telling what he can do on Sunday. He's at 3 under. 4:08 p.m. There are 13 players at 2 under par or better. But I don't see anyone making everything on the greens. That's when you know you could have some really low scores.4:03 p.m. Reader Wes Madison has a theory that Tiger's neck injury will make it easy for Pavin to not pick him for the Ryder Cup. Since Tiger really doesn't want to play in the exhibition, seeing that it's in Europe, he might take this option.4:01 p.m. Charles Howell is in the lead alone after Jason Day missed a three-footer on the 7th. But Charles has short sided himself  in the greenside rough at the 1st hole.3:57 p.m. Tiger bogeyed the Par 5 to fall back to 1 under. Maybe we should hold the presses on "TIGER is BACK." 3:50 p.m. Coming out of the matted-down fescue at the par 5 2nd hole, Tiger says "what the hell happened to that" as the grass runs up the hosel sending his ball racing into a greenside bunker. Sloppy. Then his pitch out of the bunker gets  no run out and he's faced with a long par putt.3:47 p.m. To Reader Brian Sullivan: I think the whole Tiger Ryder Cup bruha gives us something Tiger-related to talk about.  But there is no way in hell he gets left off the team, unless he has the shanks and diarrhea. 3:44 p.m. Ryan Moore has gotten it to 3 under par after a birdie at the first hole, his tenth hole hole of the day. Moore, who we profiled earlier this year in SI, has that Couples kind of cool, no-problem manner about himself. Take him with Bubba Watson, who's also at 3 under and you have a confident and capable Ryder Cup duo. 3:40 p.m. At the par 5 2nd hole, Tiger pulled his driver into a fairway bunker. He's not exactly splitting the fairways.3:35 p.m. V.J., playing with Tiger, is a two-thirds of the player that he was when he was a legitimate foe of Tiger in the last decade or so. He's 2-over today and at 47-years old his chances are dwindling to seriously compete in majors. No great player has putted worse since Tom Watson and Ben Hogan had their struggles at the end of their regular tour careers.3:30 p.m. Bubba Watson, who is 2 -under par, hit a wedge into the par 5, 598 5th hole. Playing the same hole, Stuart Appleby hit a hybrid into the green. 3:22 p.m. Kyung-tae Kim, the 61st ranked player in the world, is a shot back of the leaders at 3 under. Who knows?  The South Korean could be the next player nobody knows to win a major. 3:18 p.m. Jason Day has joined Howell at 4 under par.3:16 p.m. To Reader Marty Ely: We don't know the substance of Tiger's sessions with Sean Foley. But I agree and I said so in Tour confidential that Foley may have given Tiger something that he could use—a little thing, a thought, not some big grand thing that would disrupt his ability to feel his way around the course over the next four days. Good players have a good way of instructing good coaches on what they need for the occasion. 3:13 p.m. Tiger must have the most studied swing in golf. I'm not looking forward to a week of questions from my colleagues about whether or not his swing is less flat and more upright than it was under Hank Haney. And if all the practice swings during the round are an effort to get more upright and on plane. At the 18th he hit nice approach into the green but missed the 20-footer.  But it was a good-looking putt with excellent pace.3:07 p.m. Leishman quickly made a double at the 7th hole to fall back a couple of shots.3:05 p.m. Marc Leishman has joined Howell in the lead at 4 under par. Leishman, a 26-year old Australian, was the 2009 PGA Tour rookie of the year with $1.7 million in earnings. 3:00 p.m. Tiger hit a three-wood off the tee at the 18th just off the right fairway. He looks like he's swinging at about 80 percent, which is where his swing is best controlled.2:55 p.m. Howell has missed the cut in the last five out six majors that he's played.2:53 p.m. To Reader Cuttlefish Palcebo and digress: Tiger has never played a major with facial hair but he does dabble with the look at non-majors from time to time.2:52 p.m. To Reader CN who is rightly annoyed by some of the talk about Whistling Straits as a links course. But I don't think the course or the commentators or the players are calling it that. But to your point it's always good to get some clarification on what exactly constitutes a links course. A few weeks back I interviewed the developer of Bandon Dunes, Mike Keiser, who tried to straighten me out on the subject.http://www.golf.com/golf/tours_news/article/0,28136,2004144,00.html2:46 p.m. Whistling Straits is as about as good an imitation of a links course as you're going to find. The eight holes that run along Lake Michigan look as if they would sit fine off a place in the Scottish Links. What's different here is that  spectators here can walk in some of the sand dunes that sit off the fairways.2:37 p.m. Tiger had a three-putt par at the par 5 16th. The announcers say that Tiger looks better over his putts, but I still see a tentativeness about the line and pace of his putts. 2:35 p.m. To reader Steve Barry: Appleby finished 63rd  at Bridgestone. If he slipped on a sail boat it certainly didn't keep him from playing four rounds of golf. 2:32 p.m. Charles Howell is the outright leader at 4 under after making four birdies in his first five holes.2:25 p.m. The Gray/Pavin mini-war is going to seem like a little silly game of boredom that took place between grown men while Tiger sorted his game. At the 16th Tiger hit a wonderful drive. Mickelson doesn't tee off until 4:45 central. 2:20 p.m. Stuart Appleby looks really good despite this being his 13 straight week on tour. He's at 3 under in the lead with Charles Howell.2:16 p.m. V.J. Y.E. and T.W. butchered the 15th, a tough par 4 of 510-yards.  Tiger earns his first bogey after his drive missed in the left rough. His pace on his putts still looks off. He left his par putt short about 3 or 4 feet.2:10 p.m. Whistling Straits is playing all of its 7,500 yards with all the rain this week. There isn't much wind right now. 2:04 p.m.  Good afternoon. Tiger's got a share of the lead in this early first round, delayed by fog. I'm taking all comers on Tiger's chances this week. And I promise to keep you up-to-date on more than just what El Tigre is doing.1:59 p.m. Charles Howell III joins the large group at 2-under with birdies on 2 and 3. You know you're pro sports career hasn't made much of an impact when you're not even the most famous "Howell III."1:56 p.m. Reader Mike Z's got a different take on the low scoring today: Don't be too sure the scores will be so low. In 2004, predictions that the course would be "too hard" led organizers to set the course up too easily in the first round, especially. Players backed up considerably on the weekend, not because of the weather, but because they made the course a lot harder through tee and pin placements. If the weather stays mild, I suspect they'll go the extra mile (so to speak) to lengthen the course and put pins out of easy reach. 1:53 p.m. Reader Scott Westemeyer writes: I say the Tiger we saw last week was really just the Evil Tiger from a parallel universe. If you watch South Park at all, all of our dopplegangers from that universe have goatees and his has now mysteriously vanished. You can't argue with science.  C'mon, Scott, we know you stole that explanation from Jim Nantz. 1:52 p.m. Nice long putt from Woods on five and he'll have a short one left for par to stay in the lead at 3-under. 1:50 p.m. Paul Mahoney, the Live Blog's European correspondent, on co-leader Martin Kayner (3-under): He likes fast cars. “The fastest I have ever driven is 270kmph.” Wait a second, that’s, erm, 167mph. 1:48 p.m. Tiger plays his second shot on the par-4 14th from a bunker. Makes the green, but he'll have a long putt for birdie. 1:45 p.m. Ishikawa at the bottom of the leaderboard at 5-over. Hey, Kobe had all those airballs once upon a time. 1:43 p.m. Reader Christian writes: Pavin! Gray! It's the Scrape at the Straits!

Oh, I like it. It's all about the assonance.1:39 p.m. Reader Jordan Hughes writes: I think we should throw Pete Rose into the Pavin-Gray royal rumble as Pavin's guest tag team partner. I was thinking Bob Costas, but that's pretty good. 1:38 p.m. Tiger Woods makes a birdie on the 13th (his fourth) and is tied for the lead at 3-under.
Yes, this is officially getting interesting. 1:36 p.m. Tiger (2-under) has a 15-foot putt for birdie at the par-4 13th. 1:34 p.m. Paul Casey is 1-under after a birdie on 5. At his press conference this week, Casey noted that with Woods slumping, there was a different feeling in the buildup to the tournament: I don't know about entering a new era. But I think there is a slightly different feel. Certainly this week, I think -- I'll be honest, the feeling in the locker room is slightly different. I think guys feel that this is very much a -- I'll be honest, with the way he played the past week, guys feel like this is wide open, this tournament, and that's not a feeling that a lot of guys have had before.
Graeme McDowell played tremendous golf at the U.S. Open. So did Louis playing his golf at The Open Championship. That, combined with the way Tiger played last week, I think guys now feel that -- there are multiple winners, multiple possible winners this week. It's different, not a feeling we've had in a while.
1:32 p.m. Retief Goosen joins the fun at 2-under with birdies on two and three.
Do you guys think that Goosen, Els or Furyk have any majors left in them? I say no, but I hope I'm wrong. 1:29 p.m. Appleby gets one back with birdie on the 16th (his 7th) -- he's tied for the lead with Martin Kaymer at 3-under. 1:24 p.m. There's been a lot of talk this week about the mosquitoes at Whistling Straits. My favorite comment was from PGA Professional Champion Mike Small: It's a major. I would putt on gravel and play in a mosquito-infested jungle if it's a major. I don't care; I'll do what it takes. 1:22 p.m. Tiger's playing partners aren't doing quite so well: Y.E. Yang is even and Vijay is 1-over. 1:19 p.m. From an awkward lie, Tiger chips to about 3-feet and he should stay at 2-under. 1:17 p.m. Reader Kevin asks: Since when did the tour turn into the WWE? And, are the rumors true that if Linda McMahon isn't elected to the Senate she's next in line to be PGA commissioner? Clearly, there is something about the Ryder Cup that makes people a little crazy.

1:16 p.m. From 136 yards, Tiger Woods (2-under) hits it over the green on the par-3 12th (his third). 1:15 p.m. New leader: Germany's Martin Kaymer at 3-under after eagle on his second and birdie on his third. 1:12 p.m. Appleby makes bogey on five so the leaders are at 2-under and include Tiger Woods. 1:11 p.m. Tiger makes his 10-footer for birdie on the second. 2-under. Hmmmmm. 1:10 p.m. We have some new names in second at 2-under: Jim Furyk, Michael Sim, Jason Day, Kyle Flinton and Soren Kjeldsen. Appleby still leader for now at 3-under. 1:08 p.m. Woods (1-under) chips onto the second green with his putter. He has about 10 feet left for birdie. 1:04 p.m. Reader Brian Sullivan writes: Based on current weather and the forecast, I'm thinking we have a winner with 4 rounds in the 60's. - So winning score of around 15 under. The Straights will get exposed to some extent.  Could be, depending on the weather. But 8-under was good enough for a playoff here (DiMarco, Vijay and Justin Leonard) in 2004. 1:03 p.m. Tiger about 40 yards short of the green with his second shot on the par-5 11th (his second). 1:00 p.m. Reader Scott Westemeyer writes: Tiger's long and in the middle of the fairway on #2. Lots of more holes obviously, but getting off to a good start has GOT to lift some of the weight of his shoulders already. Dude, I'm supposed to be the Live-Blogger here. But thanks. 12:59 p.m. Leader Stuart Appleby (3-under) is in the fescue on 5. He's still 3-under. 12:57 p.m Reader G David Fetters writes: Many media guys try to get "their angle" out of the words someone utters. I've had it happen to me. Some of the words that are said are there but the entire meaning comes out differently. I honestly think this happened to Corey. He's a feisty guy and doesn't like to be "run over" like this. (He will end up picking the guy who will most likely help the team win.) And here you are saying, "For the record, unless an asteroid hits Wales between now and October, Woods will be on the Ryder Cup team." You media guys seem to have a combined effort to "force" Corey's hand to pick Tiger. Yeah, the media wants Tiger. I understand. But being captain is not the media's job. Print this in your blog if you dare! Uh, OK. 12:56 p.m. Reader Chris LaBiche is the leader in the clubhouse on the Don King-promotes-Corey Pavin-Jim Gray-throwdown with Fracas in the Fescue, but I think we can do better. 12:53 p.m. Leaderboard update: Appleby 3-under; Labritz and Flinton 2-under; a bunch of guys including Tiger Woods at 1-under.
Bottom of pack: Ishikawa, Daly and Toms at 2-over. 12:51 p.m. Reader Scott Westemeyer writes: Looks like the wind is starting to pick up. He's right, the wind has picked up, but you still wouldn't have trouble reading a newspaper out there. 12:49 p.m. Reader Cole Eller saw that Woods birdie coming: Does anyone have the feeling with the odds being put against Tiger as the favorite that this adversity will spill spark a run for TW at Whistling Straits? Ask Steven Ames about attempting to put Tiger below you. Just when I was starting to enjoy the modest, self-effacing Tiger... 12:48 p.m. Birdie for Tiger on the first hole, but let's not get carried away too soon. 12:45 p.m. Nice approach by Tiger on No. 1 and he has a makeable birdie putt.
Reader Scrogdog isn't feeling it though: Prediction: Tiger doesn't finish in the top 10. Hey, I want to see him return to making the magic shots just like most of us. But I don't think it's going to happen this year.

12:41 p.m. Reader David Su is skeptical of the Live Blog: "In second place at 2-under: Derek Lamely, Rob Labritz, Kyle Flinton."
Haven't you figured out - many first round leaders in majors are no names? Too bad majors are played in 4 rounds not one.
Media needs something to write about on 1st day but first rounds leaders? they are really insignificant.
David is right. If someone is leading a golf tournament at any time, the media will report it. It's another sinister conspiracy. 12:40 p.m. Mike Corcoran notes that "Bulldog" was Pavin's nickname from his days playing in the Ryder Cup. Watch out, Jim. 12:37 p.m. Tiger Woods finds the fairway with his drive on the par-4 first hole. He can build on that. 12:33 p.m. Will we have a European winner of the PGA Championship? Longtime Friend of the Blog and golf writer Mike Corcoran doesn't think so: Everyone is all Euro happy these days, with everyone picking a Euro to win (see ESPN). Le Cork says it's unlikely. The PGA plays the most like the U.S. Open, the tournament where even the best Euros have failed to come through except Jacklin and Irish McWhathisname who won this year. Paddy is the only Euro to win the PGA. If a non-Murrican wins, smart money is on someone from Oz or South Africa. Those guys are a way bigger threat, per capita, than Europe, and have the track record to prove it in the PGA and U.S. Open.

12:29 p.m. In second place at 2-under: Derek Lamely, Rob Labritz, Kyle Flinton.
What's up with lesser-known players doing well at majors? U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell has an idea: I think players can gain a lot of belief from seeing the likes of myself or first-time winners, there's no doubt a few names popped into my head Sunday at Pebble, Y.E. Yang's, Trevor Immelman's, Zach Johnson's, I was taking some belief from those guys doing it. There's no doubt, it has a knock-on effect. 12:25 p.m. Is it me or does John Daly now look like one of the players’ grandmothers? 12:21 p.m. Stuart Appleby makes another birdie -- he's three-under after No. 3. But before you jump on the Appleby bandwagon, check his record in past majors. 12:16 p.m. Reader Joyce Vaughan Guzman writes: Why is everyone so negative about Tiger. You know he's a good golfer so why not lay off the comments how bad he is I get the feeling most golf fans are hoping Tiger has a good week, but he's always had his critics, even before the scandals. BTW, he tees off in about 15 minutes. 12:14 p.m. The weather is hot and soupy with hardly any wind at Whistling Straits today, so expect low scores. Legendary Sports Illustrated golf writer John Garrity once told me that players don’t care if it’s 100 degrees and humid as long as they know what their ball is going to do. It’s wind that bothers Tour players.
Incidentally, I once asked Garrity to be my mentor, but he graciously declined. He said he wanted to hold out for someone with more promise. 12:12 p.m. Other big names at 1-under: Jim Furyk, Justin Leonard, K.J. Choi, Bubba Watson... 12:11 p.m. Last tee time today is 6:25 p.m. Eastern time (5:25 here). I'm guessing they probably won't get it in. 12:07 p.m. Stuart Appleby is leading the PGA Championship at 2-under after birdies on his first-two holes. The hot player is always a good pick and Appleby did shoot 59 to win the Greenbrier a couple weeks ago. 12:02 p.m. Reader Marisa Moen Eastwood wants to talk about Jim Gray and Corey Pavin, not Vaughan Taylor (me, too): Why on EARTH would Jim Gray tell Corey Pavin that he's "going down"??? What kind of professionalism is that? It's not like it's a boxing match. On another note - did you see the pic John Daly posted of Tiger giving him putting tips? Loved it. Loved the pic, too, Marisa. It's here if you haven't seen it.
The whole Pavin-Gray thing is a mess. I can understand Gray being angry that Pavin called him a liar, but "you're going down" is a strange thing to say. If it was a boxing match, I'd love to see what Don King would call it: The Brawl of the Small? If you've got a suggestion, pass it along. We'll send a Golf Magazine hat to the best one. 12:01 p.m. Golf Magazine's Cameron Morfit says those extra six minutes of range time will be crucial for Tiger. 11:59 a.m. Play has resumed at Whistling Straits. For those of you scoring at home, that was a six-minute fog delay. 11:55 a.m. Well, this is awkward. Play has been suspended again due to fog. The Live Blog, however, will plow forward. 11:52 a.m. Vaughan Taylor makes bogey on the long par-5 second to be the only player on the course over par. In case you haven't heard, this course is hard. Tiger once said that a 10-handicap couldn't break 100 on a U.S. Open setup. I'm not sure a 20-handicap could break 130 here. 11:49 a.m. Reader Joe Olszewski catches a time error already: i think phil and the others r going off at 5:45 PM eastern, please use correct info today  He's right. Here are the corrected times:
Steve Stricker, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott: 5:25 p.m.
Phil Mickelson, Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizan: 5:45 p.m.
Sorry, Joe, we will try to give you the correct info today and all other days. 11:45 a.m. Rickie Folwer makes birdie on his first hole -- the 10th -- and he's T1 with...a lot of other guys.
Just so you know, unless it's necessary to describe the hole, I'm going to skip the "on his third hole, the 12th" stuff. Really, I'm having enough trouble with the three-hour-10-minute delay and the one-hour time difference. I don't think I could handle another layer of complexity. 11:42 a.m. Reader Mike Z has a complaint: OK, here's a pet peeve ... why do you (golf.com) insist on always using Eastern time instead of the local time? When the site says, for instance, that the first tee times have been delayed until 11:10 – that's misleading for those of us here in the Central time zone – and really just plain incorrect. Mike, If I were running the web site, I'd probably say 11:10 Eastern time, but I'm just the blogger. 11:38 a.m. Afternoon groups to watch...
Steve Stricker, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott: 4:25 p.m.
Phil Mickelson, Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizan: 4:25 p.m. In other words, it's going to be a great couple days to goof off at work. 11:35 a.m. More morning groups to watch...
Y.E. Yang, Vijay Singh, Tiger Woods: 12:30 p.m.
Corey Pavin (must-see TV now), Ian Poulter, Camilo Villegas: 12:50 p.m 11:30 a.m. The
PGA Championship has the best field of any major -- 97 of the Top 100
players in the world are here -- so we've got some exciting first- and
second-round pairings. Here are the groups to watch today:
Rickie Fowler, Ryo Ishikawa and Justin Leonard: 11:20 a.m.

Jerry Kelly (local hero), Anthony Kim, Paul Casey: noon

Padraig Harrington, John Daly, Davis Love II: 12:10 p.m. 11:25 a.m. The
first scores are posted. Bo Van Pelt makes a bogey on 1, while playing
partners Scott Herbert and Vaughn Taylor make par. Van Pelt has been a
popular dark horse pick this week. 11:20 a.m. Whatever happens between now and Sunday it will be difficult to top the confrontation between Ryder Cup Team USA captain Corey Pavin and the Golf Channel's Jim Gray in the media center Tuesday after Pavin denied he told Gray that Tiger
Woods would be a captain's pick if he doesn't qualify for the Ryder Cup
team.
For the record, unless an asteroid hits Wales between now and October, Woods will be on the Ryder Cup team.
The
real question is: What would be the odds on a Pavin-Gray boxing match?
I've got Pavin as a 7 to 2 favorite because of his fitness level, but
Gray is a bulldog. 11:10 a.m. Welcome to Golf.com's PGA
Championship Live Blog, the final major of the weirdest golf season
ever. After a three-hour-and-10-minute fog delay, play has begun at
Whistling Straits. We'll be here with you all day so join the
conversation by leaving a comment or question below.
Golf Magazine's Mike Walker will be live blogging the first round of the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits soon. Round 1 has been delayed due to fog.

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