There is no better watch in golf than an aggressive Rory McIlroy attacking a golf course.
Day one of the 2022 USPGA Championship was dominated by Mcilroy.
The set-up of the Southern Hills Country Club course encourages the use of the driver, something often missing from modern tournament golf these days around the world. I have mentioned it before but we must all remind ourselves that it is 7,556 yards in length and a Par 70.
Rory’s driving today was very special with 10 drives between 326 and 378 yards and at an average of 331.5 yards, mostly splitting every fairway in the middle stripe, whether a straight hole and even the dog-legs.
The Gil Hanse designed course still remains a test for approaches, around and on the greens, and Rory also putted well with a seven birdie haul.
Tiger Woods struggled to a 74, but watching playing partner Rory over-power a golf course from inside the ropes, can never be comfortable, even for Tiger, when Tiger’s game plan was to stay straight, often with his two-iron stinger, which was often not as straight as Rory’s driver, and he missed a few fairways with one of his favourite irons.
Regarding my players, Matt Fitzpatrick (Eng) was the best of my players with a two under 68 to be tied 7th.
Thomas Pieters (Belgium) also beat par with a 69 to be in good shape.
Everyone is talking about the weather forecast for today’s second round.
They are predicting gusts of over 40 km/h for the morning players and a threat of thunderstorms in the air.
In the afternoon there is talk of the winds dropping to 10 km/h.
Golf is arguably unique in sport that the conditions are not always the same for all the field.
Fitzpatrick, Henrik Stenson (+ 2), Brooks Koepka (+ 5) and Ian Poulter (+ 6) all look like being in the unlucky afternoon / morning tee time bracket.
It could be four shots, or even more, tougher for this tee time bracket as was the case earlier this year at The Players at TPC Sawgrass.
Finally, there has been some criticism of the bunker sand in the bunkers this week.
It seems it is a gritty crushed gravel mix, that is fairly inconsistent and spin is tough to achieve, so watch out for some players struggling from the bunkers.
But the counter argument is players should stay out of the hazards!
- Peter Cowen, 71, A Dubai Golden VISA Awardee, is recognised as one of the leading golf coaches in the world of golf. A former DP World Tour Professional he has his Peter Cowen Academies in Dubai, at Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club, Emirates Golf Club and Jumeirah Golf Estates. Peter lives in England and headquarters his Peter Cowen Academies in Rotherham.