PGA Championship - A Quick 6

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 9, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 PGA ChampionshipWith PGA Championship Week in full swing we asked The Golf Channel's Mark Lye and Frank Nobilo to take time away from their Sprint Post Game duties to answer a few questions on the field and the course.
1. Does Baltusrol GC set up better for defending champion Vijay Singh or World No. 1 Tiger Woods?
Frank Nobilo:
Baltusrol GC favours neither one of the top two players in the word and will provide a very level playing ground for Vijay to defend his PGA Championships or Tiger to perhaps surpass his year of 2000.
Mark Lye:
Im going to have to say Tiger. Vijay is a better driver of the ball day-in and day-out, but Tiger is really driving the ball well right now. Driving it straight will be very important this week.
2. What do you think of the course ending with back-to-back par-5s?
Jose Maria Olazabal and Sergio Garcia
Can Sergio Garcia finally take his place among Spain's major championship winners?
Frank Nobilo:
I have never been a great fan of Major Championships finishing with a par-5 let alone back to back par 5s always having preferred a tough par-4 as a finishing hole. That being said if it were to come down to a finish between the two premium power players of the day in Woods and Singh that might be the ultimate test for the two in testing there ability to finish 4-4.
Mark Lye:
I played in the U.S. Open (at Baltusrol) in 1980, and its so hard to get anything going when you dont have par-5s until the last two holes. Its just a bad sequence.
3. Who has the best chance to win their first major championship this week?
Frank Nobilo:
Sergio Garcia is still the best player not too and best likely to win his first Major championship. Will the Golfing Gods agree though?
Mark Lye:
Tim Clark. I just think this guys got a lot of guts, drives it straight. Hes an excellent iron player. And hes about due (to win a big event).
4. Phil Mickelson has made special effort to prepare for each major this year without reaping positive results. Can a player over prepare for a major?
Frank Nobilo:
I believe you can over prepare for a major. If you factor in for everything that might go wrong, 'If I hit it here or here' you sometimes forget the beauty of the rawness of hitting a collection of great shots.
Playing with a mind innocent of doubt is more important.
Mark Lye:
Yeah, I do. Either you have the game for a certain course or you dont. I dont think Phil Mickelson is malleable. I dont think Phil can adapt his game to a golf course. And nothing against Phil, because I think Tiger can be that way, like on a course like Hilton Head. He just doesnt play those events.
5. How does the PGA Championship rank among the four majors?
Frank Nobilo:
The PGA Championship over the last ten years has had more top 100 players in it than any other major. So that makes it the strongest field. It might not be as Romantic as a Masters or an Open Championship but you are beating the best the game has to offer.
Mark Lye:
I would rank the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship about the same. Personally, I think its the Masters (No. 1) and then the British Open. The PGA and U.S. Open are tied third.
6. What is your most memorable PGA Championship moment?
Frank Nobilo:
One of the first PGA Championships I ever played was 1992 at Bellerive. I made one of the longest putts in my career. But at first the ball hung on the lip and it finally fell in when I got within a couple of feet. So all in all it must have stayed above ground for about 15 seconds which was legal because I hadn't got to the hole. The roar was crazy.
Mark Lye:
When I got in as an alternate in 1991 and didnt go, and they gave that spot to John Daly. Wednesday morning of the tournament, I got a phone call telling me I was in and I said I didnt have time to prepare and get my game in proper shape. I asked who was next on the list and they said Brad Bryant. I said, He wont go; hes got a wedding to attend. I asked who was next and they said John Daly. I said, Give it to him; hell go. And then he won.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - 87th PGA Champoinship
  • Daily Photo Gallery
  • PGA Championship Trivia Challenge
  • Getty Images

    Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

    New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

    The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

    "Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

    It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

    Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

    Getty Images

    Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

    SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

    Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

    He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

    Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

    Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.

    The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

    ''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

    Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

    Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

    Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

    ''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

    Getty Images

    13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

    Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

    Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

    “An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”

    Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

    Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

    Getty Images

    McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

    It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

    Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

    Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    “I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

    Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

    “Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

    This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.