Long hitters poised to plunder soggy Bellerive at PGA Championship


The Holywood star has won two US PGA titles since 2012 and he knows that if he continues to put himself in contention as he has done all season, the door may finally open for him at Bellerive Country Club where "quintessential target golf" will be the order of the day.

"It's unbelievable how many people are out here on a Monday, it's insane", said golfer Jim Furyk, also the Ryder Cup captain.

Yes, while we soaked up the day, our underarms soaked. Justin Thomas' parents, Mike and Jani, walked the whole way, with Mike filming a swing or two on his cell phone, chucking balls into the rough to get a feel for the depth, etc. And if the course stays like this, they're gonna have a ton of birdies to cheer about.

But World No. 1 Dustin Johnson won't back down easily as he tries to maintain his position and cap off a great season.

I remember at Forest Oaks in Greensboro, we used to play the Greensboro Tournament there.

In the gallery, spectators dressed like golfers, tucked-in collared shirts and more pastels than an Easter brunch.

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It is a significant market, yes, but golf is a global game and the rest of the planet deserves the chance to see the world's best up close from time to time.

Instead of a long shot, I want to ask you about McIlroy.

He added: "Even though he's won 14 of these things, you still, if you haven't done it for a while, you still have to re-learn a few things, and I think he's going through that stage".

The big-hitting American has been getting better with every Major over the past year and the sight of his name challenging the top of the leaderboard will not be a surprise.

"I told Jimmy things I wanted from him a little bit differently and I wanted him to tell me things he maybe wanted from me differently and I told my dad things I wanted from him differently".

At the driving range, hundreds of spectators stood behind a white picket fence, while dozens more stood impatiently behind them. "It was family, then academics and then golf".

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"Not in a practice day, for sure", Holmes said after the round.

"It's great to win one and be classed as a major champion, but I want to do it multiple times in my career".

There were some families, including a father and a daughter devouring ice cream bars between holes. Because as good as he was off the tee at Firestone, he never could take advantage of it. Seventeen-year-old Jeremy Fox wore a white hat covered in Sharpie signatures.

"I've always been my own guy", Thomas said, "but I was perceived by the media as his buddy".

He has, for a player of his ability, an appalling record in foursomes, a true team format where two players take turns hitting alternate shots. And then with big, flat greens, lag putting is going to be key. "We're just not there yet". Yes, it has the strongest field of the four big ones but that doesn't really separate it as it is the bottom end of the field where the differences lie. Very, very rare to see a guy win a major the week after winning a regular Tour event. It's just something special. Justin Rose has been a stalwart. I liked where my ball striking was.

Reed isn't the only Masters champ who was there.

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The withering heat that greeted players for the PGA Championship this week, and left them soaked in sweat after Monday practice rounds, has given way to thunderstorms and torrential rains.