Friday's Birdies and Bogeys

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Friday's Birdies and Bogeys

August 09, 2012

Photo By: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Photo By: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Photo By: Chuck Burton/AP Photo

Photo By: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Photo By: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

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Photo By: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Photo By: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Photo By: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Photo By: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Photo By: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Birdie: Tiger Woods

If his name wasn't Tiger Woods -- if it was, say, Simon Dyson -- we'd be marveling at a golfer who has made the cut in all four majors, and been in contention at some point in the last three. There was still plenty to marvel at with Woods on Friday, starting with his making of about three miles worth of putts en route to a one-under par 71. And yet since this is Tiger Woods, we're less concerned with how he's played and more interested in what's to come. Woods' stellar play around the greens, paired with his ability to maneuver the ball in the ever-present wind in the second round bodes well for his chances of capturing of a 15th career major. But we've said that before this year. So for now, we'll just sit back and watch.

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Bogey: Luke Donald

You'll occasionally hear that Luke Donald, as the No. 1 player in the world, doesn't get the respect he deserves. It may have something to do with weeks like these. While Donald has clearly established himself as one of the game's elite, he has a knack for either getting off to slow starts in majors, or not getting started at all. Donald shot 74-76 to barely make the cut, which means barring a remarkable surge over the weekend, he can look forward to another long winter of questions about his poor record in major championships. Then again, at least Donald is still in the tournament. His countryman Lee Westwood missed the cut.

Photo By: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Birdie: Ian Poulter

Despite a rather ho-hum year from the Englishman, Ian Poulter always seems to play well on golf's biggest stages. The Arnold Palmer Invitational aside, Poulter's two strongest finishes in 2012 have been majors, with top 10s at both the Masters and the British Open. The colorful Poulter was sporting a smile for most of the day; one that saw him shoot one-under 71 when the scoring average was over 78. Tied for the lead heading into the weekend, Poulter should have plenty to tweet about. And as one of only a handful of players to shoot under par in Friday's tough conditions, along with his track record at high-profile events, Poulter is making a strong case for inclusion on the European Ryder Cup team.

Photo By: Chuck Burton/AP Photo

Bogey: Rickie Fowler

We don't claim to understand all the inner-workings of how a Ryder Cup team is selected. But here's what we do know: when a player is 12th on the points list in the final week of automatic qualifying and goes on to shoot an 80 for the second week in a row, that doesn't help his chances. So it is with Fowler, who has quietly regressed since his breakthrough win at Quail Hollow in May. A combined 39-over par in his last five tournaments and missing the cut this week, Fowler has to play well enough in his next two outings to convince U.S. captain Davis Love III to tab him with a wildcard pick. At this point, even he doesn't like his chances.

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Birdie: Vijay Singh

Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised to see the former world No. 1 back in contention, especially considering the two-time PGA champ's last major win was on another Pete Dye course -- Whistling Straits -- in 2004. But that would be overlooking these trying last few years for Singh. He hasn't won a tournament in four years, and last year, he fell out of the top 100 in the world ranking for the first time since 1989. But after some encouraging results the last few weeks and an extended scouting mission to Kiawah before the PGA, Singh pieced together what may have been the most impressive round of the day, a 69 in fierce wind that gave him a chance to become, at 49, the oldest major champion in history.

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Birdie: The Ocean Course

A day earlier, players were happy to take what they could get while the breeze laid low. But with some overnight rain came much stronger winds -- from a different direction than the players were used to -- bringing what was a projected cut of around even par all the way to six over. As Friday proved to be the highest single scoring day in PGA Championship history, many fell victim to the Ocean Course's biggest obstacle. With a great balance of risk vs. reward, coastline beauty, and an ability to separate and define the best players in the world, Kiawah is proving itself to be very major worthy.

Photo By: David Cannon/Getty Images

Bogey: PGA logistics

True, it's hard to conjure up much sympathy for the poor members of the media who get to come to work at one of the world's most beautiful spots and watch the best golfers in the world. Fine. Point conceded. But even by whiney-members-of-the-media standards, this PGA has been a challenge. While most players and officials have secured plush rental houses on Kiawah Island, the PGA of America allocated hotels in Charleston for the press. That has meant shuttle bus rides of more than two and a half hours for some, prompting our own Dan Jenkins to tweet: "The 30,000 people here aren't at a golf tournament. They're starring in a movie called 'Dude, Where's my Shuttle Bus?'"

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Bogey: Doug Wade

What's there to celebrate about a day that takes 93 strokes, or two rounds 32 strokes over par? Not much if you make your living playing tournaments like these. But when you're Doug Wade, a club pro from Ohio who handled the humiliation of his Kiawah experience with grace and self-deprecating humor, you can still win over some fans. Wade's Friday ordeal was a shot better than the all-time highest score in a PGA. What was his favorite part of the day, he was asked? "Finishing," he said with a smile.

Photo By: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Birdie: Phil Mickelson

With the Ocean Course toughening considerably on a blustery Friday morning, Lefty maneuvered through the wind for a one-under 71, moving up 42 spots in the process. Imagine if he could drive the ball in the fairway -- Mickelson's first two rounds both consisted of 11 one-putts and a combined 15 for 21 on par saves from off the green. In what has been a dismal summer, Mickelson has been relying heavily on his brilliant short game at Kiawah; reminding us why he can remain a strong contender if these windy conditions continue.

Photo By: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Bogey: Matt Kuchar

With his consistent style of play, Matt Kuchar was a popular sleeper pick to win the 2012 PGA Championship. After a 10-over 82 on Friday, he'll be spending the weekend sleeping in. Kuchar came into the PGA following a strong T-8 at the Bridgestone Invitational, but after an even par 72 to start, Kooch imploded on Friday to miss the cut. He wasn't the only player to shoot in the 80s on this windy day, but Kuchar hasn't missed a cut all season and is on the short list of "best players to never win a major," so his early exit still comes as a surprise. Count U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III among those hoping this week for Kuchar was an aberration.

Photo By: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Birdie: Adam Scott

Scott's early 75 seemed like a high number, but as the day unfolded, his one-under overall proved to be pretty good. Thanks to the windy conditions, Scott was able to climb the leader board from the comfort of the clubhouse, though the wind did affect more than Scott's score on Friday -- his tee shot on the 16th hole struck a fan in the head. It was a serious enough blow to draw blood, and Scott stayed with the woman, Jean Otter, while medics tended to her. Scott, who made a bogey six on the hole, gave Otter a signed glove and promised to send flowers. That alone is worthy of a birdie, but being in position for a British Open redemption is a story we'll be following through the weekend.

Photo By: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

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