Those Are Called “Sandy Areas”
Well, I sat down to watch on Turbo fast-forward DVR replay the first round of the PGA Championship yesterday evening, but not before first doing the same for the U.S. women’s gold medal soccer match at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
You girls made us proud, but my hat also goes off to the team from Japan. Even though the U.S. won 2-1, the Japan team never gave up and played their hearts out to the bitter end. Great soccer match all the way around.
Now, back to the Ocean course at Kiawah Island.
First, remember there are no “bunkers” this week filled with sand on the Ocean Course. Instead, the PGA explains they are “sandy areas” being played “through the green.” Oh heavens, how confusing.
They’re not bunkers. But, they’re filled with sand. However, they’re “through the green” (whatever that means!), so unlike ANY other sandy area, or bunker, on the golf course, in these, you’re not in a hazard, and therefore you can remove impediments, ground your club when taking a practice swing, and even when addressing the ball.
So, in other words, everything you ever learned about the rules of golf over the past forty years, just give yourself a homebrewed lobotomy and throw all that out the window this week at the PGA Championship, and go have yourself a field day mucking it up in the “sandy areas,” you won’t be needing any rules officials in the bunkers…err, sandy areas.
And Phil “The Thrill” Mickelson found plenty of those sandy areas. In fact, I was wondering why Phil didn’t just drop an umbrella and a few Coronas and throw a “sandy area” celebration party, he ended up in them so much yesterday.
But despite his all-over-the-course play, he still ended up only 1 over.
Other mentionables: Rory McIlroy, back to form and 5 under, one back from first round leader Carl Pettersson (in at 6 under).
Dutch golfer Joost Luiten, who gave up ski jumping for golf while a wee lad, came roaring into South Carolina on his way to a possible 62 (no one’s ever scored a 62 in a major). But after going 8 under after 14 holes, he went on a bogey fest (sound familiar, Mr. Scott?) and had to settle for 4 under for the round.
Another big surprise was John Daly, who arrived in at 4 under and is in the hunt. Go Big John!!
As for the course, it was giving away some scores yesterday, as the wind wasn’t blowing much. I’m thinking that won’t hold through the entire tournament, and the pin placements will inevitably get more challenging through the weekend.
As for Mickelson’s Ryder Cup bid, RC captain Davis Love III played in Mickelson’s group of ex PGA Champs yesterday, so whether or not he makes him a captain’s pick for Medinah really depends on your perception of Mickelson’s performance (and to be fair, yesterday was only one day).
Despite driving the ball all over the place, and hitting some rare bad chips, an argument could be made that Mickelson was pulling himself out of some pretty bad situations, and mostly making lemonade out of his lemons.
On the other hand, one could say, why end up in all those bad situations to start with???
As of last week, Mickelson was sitting on the last spot, #8, before Love starts making captain’s picks.
So, I did a little investigating to see what decides the Ryder Cup picks for the U.S. team specifically, and here’s what I found:
- Prize money earned in the 2011 major championships (Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship): One point is awarded for every $1,000 earned; all U.S. players making the cut will earn points.
- Prize money earned in 2012 “Official” events from Jan. 1 through Aug. 12: One point is awarded for every $1,000 earned, excluding the major championships, events played opposite major championships and events played opposite World Golf Championships; all U.S. players making the cut will earn points.
- Prize money earned for the 2012 major championships: (Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, and the PGA Championship). Two points are awarded for every $1,000 earned; all U.S. players making the cut will earn points.
- Prize money earned in 2012 events played opposite the major championships and opposite World Golf Championship events between Jan. 1 and the PGA Championship, Aug. 12 – one-half point will be awarded for every $1,000 earned; all U.S. players making the cut will earn points.
Here’s the last cut at the top 8:
- Tiger Woods
- Jason Dufner
- Bubba Watson
- Keegan Bradley
- Webb Simpson
- Zach Johnson
- Matt Kuchar
- Phil Mickelson
Hunter Mahan and Steve Stricker are right on Mickelson’s heels, so Phil needs to step it up a notch in Friday’s round!
But, looking at that list, and assuming Simpson loses his post-having-a-baby cobwebs after winning the U.S. Open…well, that’s certainly the start of a Ryder Cup team that I could live with!