Rory McIlroy had a disappointing major in Tulsa, but time is on his side. Just ask Ray Floyd.

It’s a glib Hallmark sentiment to note that 155 men departed the 104th PGA Championship disappointed and only one didn’t. A handful of the 20 club professionals competing surely had no real expectation of making the cut and were happy to make folks proud at the club back home. Same for a few ex-champions content to enjoy a 36-hole stroll down memory lane. Disappointment is a burden particular to those with expectations, and within that there are tiers.

Dispirited. Dejected. Despondent. Distressed. Whatever box a player checks isn’t necessarily related to his departure time. A man who packs up Friday evening might be deflated, but he’s hardly feeling worse than one who gets into contention and comes up painfully short.

Continue reading “Rory McIlroy had a disappointing major in Tulsa, but time is on his side. Just ask Ray Floyd.”

In Tulsa, Tiger Woods moves toward an uncertain future one pained step at a time

Sporting legends are often condemned to a middle age in which they’re judged against the macro numbers posted during the flush of youth. For Tiger Woods, those past accomplishments cast a lengthy shadow—15 major championship victories, 82 PGA Tour wins, 11 player of the year awards, to cite but a few. Micro numbers matter in as much as he still signs his name below one on a scorecard. Saturday’s micro-moment at the PGA Championship was disheartening if measured against the Woods who won the Tour’s Vardon Award for best scoring average nine times, yet still heartening in the context of Woods today.

A 79 left Woods in a tie for 76th place at Southern Hills, occupying the bottom rung of a leaderboard that he has been atop when it mattered four times. There are ample statistics that explain how he came to be there—dead last in strokes gained tee to green, dead last in strokes gained around the green, making five consecutive bogeys for the first time in his majors career—but there are no metrics for how he came to be here competing at all.

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He looks like a typical millennial, but Justin Thomas is the most old school player in golf

In some respects, Justin Thomas is just what you’d expect to get if you asked central casting to send over a millennial golfer—joggers and hoodies, niblick-thin physique, social media playfulness, an easy swagger that is the privilege of youth. Yet a case can be made that Thomas is the most old school player on the PGA Tour, and Friday at the PGA Championship should be entered into the book of evidence.

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Phil Mickelson, Greg Norman getting a cool reception at the major they’re not attending.

Thirteen years after he last competed in one, major championships are still proving a reliable source of disappointment for Greg Norman. At last month’s Masters, Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley clearly signaled his support for golf’s existing world order, thereby tacitly rejecting Norman’s Saudi-funded effort to carve off the top of the professional game. On Tuesday at the PGA Championship, the Great White Pilot Fish was served even less nourishment.

Continue reading “Phil Mickelson, Greg Norman getting a cool reception at the major they’re not attending.”