PGA Championship 2012: Breaking Down the Weekend's Biggest Storylines
The 2012 PGA Championship is underway, as the world's top golfers have gathered on the South Carolina coast to compete in this year's last major tournament.
There have been any number of compelling storylines that have emerged from the tournament's first two days and here's a look at a few of the "major" (to pardon the pun) ones, including a familiar face perched atop the leaderboard.
Tiger's on the Prowl
Much of the 2012 PGA season has been spent by sportswriters hinging on every round of golf that Tiger Woods plays in every tournament he enters.
If Woods fires a three-under, then the internet is deluged with pronouncements that Tiger Woods is "back." If he then fires off a 75, many of those same writers suddenly develop amnesia and break out the shovels.
The fact of the matter, as it usually does, probably falls somewhere in between. It's entirely possible that we'll never see the Tiger Woods that ravaged golf courses and dominated the opposition like no other golfer in history again.
However, that doesn't mean that the "newer," older Tiger Woods can't still match (or exceed) Jack Nicklaus' record for wins in major tournaments, and after following up Thursday's three-under 69 with another solid round on Friday, Woods is squarely in the hunt headed into the weekend.
Granted, that has been the case in several tournaments this year where Woods has then faltered over the weekend, but you can rest assured that nothing would make the folks from the PGA happier than seeing Woods tee off on Sunday in red with a legitimate shot at winning the tournament.
I have a confession to make. When I first glanced at Friday's leaderboard, I first had to rub my eyes, then check it again, then double-check the date on my computer, as for a moment there, I thought I'd traveled back in time.
Ladies and gentlemen, Vijay Singh is in contention at a major championship.
The 49-year-old Fijian, who won the last of his three majors at the 2004 PGA Championship, hasn't been much of a factor at majors in recent years. However, that hasn't been the case so far at Kiawah Island's Ocean Course, as Singh followed up a solid one-under 71 on Thursday with a blistering three-under 69 in far from ideal conditions that has him firmly in the chase headed into the weekend.
Singh's round is all the more remarkable given that he hasn't won on the PGA Tour since 2008 and that the average score for golfers that teed off Friday morning was almost 78, according to Bob Harig of ESPN, and in fact Singh told Harig that, were it to him, he'd rather take a rain check than play in the blustery conditions at Kiawah.
If you had a golf course like this and you asked me to go and play golf in windy conditions, I'd say no, I'm not going to play. I guess nobody is going to go out and play in conditions like this. But it is a major, and we have to go out there and just struggle and manage yourself the best you can, I guess.
The Ocean Course Bares its Teeth
Much of the discussion leading up to the 2012 PGA Championship centered around the selection of the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort as the venue for the tournament.
The Ocean Course is a Pete Dye-designed monstrosity that, according to Golf Digest magazine via ESPN, has the highest combination of slope and course ratings of any golf course in America.
The Ocean Course was nicknamed "Looney Dunes" after it chewed up several golfers and spit them out during the 1991 Ryder Cup, including an infamous meltdown by Mark Calcavecchia on the equally infamous 17th hole that left Calcavecchia "crying almost hysterically," according to an interview that Roger Maltbie gave to Golf Digest.
However, ideal weather conditions on Thursday led to a number of low scores and some called into question whether perhaps the 2012 PGA Championship might feature a kinder, gentler Kiawah.
I think the golf course heard them, and it was not pleased.
On Friday, the winds picked up, the Ocean Course showed its true colors and scores started skyrocketing. Adam Scott, who fired a four-under 68 on Thursday, followed that up with a 75. Gonzalo Fdez-Castano of Spain, who shot a five-under 67 in the first round, came crashing back to earth with a second-round 78.
The weather isn't expected to be any more cooperative over the weekend than it was on Friday, and as the winds howl and the pin placements become progressively trickier, it's entirely possible that by the conclusion of the PGA Championship on Sunday, Kiawah Island will have made at least one more professional golfer cry.
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