PGA Championship 2012: Top Golfers Who Are Already out of Contention
The opening round of the PGA Championship got off to its usual rousing start on Thursday. Rory McIlroy looked near perfect, Tiger is lurking just three strokes off the lead, several lesser known golfers are in the top twenty and, most surprisingly of all, John Daly posted a score of 4-under par to earn him a tie for fourth place.
As happens in every major, several of the top golfers in the world, some who were among the very favorites to win at Kiawah, turned in uncharacteristically terrible performances on Thursday and are in danger of missing the cut. These golfers found themselves bogeying and even double-bogeying far too often, and nearly all had a terrible time on the difficult third hole.
Here is a look at six of the best golfers in the world, each who played so poorly on Thursday that they have virtually no shot of contending for the title at the PGA Championship, and instead will have to play outstanding golf in the second round just to make the cut and survive to play on Saturday.
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Two holes into the opening round, things were looking good for Martin Kaymer, ranked 21st in the world. He earned par on the opening hole, and then birdied the second hole. Through two, he was tied with one playing partner, defending champion Keegan Bradley, and a stroke behind his other partner, Tiger Woods.
Then things took a turn for the disastrous on the third hole with a triple bogey, and then Kaymer followed it up with another bogey on the fourth. Standing plus three through four, Kaymer was able to play par golf for the rest of the front nine.
The back nine saw Kaymer's troubles begin again. He bogeyed hole 10 with a three-putt, and then bogeyed again on 11. He then racked up three more bogeys on the remaining holes before finally stopping the bleeding a bit with an 18th hole birdie.
Kaymer ended the day with a score of seven-over par to finish near the bottom of the leaderboard, leaving him in need of a brilliant second round in order to avoid missing the cut at his second straight major.
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If Alvaro Quiros had known he would finish the opening round of the PGA Championship with three birdies, he likely would have welcomed the news. Of course, he wouldn't have been so happy to know that he would also turn in five bogeys and a double bogey, leaving him four-over par for the day.
Quiros has played well enough on the European Tour over the past few years to earn him the No. 48 ranking in the world, but he has looked downright terrible at the majors lately. In his fifteen career major appearances, he has missed the cut 11 times, including five missed cuts in a row.
Unless he turns things around with a strong second round on Friday, Quiros is looking at a sixth missed cut in a row. He is clearly a talented golfer capable of winning at the highest level on the European Tour, and his poor performance in majors is puzzling.
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Webb Simpson's decision to skip the British Open due to his wife's impending birth was absolutely the right move for his family, but it doesn't appear to have helped his golf game much.
Simpson looked downright awful on Thursday. He was up and down, only making par on six holes. After bogeying the first hole and getting par on the second, Simpson hit a double bogey on three, and then bogeyed holes five through seven.
Simpson had a few nice moments, making three birdies in the round. Without these, his round would have tied for the fifth worst round of any participant in the PGA Championship.
Simpson likely just needed to get the kinks out after a well-deserved break, and he was already looking better by the final five holes, in which he made one birdie and one bogey.
Unfortunately, it's too late for Simpson to get back in the hunt at the PGA, and he'll have to wait until next year's Masters to build on his U.S. Open title.
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Along with Luke Donald, Lee Westwood has reached the top of the dubious list of "Best Golfer Without a Major." As each major arrives, Westwood is touted as a possible winner.
This year's PGA was no exception, with handicappers giving Westwood 15 to 1 odds of winning, tied with Luke Donald as second only to Tiger Woods.
After his poor first round that left him nine strokes behind the leader (Carl Pettersson), Westwood will have to start counting the days until the 2013 Masters tournament.
Like several of his colleagues on this list, Westwood's troubles begin on the third hole, which he bogeyed. He finished out the front nine with three more bogeys for a score of four-over par.
He turned things around on the back nine, posting two birdies and only one bogey, but the damage had been done and Westwood found himself well out of contention.
It looks like the winner of this year's PGA will post a score well into the double-digit negatives, and Westwood is almost certainly out of it at three-over par through one round. Still, if anyone on this list could possibly make a comeback, it's Westwood.
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After his brilliant play at the British Open earned him a tie for third place at the tournament, Brandt Snedeker, the No. 25 ranked golfer in the world, had to have high hopes heading into the PGA Championship.
Those hopes were dashed with his disappointing first round performance, which earned him a 5-over par score for the day.
Snedeker is off to an equally horrible start on Friday, bogeying his first two holes and double bogeying his third. Through five holes, he sits at eight-over par and is tied for 145th out of 156 golfers.
Snedeker would have to play the best back nine of his career just to make the cut at Kiawah.
Count him out.
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The never ending drama of Sergio Garcia at the majors continues. Just when he looked like he was starting to put things together again, Garcia missed the cut at the British Open and seems poised to do the same at the PGA Championship.
Garcia posted five bogeys and a birdie in the opening round, good enough for a four-over par, ten strokes behind leader Carl Pettersson. He is looking better in his second round, and through seven holes is one over on the day. But after his first round performance, playing par golf will not be enough for him to make the cut.
Garcia has little to no chance at this point of making the cut, barring an unexpectedly brilliant performance on the final nine of the day.