PGA Tour Confidential: The PGA Championship

Tiger Woods, 2011 PGA
Robert Beck/SI
Tiger Woods struggled to hit fairways, and missed the cut in a major for the third time in his professional career.

CLOSING HOLES CREATE HAVOC
Dusek: Atlanta Athletic Club proved to be a real challenge, especially the closing four holes. What are your thoughts about the section dubbed "Calamity Lane."

Lipsey: The course produced an absolutely thrilling tournament. What more could you want? Watching guys have to eke out shots over water was awesome.

Van Sickle: I'm going with Reese's Pieces or the Impregnable Quadrilateral. They're stupid hard. I guess they make great TV, but I wouldn't want to be a member.

Garrity: First, I hate the nickname; but I hate all nicknames. It's a fabulously entertaining stretch, with most every mistake leading to a double-bogey. But, like Mickelson, I think it's far too punitive for member play.

Godich: The members ain't playing those tees, John. At least I hope they aren't.

Garrity: The members aren't playing those tees, but show me a tee on 18 that doesn't leave you a middle to long iron over water, often from the rough or a bunker, to a green providing absolutely no bailout. Amateurs simply don't have those shots.

Godich: My understanding is that the members play that hole as a par 5. Regardless, what's wrong with laying up? It worked for David Toms.

Herre: You know it's a challenging stage for the pros — and likely to be a good show for the civilians — when the pros complain, as they did last week. As for the course being too tough for members, meh. They probably like it that everyone who plays there gets beaten up.

Garrity: Actually, the members can enjoy their River Course and send their guests out to suffer on the Highlands. I don't know where Mickelson got his numbers, but he said that member play on the Highlands was down 25%.

Lipsey: Which is why chest-thumping guys with the cash would love to play there. Same thing at Sawgrass and the other impossible tracks guys like that frequent.

Garrity: I'll give you that, Rick, but those chest-thumpers want to play all the tough courses once. Members have to play them over and over again, and if the course is no fun, what are they paying for?

Lipsey: The right to have their friends and associates know they're members.

Hack: AAC's final four is a tremendous finishing stretch. You could see the carnage coming from Thursday morning.

Godich: I liked it. Most of these guys are hitting it so far that the length of the hole isn't an issue. I think it was Mickelson who hit four-iron, five-iron at the 500-yard 18th one day. Plus, this is a major championship. What's wrong with the golf course being hard?

Hanger: Right. When you hear the yardages, it sounds outrageous until you realize they're still hitting mid-irons into the 18th.

Dusek: And hybrids off the tee. Would love to know how many players didn't hit driver at the 18th.

Ritter: The holes lived up to the hype and delivered a wildly entertaining finish. Best of all: Bradley and Dufner went for the 18th green in two both times they played it on Sunday. No laying up to win this time.

Tell us what you think: Did you enjoy watching the carnage at the last four holes, or were they too difficult?

TIGER MISSES THE CUT
Dusek: Okay, time for the Tiger Woods portion of the show. Woods says he's not playing again until November, so this might be our last chance for a while. How surprised were you with his performance?

Herre: Not surprised at all, based on Woods's so-so play in Akron. His case is getting curiouser and curiouser.

Ritter: Through five holes on Thursday morning Tiger was three under and tied for the lead. Then everything fell apart. I was shocked, and it wasn't just that he missed the cut, it was how he missed it. All aspects of his game were a mess, especially his driving. He hit more bunkers than fairways over 36 holes. He's never looked more lost than he did this week.

Van Sickle: Tiger was like the PGA Tour — anything's possible. I was surprised when, after missing the cut, he admitted that he thought he could just show up and compete, but he couldn't. He also tried to say it was a positive that he played two full tourneys and was healthy, this after saying in Akron and early last week that he was there for the W.

Garrity: He went bunker to bunker at least seven times, and I understand he was in the sand 22 times in all. That's 11 per round.

Hack: Or 22 more times than 2000 St. Andrews.

Morfit: I was very surprised. For some reason I thought he'd put it together this week. Now I don't know if he'll ever win again. Is he really going to practice with Foley in Florida now? We have no idea with Tiger, as usual.

Godich: Not surprised at all. We got a glimpse of what to expect at the Bridgestone. He said as much himself when he said he was playing well in spurts. His game between those spurts was a disaster. Same story this week, save for the fast start on Thursday. I'll say it one more time: The guy needs to play more!

Garrity: I wasn't surprised by his performance, but I was surprised when he admitted Friday afternoon that he has completely lost his natural feel for the golf swing. Swing thoughts are destroying his game.

Reiterman: Don't mean to brag, but someone (cough, cough) said last week that he'd miss the cut. One out of 1,000 predictions ain't bad!

Lipsey: I wasn't surprised at all either. He's just not a great golfer now.

Gorant: He's looking very human. Now, he certainly has time and motivation.

Wei: I'm not surprised with his performance, but I am surprised with how defeated he looked. I've never seen him look so lost. He was practically unrecognizable.

Hack: The way he was talking Wednesday — finally healthy, here to win, etc. — it was shocking how poorly he played, especially after his hot start. Just shows how far away he really is and how much he's still doing it with smoke and mirrors at this point. No trust.

Tell us what you think: Where you surprised that Tiger missed the cut? Is his decision to skip the fall season on the PGA Tour a smart move?

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