Five things to watch this week at the FedEx St. Jude Classic
Five things I'm looking for at the FedEx St. Jude Classic and elsewhere this week:
1. We're going to be hearing a lot about how many majors is the right number of majors, and not because the start of the U.S. Open at Merion is just eight days away.
The LPGA features its second of five majors this week, at the Wegman's LPGA Championship at Locust Hill Country Club in Pittsford, N.Y., outside Rochester. It would be a good place for Yani Tseng, who won there in 2011, to begin to reassert her dominance.
Meanwhile the seniors on the Champions Tour settle into their second of five majors this week, as well, at the Regions Tradition at Shoal Creek in Birmingham, Ala., where Tom Lehman is the two-time defending champion.
2. I'm looking for more breathless reports about the practice round scores of Rory McIlroy, who jetted from Oak Hill (67), site of the PGA Championship, to Merion for a first look earlier this week. McIlroy tweeted his approval, saying the place looked ripe with "plenty of birdie chances mixed with plenty of potential disaster! Going to be an exciting U.S. Open!"
Why do we care about Rory's practice round scores? Because when a guy goes from being the No. 1 player in the world to a guy who sometimes has trouble breaking 80, people get mighty curious.
3. I expect some sort of formal proposal by the powers that be to erase the 2013 Memorial from our collective memory bank and expunge the results from the records. The tournament seems to have been inadvertently played in a hole in the time-space continuum.
Rory, who just shot the aforementioned 67 at Oak Hill -- no cupcake -- shot an opening 78 at Muirfield Village. Tiger, a four-time winner in 2013, had a 79, including a 44 on the back nine in the third round. Charley Hoffman shot a final-round 81 at Muirfield and was so despondent he thought about skipping the U.S. Open sectional in Ohio, but Hoffman shot 65-68 to win the qualifier.
4. Phil Mickelson, who tees off 10 with Padraig Harrington and D.A. Points at 8:27 a.m. ET Thursday, will do something at the FedEx St. Jude at TPC Southwind to remind us all of his brilliance. The U.S. Open is near, and he can smell it.
5. PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem is going to look smart, again, by sending 50 players instead of 25 from the developmental Web.com to the PGA Tour from now on. The Web.com is dark this week, but Matt Kuchar, who rose to fourth in the world with his Memorial W, is an alumnus. Lehman, who may win again on the Champions Tour this week? Him, too. Oh, and 15 Web.com members got through section qualifying to crack the field at the U.S. Open at Merion. Not bad.