Thoughts on the 2014 PGA Championship

Rory McIlroy is My Favourite Golfer of All Time

Rory has no shortage of fans these days, what with being the most talented on player on earth as well as one of the most personable. What really won me over on Sunday was not his remarkable play, but the sight of him standing up on every hole with his arms crossed waiting impatiently for the group in front of him to get on with things. Slow play is slowly killing golf and part of the problem is amateurs mimicking the deliberate, plodding style of golfers they watch on TV. One of the greatest things I have ever seen in golf was Rory ready to tee off right over the heads of Phil Mickelson and Ricky Fowler. Had the rules officials allowed it, he would have played right through them. Most other golfers would have come back the following day to finish the hole, but with a major on the line Rory was still willing to blast a driver off the tee with water all along the fairway just to get the round over with. Here’s hoping that more amateurs try to follow his example.

Phil Mickelson is the Classiest Liar in all of Sports

Phil was royally pissed off that Rory and that that Austrian guy played up with him on the 18th hole. He was clearly taken aback not just that he was asked to let them play up, but the way in which it played out with the officials only asking about it after he had started walking up the fairway and then then creating confusion over when Rory would hit his second shot. He was clearly thinking that the PGA officials had made a complete mess of the situation and threw him out of rhythm, perhaps costing him a chance to make a spectacular approach shot and give himself a try for eagle. After the round though he went out of his way to offer praise to McIlroy and make clear that the confusion on the 18th hole did not affect the outcome. It was a classy move by Phil even though he didn’t really believe a word of it.

The Tiger Woods Era is Over

This is not to say that Tiger Woods will never win another major. He probably will. He may even have a chance at catching him, but the days of him being a dominant figure on and off the course is no more. Regardless of his health or the status of his swing changes, he is no longer the same fearless player he once was. While Tiger is trying to massage three woods and long irons around trouble on the fairways, Rory is grabbing his driver and blasting away, even if he is clinging to a lead in a major in the dark with water all along the fairway. That has been clear for some time now, but what really changed this past weekend is we had the first truly compelling major championship that didn’t involve Tiger since 1996. Ratings were up sharply even though Tiger didn’t set foot on the course on the weekend. For years people made dire predictions of what would happen to golf ratings if Tiger was no longer around. Sunday showed that that Rory can keep people interested in golf for many years to come.

Brandel Chamblee’s Self Admiration is Approaching Johnny Miller Levels

As Brandel Chamblee’s profile has risen over the past few years, his self-admiration has increased right along with it. The 1-time PGA tour winner seems to have an opinion on how all of the world’s best golfers can improve their swings. Earlier this year he devoted some time to criticizing Martin Kaymer for changing his swing, right before he went on to win the Players Championship and then obliterate the field in the US Open. At the time he used the example of Jim Furyk, who has won one major, as an example of a successful player who has never changed his swing. For those keeping score at home, Kaymer has two majors, and is not yet 30 years old.

Not content with picking apart Martin Kaymer, Chamblee informed the world that Tiger’s current problems are all due to swing changes that results in too much forward shaft lean. Never mind that Tiger won 5 tournaments last year or that he recently had back surgery, or that he had made major swing changes three times in the past. Chamblee seemed downright giddy debating Nobilo when he proclaimed that he would “bet everything on this set and everything you own” that he is right. He seems determined to make sure that viewers understand that he is the smartest person on the set. This can actually backfire on him, as it did after the final round on Sunday when Frank Nobilo suggested that the PGA should have started the round earlier in the day given that there was rain in the forecast. Chamblee, who is clearly loath to concede any good points to Nobilo, started talking as if Nobilo had said that they didn’t come back quickly enough from the rain delay. When Notah Begay pointed out that Nobilo was not talking about the delay, but simply starting earlier, Chamblee refused to acknowledge his mistake and simply moved on.