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Aug 08

The PGA 2013

Majors Majors Everywhere – Time for the PGA

If one is a fan of only one of the professional golf tours, the high points of the year come a few months apart – that makes them high points, among other things. If one is an avid follower of both the PGA and LPGA, the golfing year gets a little busier, and the spectator has to prepare him or herself for eight or nine of the big ones. Now, if one is a super-fan, and follows the Champions Tour, add a few more, and as the Women’s Senior Tour develops, there are even more. In the end, it’s possible to put up to seventeen peak events on the calendar, and for even the most faithful fan, that’s a big job.

That’s no problem for a golf lover. Bring on as many tournaments as you want, we’ll watch them. We’ll love every one of them. No, it’s not the golf, it’s the recovery. The players aren’t the only ones riding the roller coaster. Ours might be a kiddy ride by comparison, but we ride it.

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I made it through a terrific British Open, and the following Women’s British Open held up its end of the bargain. Suddenly, I wake up to find the PGA starting, and it feels as though a few weeks have been lost. Not only that, but the course, Oak Hill, and its facilities are so elegant that I wonder if we ever truly left Scotland.

pga 1This little masterpiece that spent most of the first round getting wet, was established in 1901, was spread out along the Genesee River, covered 85 acres (and nine holes) and was lit by kerosene. Democracy prevailed when the members bought the club in 1910 for the grand sum of $34,000. As part of the University of Rochester’s “river campus,” the course was reestablished in Pittsford, and after at least 75,000 immature oaks were planted, they lost count – the number was certainly high enough, however, to name it Oak Hill. Since that time, the course has seen it all, every great player, and one epic battle or collapse after another. It’s been a long time since the initiation fee was $25, and the annual dues were $20. Today, I’d pay it without hesitation.

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Here we are, then, in 2013, waiting for Rory McIlroy to spring back, waiting for Tiger Woods to slough off his majors slump, and waiting to see if Phil Mickelson can continue riding the wave. Rory and Tiger must have completely different takes on the first day, although neither is far off from the other.

pga 2Rory seemed to be fairly happy about his start, coming in at minus 1, a score that could have been better, if not for a little extra water along the way. The news is that the 24-year old has opted out of the therapy world, and is instead putting in extra time on the range – makes sense.

Tiger, on the other hand, probably is undoubtedly displeased, particularly after destroying the field one week ago. His liking for majors is even more ardent than most of his colleagues, and he doesn’t like to start so far back, considering his poor record for rallies.

pga 3 Jim Furyk, incidentally is leading with Adam Scott – we haven’t seen Furyk at his best in a little while, but Scott has won a major this year. Perhaps Tiger doesn’t want to start 6 back to a person who won one of his coveted titles.

As an added thought, David Hearn is only one back, and except for bogeys at the beginning and end, could have been the leader. A few weeks ago, we might have said, “David who?” But, he’s been playing well and hanging around the top a lot, and that response is fading. It could be his week.

Well, all right then – I love golf in almost limitless quantities, so if it’s to be 17 majors, so be it. Bring on day number 2.

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About the author

G.F. Skipworth

has spent every available moment playing golf or studying the greats since the 60s, in between world tours as a classical musician, Harvard studies in Government or as the author of a dozen novels. Nicklaus and Snead may be the statistical greats, but Skipworth is a life-long devotee of Gary Player, and considers meeting the South African at the Jeld-Wen to be an unforgettable milestone. His driving passion in golf these days is to raise viewer interest in the LPGA.