Thursday, August 17, 2006

One Down, Three To Go

So what to make of the PGA Championship after 18 holes?
Lucas Glover and Chris Riley are tied for the lead, Billy Andrade who was at the movies on Tuesday when he found out he'd gotten in as an alternate is one back and Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have another date on Friday.
If there's a surprise, it's how easy Medinah was on Thursday. Sixty players broke par which, if that happened in the U.S. Open, could lead to the end of golf as we know it.
In addition to having soft greens, Medinah's length is diminished because much of it comes on the par-3s, which play downhill and then some. That's one reason 50-year old Fred Funk can shoot 69 and be on the leaderboard but it doesn't explain Vijay Singh shooting a 73 that probably felt like 83.
It's just a guess but Riley isn't likely to stay near the front though he has twice finished in the top five in the PGA. He's a dad now and talks lovingly about how much he likes being with his two young children.
Riley, of course, will forever be remembered for begging off one match in the 2004 Ryder Cup because he was tired. That's what Riley said then and it branded him, fairly or not.
He was tired, he said Thursday, because his new baby was less than two weeks old and he'd slept about six hours in two weeks. It's understandable but Riley may never outlive his preference to stretch out in the recliner rather than go another 18 for his country.
If you're not totally familiar with Glover, he's a genuinely likeable guy from Greenville, S.C., who desperately wants to make the Ryder Cup team. Glover is blessed with the kind of natural atheltic ability you can't fake and a good finish this weekend may convince Tom Lehman to pick him even if he doesn't qualify.