Gary Williams - March 4, 2012


Morning Drive Co-Host Gary Williams is at PGA National this weekend as a part of Golf Channel’s coverage of The Honda Classic. Gary was on the 17th hole when play was called. There was lightning and heavy rain in the area but that has gone away. After talking to Executive Director Ken Kennerly, he learned that the rain delay was thought to last about an hour. The winds will continue to blow and the temperatures will drop for the final round.

The wind direction will switch completely on Sunday which will make the course – especially The Bear Trap – much more difficult. We have already seen some carnage this week but the increased winds combined with tougher final round pin placements could create much more carnage at The Bear Trap as well as other areas on the course.

Holes 10 and 11 played the most difficult on Saturday and an easy explanation for that is the fact that the wind direction for those holes is the opposite for The Bear Trap and with the switch in wind, holes 10 and 11 will play the way The Bear Trap has played over the first three days and vice versa.

The best moment from Saturday at The Bear Trap was when Rory McIlroy went through the 17th hole. There were large crowds who were loudly chanting his name and there was a great sense of excitement on the course when Rory was there. While Rory is a guy with big potential, he will not make people forget Tiger Woods. The fact is that no one will make people forget Tiger and people should not forget Tiger. There will never be another Tiger Woods and while Rory McIlroy is in the early part of his career, he could rise to a very high level.

In his second visit to Sunday’s edition of Morning Drive, Gary began by saying that the wind has already shifted completely and as he is standing near the 18th green, he can feel and see that the wind has reversed itself from the first three days. The temperatures have already dropped 10 degrees as well.

When Tiger played The Bear Trap on Saturday, it was similar to anytime that Tiger approaches a key stretch on holes in any event. There is always that special feeling of anticipation among the crowd and this week you can add to that the anticipation about when Tiger will win again. If Tiger can get to 6 under par entering The Bear Trap today, the atmosphere will be electric.

We have been focusing a lot on his putting stroke this week but another point of focus with Tiger is the trust that he has in his golf swing. He has hit a lot of great shots this week but with the high winds today it will interesting to see how Tiger reacts with his swing.

During the coverage of The Bear Trap on Saturday, Gary thought to himself how significant the angling of the holes are. Raymond Floyd, who was in the booth with Gary on Saturday, described the angling of the holes of The Bear Trap as awkward and that creates a lot of discomfort when you are trying to play those holes. That awkward angling will test the trust that Tiger has in his game.

When it comes to Rory McIlroy, he feels that Rory’s game is as strong as it has ever been but he is also curious to see how Rory handles playing in high winds. Rory has said how he does not like to play in windy conditions in the past and as someone who likes to hit the ball high in the air, he prefers PGA TOUR courses because he is able to play that way. It will be a big deal if Rory can play well today in the wind and win.