8:12 Tiger's ball is embedded in a sandy area near a fairway bunker. If it's indeed a sandy area he won't be able to get relief.8:04 Bubba had a six on the par 5 16th. He tried to do too much out of fairway bunker on his second shot. I hadn't thought of it before but either Bubba has to start listening to his caddie or really in the offseason dedicate himself to learning course management.7:55 Tiger has four pars to start the day. He's not knocking the pins out but he's staying in the tournament at 1 under. 7:52 This is a good week for hybrids as a number of the par 4s here call for that club. Y.E. Yang just hit one to about 5-feet on the fourth hole. Yang has three hybrids in his bag. His longest iron is a 6.7:46 J.B. Holmes has a 20-footer for eagle at the par 4 6th. I'll get back to you with the stat for how many guys have reached that green today.7:42 Bubba has become a media darling. He's not an act. It's refreshing. 7:40 Tiger made a great par save at the 3rd after the pulled iron off the tee.7:38 Camillo Villegas has gotten it to 3 under. Maybe he become known for something more than his tight shirts and spider view of putts. 7:35 To Reader Tighthead: I've been pretty balanced on Tiger, I think.7:33 At the par 3rd, Tiger hit a sawed off 5-iron that went left. Those arm swings get you every time.7:31 It looks like Kuchar and Watney are going to be in the last group when they tee off late tomorrow afternoon, unless someone plays great tonight and tomorrow morning. 7:28 It's an undeniable truth that if the PGA replaced the club pros with a few more touring pros it would make an already great field even better. It seems though that all the majors have something wrong with them. The Masters has a tiny field to start with—90 odd players—but it has a dozen or more old past champions and three or four amateurs. The U.S. Open is too open and the British skews toward the European Tour.7:18 Simon Khan has made two bogeys to fall two back of the leader. Kuchar has had a piece of the leader for now more than 3 hours. 7:17 Bubba told the media yesterday that he hoped they wouldn't think he was a sissy for crying so much when talking about his dad, who has cancer. Sissy is definitely one of those words you don't hear much anymore. It's definitely southern. Bubba reminded the folks that he does hit the ball a long way.7:14 Tiger is taking a lot of time at the 2nd hole. He blocked his drive into a bunker then scuffed it about 95 yards to a gravel cart path then he hit a fairway metal to about 25 yards from the green in a little runoff area. He has birdie chip that he'll probably make.7:07 Phil is a vegetarian! It sounds healthy but a little crazy to start at 40. But then what kind of vegetarian is he? The kind that still eats chicken and fish? That kind still has an occasional steak? Or is he the kind that's one veggie burger away from being vegan? I think it's noble but I could only chuckle when Gary Player was in my office not long ago and he told me that I needed to become a vegetarian if I wanted his body at age 75.6:57 Khan fell out of a tie for the lead with a bogey at 16th. Watney is in at 7 under. This is the best position that he's been in at a major. Same goes for Kuchar. That's good news for Corey Pavin, maybe.6:55 The cool thing about Bubba's game is that he can play in wind because of his spectacular ability to move his ball seemingly at will in all directions. But the wind spooked him on the greens at the 12th, where he three-putted from inside 10 feet. 6:48 Tiger is off the first tee with a 3-wood down the left side of the fairway. 6:42 Bubba has birdied his first two holes to get to 6 under par.6:40 The wind could be the saving grace for the players at 2 over. It's starting to howl a little.6:38 Mickelson is in the clubhouse at 2 under and 6 back of the leaders. In his group, Oosthuizen (2 over) and Graeme McDowell (3 over) could both miss the cut. 6:32 David Feherty is with Jim Nantz. Khan made his birdie. He's five-under for the day.6:28 Apparently, Tiger got the drill from Foley during the practice round. It still a little weird to see Tiger doing drills on a game day.6:25 Simon Khan just hit to a foot on the long par 4 15th hole. He'll go to 8 under in a tie for the lead with Kuchar.6:23 Tiger never regularly did the still head drill with Steve before this week. I wonder if this is some kind of band-aid for not practicing and seeing a teacher.6:20 Bubba Watson birdied the 10th hole, his first hole, to get to 5 under. Phil playing the par 5 8th hole, his 17th hole, birdied to get to 2 under par.6:15 No siting of Sean Foley on the range with Tiger for his warmup. 6:11 Bubba Watson started his round by nearly driving the 10th hole, which measures about 360 yards. The PGA does have fun. He's paired with Alvaro Quiros for no other reason than that they are two of the longest hitters in golf.6:07 Tiger is teeing off in about 35 minutes. With no weather delays he should get in about 2 hours of golf. It gets dark at the course at about 8:00 central6:04 After standing on a 3-footer that was oscillating, Watney made a birdie at the 6th to move to 7 under.6:02 Simon Khan, an Englishman who won the European Tour's BMW Open earlier this year, is one back of Kuchar at 7 under after a birdie at the 13th.6:00 Mickelson hit an 8-iron from 200 yards on the 7th hole. What happened to the stock 150-yard 8-iron?5:56 Seung Yul Noh (Soon you will Know). The 19-year old is 5-under. Ernie Johnson couldn't resist playing with his name. 5:49 Phil hit a poor chip on the 6th hole and missed his birdie. Basically that's giving a shot away to the field.5:46 The great thing about the PGA is that they want players to make birdies. Whistling Straits has four or five holes that the players believe they should always make birdie.5:43 Mickelson hit a three-wood to the driveable 6th hole, landing a few paces off the green. It would be a great hole if it were the 15th or 16th. How exciting would it be to have the option on late Sunday.5:38 The leaderboard has four or five Americans who could be Ryder Cuppers: Kuchar, Dustin Johnson, Bryce Molder and Zach Johnson. I don't understand why some of my colleagues think that the Americans are going to get killed later this year in Europe.5:35 As it starts to rain pretty steadily on the course it's looking like the late afternoon groups may not even get to tee off today. 5:30 Louis Oosthuizen, the British Open champion, just hit one from Lake Michigan on the par 5 fifth after trying to hit his second shot into the green.5:26 Nick Watney is 6 under and 2 back of the lead after a birdie at the 4th hole.5:22 McIlroy couldn't convert the eagle but he made his birdie to get to 5 under. We know that he's mentally strong after co
ming back from the 80 in the second round at the British to get a top 5 there.5:20 Kuchar is in the clubhouse with a 69 and a 8-under total. Solid. Not spectacular. He's hitting a lot of fairways and greens with what is the flattest, laziest, swing in golf. As one of the announcers said, he always looks like he's going to hit a good shot.5:17 Rory McIlroy just drove the green at the 320-yard Par 4 6th hole. 5:15 To Reader Jared Heath who finds the weather becoming a determining factor in the outcome of this tournament. It could be tomorrow night by the time Kuchar tees off for his third round. He will have had the weather to give him a lot of rest and time to see what people do in front of him. Who knows? Someone could blow past him.5:11 Mickelson gave one back at the 4th with a bogey to drop back to even par. He's been all over the place today. I wonder how long he can play scrambling golf with guys making birdies ahead of him. 5:05 Good Afternoon. Am I the only one but doesn't it seem weird that Tiger won't tee off until about 7pm eastern time. By the time he tees up Matt Kuchar might have run away with the tournament.5:00 Okay folks, that does it for me today. Thanks for all your great comments. I'm leaving you in the very capable hands of SI's Farrell Evans.4:57 Noh is having the round of his young life. He's now -6 and just a couple shots off the lead. No doubt, his winning this would be the biggest golf story of the year. Which is why it probably won't happen.4:54 Bryce Molder has hit some great lags today, he gets another one to make par and stay at -6 on the always dangerous 17th.4:51 Kuchar misses a birdie by inches yet again. Maybe my -8 prediction will hold after all.4:49 More fun, long-man Dustin Johnson bounces back from a bogey to eagle the par-5 5th, he's two back at -6.4:46 With McCord's help Phil is officially on a mini-roll. His tee shot on the par-3 3rd lands 3 feet from the hole. That'll bring him to -3…err, -14:45 OK, wanted to save this for when I had some Appleby news, but it doesn't look like I'm going to get that chance, so here it goes. Enjoy this treat of a tweet from SI's Alan Shipnuck:
Just recalled a classic quote from '04. Appleby, who grew up on a farm, was asked about the smell of nearby cows: "Yeah, it makes me horny!"
Well…I think that pretty much speaks for itself.4:42 Mickelson sinks a lovely birdie putt at No. 2 to move back to even. Gary McCord has turned into Phil's personal cheerleader, but as long as he stays out of the uniform I'll let it go.4:39 Completely random thought, but what do you guys think about making one of the majors match play? I think the PGA Tour is begging for a bit of a shakeup, and this would be an easy way to make some waves without really changing anything. My preference would be the British Open, but the PGA Championship also has a very strong Match Play tradition. I think it's a no brainer, but maybe I'm alone.4:37 Watney makes a terrible bid for birdie on No. 1. He's getting a bit frustrated out there considering how many it feels like he's given away today. Still, an easy par.4:34 Have to admit, today has been waaaay more entertaining than yesterday. all the confusion with the overlapping rounds and quick play has added a sort of breathlessness to the whole operation. I've changed shirts three times during this blog (and not just because I spilled some "Molinari Bros. Marinara Sauce" on the first two).4:30 Kuch slips yet another one past the hole on 16. Easy par though.4:28 "Interesting" question from reader Paul Blake (who may or may not be the "arm of the armadillos"):
It's the back nine of the PGA tournment: you're ahead by one stroke. How would you rather have: Carl Spackler, Bagger Vance, or Romeo Posar as your caddy?
I'm going to go off the map and say that goofy looking guy who caddied for Ty Webb in Caddyshack after Danny went with Smails. Sure he didn't have much of a smile, but that kid could pick some sticks!4:26 Kuchar has really settled in: his irons are crisp and he's much more comfortable over his putts. I honestly think it was as much a pace issue as anything else–he was slow and indecisive for a little bit before, and that coincided with his only hiccups of the day.4:22 Earlier reader Donny made a passing comment about Notah Begay. I'm not really interested in talking about his commentary (frankly, I'm not sure how interested he is in giving it), but since I didn't get to cover the Turning Stone this year I want to get in a plug for his charity, the Notah Begay Foundation. They support sports and nutrition programs for Native American Youth, trying to battle the absolutely absurd obesity epidemic that's taken a foothold there. Check out his website www.notah.com for more info on a seriously worthy cause. I also wanted to mention to Donny that he's out of his element. Donny, you're out of your element!4:19 Has anyone asked Mickelson whether his newfound vegetarianism will lead him to sell his stake in Five Guys? Why is the mainstream golf media so afraid to ask the tough questions?4:17 Why do I feel like I spend more time during golf tournaments watching Scott Van Pelt (in that Titleist commercial) than Bo Van Pelt?4:14 When Nick Watney smiles he looks like a cross between Jack Nicholson's Joker and Jim Carrey from the Mask. No, that's not a good thing.4:12 Kuchar just slips one past the hole, missing a long birdie chance, he's stuck at an embarrassing 8-under par.4:08 Reader Mitch disagrees with my assesment of night golf:
Mitch Cumstein: I like Doug's idea- I am a big fan of night putting, and I think that these lights would definitely come in handy out there.
As much fun as I'm sure that would be, I think we can all agree that the dean would never go for it.4:06 As expected, DA Point has a 6-foot putt to get up and down on 12.4:05 DA Points has been on a great run to -5, but he's in a tough spot outside the hazard marks at the par-3 12th, it's going to take some impressive wedge-work to get up and down from there (read: he's not getting up and down from there).4:02 Brandon stoops to cheating to find that Larry Mize is the fourth Yellow Jacket major winner.4:01 Rory sweeps home a gorgeous putt from 25 feet to move to -4. He can putt, he can play.3:59 Brandon Johnson has the 3 easier answers to my GT major winner question: Bobby Jones, Cink and Duval. The last one's tricky, especially for you young whippersnappers.3:57 Kuchar will not be denied, netting just another birdie to move 3 strokes in front of the pack. Not only has be broken away to stand alone in the lead, he's also making it look like my prediction of -8 (where he already is) being the low score at the end of the day.3:55 Dusky question from reader Doug:
I know this is going to sound nuts, but haven't they ever considered lights on these courses so we can play a little bit into the night on occasions like this, or in bouts of bad w
eather? I mean, its 2010, not the dark ages. Everyone made an uproar once baseball started installing lights in the 30s and now playing night games is the norm. I've seen big drive tournaments done under the lights with no issues. What are your thoughts?
They actually tried a bit of this earlier in the decade at the Battle of the Bridges with limited success (it was successful at getting Tiger Woods on TV at night during the week when he was at his most popular). The biggest problem (and difference between baseball) is that with golf players start at such different times that the conditions would be faaaar too unfair for some players. Not to mention the extra expense it would take to outfit a championship course. Can anyone think of any other reasons?3:51 Molder and Kuchar both went to Georgia Tech, and they'd be in good company if they won this major. 4 other Techies went on to win majors, can you name them? (no cheating!)3:50 Bryce Molder misses his second consecutive birdie putt…as a small consolation he made 5 birdies in the 7 holes before that. He's the low man for the day and will likely make par to stay at -5.3:48 Phil makes par at 17 to stay at -1. Like most other people today, his momentum didn't last more than a couple holes. That's probably a sign that this course is doing its job.3:45 Kuchar birdies another to extend his lead to 2 strokes at -7. He's also extending my streak of looking like a complete moron to two days (as far as you know).3:44 Feherty just referred to Billy Krantzert as "borderline creepy." I think we can take the "borderline" out of that one, David.3:41 Great note from way earlier that I should have spotted from reader Mirsa Eastwood, who's been faithfully following us all day:
Just saw Oosthuizen's caddy clean Phil's ball for him on the green while Bones was raking the bunker. Love to see caddies work together as a team for the group they're with. Always wish more camera time would be spent on caddy-player interaction.
Yeah, it's great to see that sort of professionalism, especially when you know those guys have a ton on their minds. Those little things can be a huge difference on days like today too, when delays are absolutely killing the timing. Every hole they can squeeze in today is one they don't have to play tomorrow, so pace of play is definitely a factor right now.3:39 Apparently PGA coverage is now sharing facetime with the Dream Team's HOF induction on the front page of SI.com right now. Hey guys, Matt Kuchar doesn't share his space with the likes of Michael Jordan, show some respect.3:36 Reader Brian Norman is having some fun with us:
Still no weather??? What happend to the hurricane that was coming????
It seems like this is a bit of British Open redux, waiting for the weather that never came. Not only isn't it raining, but there's barely any wind at the moment. I think we can all agree that we're very happy to have been wrong about this one plus, it's really the stupid weatherman's fault anyway, right? Wait, don't blog angry!3:33 In the meantime, Els bogeys the first after getting snagged in the rough. The dropped stroke brings him to -3.3:32 Just as I expected, Matt Kuchar has retaken the outright lead at -6. Yeah, yeah…that's the ticket.3:30 Dustin Johnson shorts what should have been an easy wedge on the first (his 10th of the day)…he's going to have a heck of a time getting up and down from there.3:28 Big eagle from big Shane Lowry who moves back to even par after back to back bogeys. Do you think he introduces himself by saying "I'm Shane, I'm Shane…LOWery!"?3:27 For the record, I'm sometimes referred to as the "Jewish Brad Pitt" for the same reason3:26 Apparently they call Noh the "Asian Rory McIlroy" and if it's not because of his game it's because of his body type. From behind (and even through the swing) they look very similar…except for the hair obviously.3:24 BTW, Nick Watney got a little flighty while I was busy ogling that Stricker lie. He fell back to -5.3:22 Craig, that's an understatement: Phil hit a perfect drive on 16. Naturally though, he was so shocked to be in his fairway that he hit a relatively mediocre pitch in. It just seems like he hates hitting off good lies sometimes.3:19 Steve Stricker is an absolute crater on the 17th. He played out of a bunker, but unless he's playing Golden Tee it's just an impossible shot and he can't get it over the ridge. Dave Pelz couldn't get him out of this hole, he needs Neil Armstrong.3:17 A reader with the chick-magnet handle Wampa 1 has a quick question on technique:
What are your thoughts about putting with a wedgie?
Is that you Mrs. Esterhouse?3:14 Dustin Johnson (who, as predicted, did in fact get to -5…in fact he may have been there the whole time) will make par at the 18th to stay there. Confused? Get in line.3:10 Reader Apple…something, has an interesting question about wedges on Tour:
What is the most lofted wedge that you have ever seen a player carry? Is it the 64 degree Mickelson wedge?
That's a surprisingly tough question to answer. I talked to Bubba Watson last year about his set, and noted that his lob wedge was 60-degrees, not unusual, but odd I thought for a guy who does so much work around the green. He told me that it was actually bent to 63-degrees, giving him the extra loft that he needed in a standard club. So even looking at their clubs you never really know. I'd still say 64-degrees would be the highest I know of, unless you're pulling some crazy-high lobs (which obviously Phil is), that kind of loft is completely unnecessary.3:07 Kuchar stays one back after his birdie putt stays literally one revolution out of the hole. I've jinxed Matt, and I'm completely unapologetic about it (sorry Matt.3:06 Feherty reports that Phil got "crop dusted" by sand when he escaped (beautifully by the way) from that bunker. Needless to say, I've heard Feherty use that term many, many times…but never in that context.3:05 The last group isn't scheduled to go off until nearly 7:30 EST. Sundown was pretty solidly 8:50 last night, so you do the math.3:03 Bryce Molder will make the turn in that big group at -5. He's got a good chance to move ahead here, and he'd better since 17 and 18 can always take a couple away from you.3:01 Phil's Houdini-esque escapes hit a bit of a roadblock. His recovery from that wayward drive is less than perfect, ending up in the sand short of the green.3:00 Phil made some new friends, signing a glove for a guy he absolutely wailed with a tee shot. Obviously I applaud Phil's nice gesture (he wrote "sorry" with a frowny face on the glove), Phil could avoid those awkward moments by getting a little further from the gallery and a little closer to the fairway.2:58 Ernie has a great up and down from the steps on 17. His chip wasn't perfect, but he had no problem wrangling the longish putt for par.2:57 I jumped the gun, Dustin Johnson's still stuck at -4. But if I know Dustin Johnson (and I almost shook his hand one time), he'll get there eventually. 2:56 Watney's approach at 1
4 can't find its way over the ridge at the front of the green, a problem a lot of guys have had with the soft ground the last couple days. Shouldn't have a problem at least saving par, but he won't have much of a chance to pull further ahead.2:54 Reader and noted golf expert Doug Chiciak has a different opinion for the best possible pairing for the weekend:
Unquestionably, the best golf pairing humanly possible is Tiger Woods and John Daily. I expect now that Woods is a bachelor, they could have some epic times together.
I don't know, you'd have to think that the slimmed down Daly has cut back on his wild ways. Then again, maybe he follows my foolproof dieting tenant: you can drink as much as you want, as long as you don't eat at the same time.2:51 I'm getting a headache trying to figure out who's playing what round, and now Dustin Johnson has gotten to -5, where Zach was already sitting. It would make a great pairing for the weekend though.2:49 Phil must have had a visit with his old friend Mo Mentum, he birdies 14 for his second straight, moving his way to the right side of par at -1.2:48 Noh doesn't share my enthusiasm for back to back Korean winners apparently, he drops back to -4 with a bogey.2:47 TNT has appropriated Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" as the unofficial theme for the day. I would have gone by something by Foghat, but I'm a little less subtle.2:44 Nick Watney climbs to the top of the pile with a birdie to move to -6. How low will guys go today? I doubt it'll get past -8 at this rate.2:42 Peter Kostis is picking up on the theme of possible back-to-back South Korean champions. I always give Y.E. Yang a lot of grief because I happen to be a huge K.J. Choi fan and I was absolutely shocked (and slightly disheartened) that he missed his chance to be the first Asian major winner, but it can't be overstated how important Yang's win was to the future of golf. The sport is shrinking a bit in the West, but in the East it's just getting started.2:39 Another par for Kuchar, who does seem to have righted the ship. That having been said, bold prediction: he never has the outright lead again.2:37 Reader Ron Rowe with another unfulfilled cut day suggestion:
What do you call a cut day when not everybody finishes? A scratch? A Flesh wound?
Pretty good, but you're going to have to do better than that to beat the Corkster!.2:34 WIth five players tied for the lead, the crowd seems to be livening up a bit. It's almost like the fog sapped a bit of the energy on the course, and as the day heats up a little bit both the players and the fans are starting to get more energetic. 2:30 Phil mercifully makes birdie on 13 to get back to even par. Very few players have been able to build momentum for more than a couple holes, but if Phil doesn't pick up one or two more red numbers today he's going to find himself in a hole tomorrow morning.2:28 Reader Donny wants an update on the best club pro so far. Not sure if he's still the low pro, but Tim Thelen, who's a pro at The Falls GC in Texas has been playing some great golf but is +2 on the day to bring him back to even par. As tough as the course played yesterday into this morning, just sticking around for the weekend is an accomplishment in and of itself. Hopefully he'll keep smooth and steady and we can find out a little bit more about him over the next couple days.2:25 Els can't be the latest to get to -5, making par at 15. Don't take your eyes off him though.2:22 This is getting out of hand. After nobody seemed to want to take the lead yesterday, suddenly Zach Johnson wants to join in the fun, making it a four-way scrum at the top of the pile.2:20 And yes, Kuchar is 32, but I don't expect him to be a leader for much longer, as he's really struggling staying together. He'll manage par after missing the green to stay at -5 for the moment though.2:19 Leaders keep falling from the sky. Nick Watney goes two-under for the day so far and becomes the veteran at the top of the leaderboard at the ripe old age of 29.2:17 Super-interesting news from Mike Walker–apparently Tiger was talking to Jim Gray after his round yesterday and gave him the "death stare". Can't blame Tiger at all, as Gray has put him in a terrible position. Now that Tiger has admitted that he'd take a captain's pick, he could b seriously embarrassed if Pavin doesn't pick him. And Tiger's got enough awkward questions to answer without having to deal with the Pavin/Gray mess. Jim should pray that Tiger plays well enough this week to assure himself a spot on the team, or the death stare may be the least of the presents Tiger has for him.2:15 That outright lead didn't last very long. South Korea's Seung Yul Noh birdies the par-5 5th to move into a tie with Kuchar. Could we possibly have two Korean PGA Champions in a row? 2:13 Kuchar settle for a bogey, but is still in the lead after Els' miss.2:10 Good news everyone, the first round of the 2010 PGA Championship has officially finished. In just a shade under a decade too.2:08 That birdie must have given Steve Stricker some momentum. After laying up with his drive on 13, Strick sticks one inside five feet for a gimme birdie…the start of something good? Let's hope so, he's the only one whose crowds are making any noise today.2:06 Great recovery from Kuchar to reach the 6th green, but he'll still have a long putt for par. Should be able to minimize the damage though.2:05 Ernie can't keep up the pressure, just missing a par put to drop him back to -4. It's one step forward, one step back for Els today.2:04 Kuchar has to take a drop from the forrest after that drive, and he's in a very awkward spot. He'll be fortunate to just drop one stroke on this hole.2:02 Golf.com kingpin Charlie Hanger chimes in on Matt Kuchar's reaction to a ridiculously wayward drive:Kuchar just said, "Oh jeepers, Matty" after a shot. Jeepers?I actually give Kuchar credit for that. He must know he doesn't get much coverage on TV, so he's keeping it clean for all the people seeing him for the first time.2:00 An answer to my cut day question from good friend Michael Corcoran:
A Friday when not everyone finishes to establish the cut: cuttus interruptus.
Beat that commenters, if you dare!1:56 Huge cheers for Steve Stricker when he sinks his first birdie to move to -1. Slow and steady wins the race, Steve.1:54 I like all of r
eader Brandon Johnson's suggestions on what to call Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano. I'm going to start with Gonzo until Jim Henson's people threaten to sue.1:51 Speaking of the Big Easy, he has no trouble putting home that birdie, so he goes back to -5, just one stroke off the lead. 1:50 Dustin Johnson birdies his fourth hole of the day to move to -3. Normally I'd make a joke about his height here, but since he's playing with Ernie Els he's not even the biggest guy in his group. I wouldn't want to play a pickup game against those two.1:47 Colin Montgomerie is looking a little of his game this week…can't imagine why that is.1:45 Huge bounce-back from Els who plays another great short iron to about 5 feet on 13. He's his typically stoic self, but his game is smiling.1:43 Mickelson does end up making par on the 10th, keeping him at +1. If Lefty's going to keep driving like he has been, he's going to have to be a lot more solid with the putter.1:40 Els makes bogey on 12 to drop back to -4. Not a huge deal, when you're as good as Ernie you really just need to hang around the lead the first few days. Right?1:38 Typically stellar recovery for Phil from that poor tee shot, he should have no problem getting up and down on his first hole of the second round.1:34 In an answer to my very-not-serious prayer, Castano is going to drop at least one stroke on 12, and he's got a little meat on that bone for bogey.1:32 Phil takes driver on 10 and sends the patrons way back in the right rough scattering. I'm waiting for Bones to "accidentally" snap it when Phil's back is turned.1:30 Kuchar makes par after standing over his 5-footer for an awfully long time. It's often been said that the best sign that a player is letting the pressure get to him is that he slows down. Hopefully not a sign of things to come.1:28 Chad Campbell makes a swell putt for birdie on 12. He moves into the group at -3.1:25 Would it be considered a show of poor journalistic integrity if I started to actively root against Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano just so I don't have to type his name?1:23 Hometown favorite (and mine) Steve Stricker just cannot find a birdie on this course. He'll stay at even par, which would be well within striking distance if there was any indication that he's going to snap out of this par-fest.1:21 Ernie brought his short irons today. A near-eagle on 11 will leave him with a tap-in to move to -5, just one off the lead.1:19 Last week I asked you guys what to call the second day at the Bridgestone, since nobody gets cut (I think we decided on "If we weren't so elitist you'd be home by now day"). What do you call a cut day when not everybody finishes?1:17 The best part of every PGA Championship is undoubtedly the PGA pro who comes out and makes a run at the lead. This year it's TIm Thelen, who just snagged his second birdie of the day to move to -3. 1:15 Funny, the course is playing tough (as expected), but not for the reasons we all thought. It's awesome how Straits holds up as a championship-level challenge even when the wind isn't howling. Although it does beg the question: If it's this hard when the wind isn't a factor, what will happen when it is?1:13 Some rumors from the course: the rain may actually wash by to the North. Hopefully that's just not wishful thinking from all the Golf.com guys who forgot to bring their umbrellas.1:11 Kuchar's birdie try on 3rd slides by the hole. Barring a hiccup he'll settle for par.1:10 Interesting comment/question from Floyd, following up on the popularity topic Mike started before:
Better question for reader John, etc. : who is likely to step up in popularity? Freddy's a senior. Tiger and Phil really don't play that often (not to mention other issues) and Els just doesn't seem to get it done (not that that is a popularity thing)…
I know he's had a rough go of it with his injury and some…less than perfect behavior, but I still think Anthony Kim will be a tremendously popular player on Tour. He's got a great personality and a ton of talent. The idea of him dueling it out with the likes of Rory McIlroy for the next decade makes me all warm inside.1:07 Something to think about if the rain starts to fall: it's going to take some serious mental toughness for Matt Kuchar to keep it together today. With having to get up early and then waiting, and then playing, and then stopping and then playing again, if he has to stop for a significant time again he's going to be at a disadvantage to some of the guys who had a full day of golf tomorrow and got a later start today.1:05 The much-feared storm hasn't arrived yet, but it sure looks gray out there. I'll give you updates from the courses I get them from our intrepid foot-soldiers.1:03 Hey there folks, Golf Magazine's Steve Beslow here to be the meat in your live blog sandwich. I may not be as well seasoned as Mike or Farrell, but I've got significantly better marbling. 12:58 p.m. I'm handing the Live Blog over to Golf Magazine's Steve Beslow and heading back on the course. The Wisconsin fans are great, but they only have two walking speeds: "trudge "and "slog." Wish me luck!12:53 p.m. Ernie Els (4-under) isn't ready to talk about Player of the Year, which would be a done deal for the two-time Tour winner and FedEx Cup point leader."Don't think about that," Els said shaking his hard. "There's probably eight guys."Asked it would take a major win, Els smiled. "Yeah," he said.12:51 p.m. Reader Arthur says it's way, way, way too early to talk about the cut: Projected cut line already? Can the other half of the field finish the 1st round before we talk cut? Well, everyone is pretty much done with their first round, but I take your point. It's a live blog, cut me some slack, Arthur. 12:50 p.m. I spent way too much time last night trying to figure out why my Milwaukee hotel felt the need to post a sign that said "Elevators Reserved for Hotel and Restaurant Guests Only." 12:48 p.m. Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, whose name will be the scourge of all Live Blog typists today, is 4-under with birdies on the first two holes of his second round. 12:46 p.m. Reader Craig writes: Lefty looks awful out there. Really, he should be about 7 over par.
A Mickelson round is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. 12:44 p.m. Mickelson makes his par — finishes with a 1-over 73, and he'll be back on the course in 20 minutes or so. 12:40 p.m. Mickelson his a sweet shot from an uneven stance in the greenside rough (of course he does) and he has an important 6-footer to save par. 12:36 p.m. Mickelson misses the green with his approach on 18. He's 1-over and right on the projected cut line. 12:35 p.m. Zach Johnson gives one back on 18, he finishes at 3-under. 12:30 p.m. Open question whether Tiger Woods (tee time 5:45 p.m. EDT) will hit a shot today with the expected rain. 12:26 p.m. Steve Stricker finishes with an even-par 72. The Madison resident is still a contender. 12:22 p.m. Good list from Reader John: My most popular players: 1. Tiger (pre-scandal) 2. Freddie!!!!! 3. Phil 4. Ernie If I had the chance to pick three pros to play 18 holes with I'd pick Freddie, Phil, and Ernie. Fred Couples has a strong following. I guess top three in popularity would be 1. Phil, 2. Tiger (post-scandal, 3. Freddie. Tiger still has by far the biggest galleries though. 12:20 p.m. Phil Mickelson saves par on 17, still one over. I'm sure Mickelson wishes he could have played in the dark last night after that birdie-birdie finish. 12:19 p.m. Over/Under on how many PGA Championship stories work "Friday the 13th" into the lead paragraph today. I say 16. 12:15 p.m. Reader Tighthead asks: Does Oosthuizen have some sort of weird farmers tan on his next from wearing his shades back there? Right around the collar. King Louie's too cool to let something like that happen, but I don't understand why players don't ask their caddies to carry their sunglasses, too. The caddie already has the bag, the trail mix and the sports drink, but he can't carry the shades? I don't get it. 12:13 p.m. Darren Clarke is in the clubhouse after a cautionary tale of an opening round. Clarke was 3-under through 13 and finished bogey, bogey, bogey, double. Yes, Whistling Straits has teeth. 12:11 p.m. Phil Mickelson makes a bogey on 16, now 1-over par. I don't understand the Official World Golf Rankings calculations but I don't think he can overtake Tiger as No. 1 if he doesn't finish better than him here. 12:09 p.m. Reader TheWaiting writes: I have not golfed in years, and I have not watched much golf this year (rabbit ears do not pull in many stations) but I absolutely love following the rounds via the Live Blog. Keep up the good work. Thanks for the note. I think Boo Weekley is serving rabbit ears for dinner tonight. 12:07 p.m Ernie Els finishes his opening round at 4-under. Mickelson still out there, he's even through 15. 12:02 p.m. Post-round quotes from leader Matt Kuchar (5-under), who's going to head back out the course for his second round soon:
Q: Because you're playing so well, does it feel good to turn right around and go back out and play?
MATT KUCHAR: Absolutely. I would like to end this shortly.
11:59 a.m. Another par for Ernie Els on 17, 4-under and just one shot off the lead. I still pick Ernie Els as the world's third-most popular Tour player. Any other suggestions? 11:58 a.m. Reader Scott Westemeyer: Speaking of Cabrera and feasting, between him and John Daly (pre-lap band surgery), who do you think could eat more White Castle burgers, and how many would the winner put down?] I am actually going to take Tiger Woods in this one. I hear he's been working with a new competitive-eating coach. 11:56 a.m. Checking to see if there's any good stuff on Twitter……Uh, no. 11:54 a.m. Phil update: He's even through 15. 11:51 a.m. Reader sjciske writes: I like Cam Morfit's writing, but hey, if he thinks this is bad, have him check the weather for Tulsa (e.g. Souther Hills) for this weekend – 107 today, 106 Sat and 96 on Sunday! No complaints here. Despite the weather problems, Whistling Straits is an awesome major venue. And we'll probably get to see it on TV until Monday. 11:50 a.m. Ernie Els grinds out another par on 17, he's still 4-under and the biggest name by far near the top of the leaderboard. 11:45 a.m. Friend of the Blog Mike Corcoran has an interesting idea on what could derail Tiger this week: Slow play on the fog-choked course.
Despite Tiger's -1 yesterday, we're still talking about a very delicate psyche (and spare me all the crap about how mentally tough he is), and slow play, which is guaranteed, could and probably will hurt him, and here's why: Forget Haney and Foley and Tiger's swing and his putting and all that stuff. It has nothing to do with why Tiger is playing poorly this year. What's killing Tiger is happening one micro-second at a time, that one instant when he's not swinging the club, not lining up a putt, not engaged–fleeting moments when his conscience–and even he has one–won't let him forget he's moved to the top of the list of all-time sports creeps. You can cry me a river about that has nothing to do with it, he's just a golfer and we should admire him for that, and yeah, we should. But a golfer has to play with focus, and a good one can block out noise, sights, pressure applied by other players, even nerves about his swing or his putting. But no one can keep his conscience buried to the point that it doesn't insidiously creep into his active thought process, and it only takes one second to do that. Maybe he's just walking along, maybe he's waiting for someone to putt out, but the weight of being a famously bad husband and father, the details only he knows, the burden of having the self-realization that pride did indeed goeth before the fall, that someday his kids will see what kind of man he was and probably hate him for it–that's why Tiger has played bad. It only takes a micro-second for hell to be unleashed in his head. And if it doesn't happen, his overcoming it so soon won't be admirable, it will be disturbing, and not worthy of praise. Yes, he's played well in the majors, but for him those are the equivalent of an athlete playing better when he's hurt, they supply enough deflection that he has fewer distracted moments. But they don't eliminate them completely.
11:44 a.m. Nick Watney drops one at the 14th, now 3-under. 11:41 a.m. Remember Zach Johnson? He's 3-under after birdies on 13 and 15. 11:39 a.m. Golf Magazine's Cam Morfit says, "Other than the fog, the pestilence and the upcoming rainstorm, this has been a heck of a PGA Championship." 11:37 a.m. Matt Kuchar is in the clubhouse after a 5-under 67. 11:33 a.m. Reader Donny asks: Mike, what's with Stenson and Weekley? Especially Stenson, is he hurt? Weekley (3-over) had a shoulder injury, and his fitness is never great even when he's healthy. Stenson (7-over) is sick. He hasn't been able to shake a virus since right after the British Open. It's too bad we can't see two of the game's more engaging personalities at their best this week. 11:31 a.m. Mickelson gives one back with a bogey on the par-4 14th. He's now even. Els keeps stringing together pars — the Big Easy is 4-under through 16. 11:29 a.m. Friend of the Blog Guy Gallant writes: Angel Cabrera is due for another major on a big golf course. I think he's a good pick to be around on Sunday. I agree. If Cabrera is playing well, he'll be in the mix. You know he's not afraid of anything. With him on the golf course, it's feast or famine. At the dinner table, it's always feast.
11:25 a.m. That was just a joke. Canada is my second-favorite country. 11:24 a.m. Reader Donny on Tiger's next coach: I don't care who's coaching him really. But it's nice to have a fellow Canadian getting so much respect for his golf teachings! Canadian sports fans are the best. If Tiger wins, the Toronto Star headline would be "Golfer coached by Canadian wins PGA Championship." 11:22 a.m. Another par from Kuchar (5-under) on 8. Old friend Angel Cabrera is climbing the leaderboard as well, 3-under after birdies on 10 and 11. 11:18 a.m. Reader Marty Ely on Poulter versus the Get-in-the-hole! guys: I gotta go with Poults on that one…that joke was funny..well it was never funny. I think we need to quarantine those guys with the You Da Man guys in a special section…not near the golf course. Agreed. Let's quarantine them on an island miles from the golf course, somewhere like the U.S. Open media center. 11:16 a.m. Matt Kuchar makes par on the par-3 seventh, his 16th, and is still atop the leaderboard at 5-under. 11:15 a.m. Question to you sports fans out there: Does anyone really care who Tiger's next swing coach is? And if so, why? 11:12 a.m. Not sure how much golf we'll get in today. My trusted weather source — the security guy at the Whistling Straits media center — said he heard they got 2 inches of rain this morning a couple hours west of here and that the storm is headed this way. 11:10 a.m. Local hero Steve Stricker is 1-under through 14. He's been trailed this week by folks in green shirts which say "Stricker's Soldiers." Let's hope they don't lose interest. 11:09 a.m. Pars for Ernie Els (4-under) on 15 and Phil Mickelson (1-under) on 12. 11:07 a.m. Friend of the Blog and golf writer Mike Corcoran thinks Kuchar could be on this leaderboard to stay: Kuchar has kind of made his bones as a player at the U.S. Open. This is the tournament that is most like that one. He has the potential to be one of those one career major guys. 11:03 a.m. Reader Brad Baker emails: Thought it was interesting that Poults called the fans "idiots" for yelling "get in the hole!!" on par 5s .. via Twitter… arent they the ones who pay attention to his tweeting? (and financing his pinkness?) I can take sides on Ian Poulter vs. the "get-in-the-hole!" guys. Let's just call this one an orgy of idiocy. 10:57 a.m. Breaking news from Golf.com's David Dusek, the hardest-working man in the golf media: Sean Foley walked by Butch Harmon on the practice range a few minutes after the players loaded into vans and left for the holes and the re-start of the first round. “Hey Hollywood!” called Harmon. Foley laughed, turned around and chatted with Butch for about five minutes. At one point Butch put his arm around Foley as the two talked in whispers.
As Foley walked away, Harmon said, “Hey, let’s get a match between my four and your four … and we get to be the announcers. HA! There’d be some bull%#[email protected] going on there!” Dusek even got a picture.
10:56 a.m. Take me to your (new) leader: Matt Kuchar makes birdie on his 15th (the sixth) and is alone at 5-under. 10:52 a.m. How could we forget about Nick Watney, 4-under through 11? Updates coming soon. 10:49 a.m. Some unfinished business from yesterday's Live Blog: the winner of the Don King Award for the best name for a Corey Pavin-Jim Gray boxing match is Dr. Beeper for "B—- Slaps by the Rich Chaps." Thanks to everyone who participated. 10:45 a.m. We'll also be keeping an eye on Matt Kuchar, also 4-under through 14 holes, and a guy named Phil Mickelson, who is 1-under through 11 after finishing his darkness-shortened round birdie-birdie. 10:42 a.m. The Golf.com Live Blog's featured player this morning will be Ernie Els, who's tied for the lead at 4-under through 14 holes. Does the Big Easy have one more major in him at age 40? I'm not so sure. Every time I see him he looks "exceedingly weary," as they say, but he's still one of the biggest stars in the game 10:40 a.m. Welcome to Day 2 of the Golf.com PGA Championship Live Blog. I'm Mike Walker, senior editor for Golf Magazine. After a 2 hr, 40 min fog delay, players are back on the course. We'll be here all day, so please join the conversation and leave a comment below.