On Tap this Week: 8/8/13

Tournament: PGA Championship
Location: Oak Hill Country Club, Pittsford, NY
Dates: 8/8/13 – 8/11/13

As we steamroll towards the end of the summer, the PGA Tour is along for the ride. That means that we are about out of major championships to play this year. The PGA Championship will round out the major schedule for the year. And it is not without intrigue. Let’s take a look at the top storylines for “Glory’s Last Shot.”

Which Tiger Woods will show up?

The number one player in the world has looked flat out dominant this year, especially last week at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational when he lapped the field. By winning five times this year, Tiger has put together solid CAREER numbers for most guys on the PGA Tour. And it would be hard to call this year a failure by any stretch, but we all know that Tiger wants to catch Jack Nicklaus at 18 major championships. The way he is playing, it’s hard to imagine him letting another year slip by in that quest.

But for as dominant as he’s been, he’s been equally befuddling in major championships this year, especially on the weekends. For whatever reason, Tiger has appeared tight with a major on the line this year. Remember, this is the best closer in the history of the game. Along with death and taxes, you could count on Tiger Woods to win a major tournament when leading on the weekend. Well folks, those days are gone. In a bizarre twist to his career, Tiger has become the exact opposite of that guy. He was right there during the Master’s and more recently, last month’s Open Championship. While others (Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson) sank the putts to win, Tiger did not.

Putts is the key word there. In another bizarro world scenario, Tiger is not hitting the putts he used to make. The testy comebackers, the mid-range eagle dagger, the par saves from 10 feet. They aren’t falling. We’ve even seen Tiger three putt on occasion, which is baffling for the greatest lag putter ever.

And while this may not be the most prestigious major championship, it still counts for Tiger. A win this week would put Tiger right on track to catch Jack. Another disappointment on Sunday and we will see Tiger spiral into a dimension of pissed off not usually seen on the PGA Tour.

The only question is, which Tiger will show up?

Can Phil Mickelson continue his major momentum?

Last month at the British Open, Phil Mickelson had a major breakthrough and won the tournament he thought he couldn’t. And in an interesting twist, he went out and took it from everyone else, firing a final round 66. This version of Phil is different from the Mickelson we saw at the US Open in June when he finished second, once again in disappointing fashion.  

This time he was the closer that Tiger hasn’t been. It’s a complete role reversal from the early 2000s.

Can it continue this week? It’s possible. Phil has been successful at the PGA before and with the roll he’s on, I could see him raising another trophy Sunday afternoon.

Where has happened to Rory?

Last year’s PGA Championship served as the coronation for the new king of golf. Sunday afternoon at Kiawah Island was a victory lap for Rory and it seemed he was on the same career trajectory as a young Tiger Woods.

What a differnce a year makes.

Rory has fallen off the face of the Earth this year. So much so that he is thinking of seeing a shrink. It’s that bad.

So what do we make of Rory? I have no idea. He has all the ability in the world. If he gets his head screwed on right, he is definitely capable of running away with another PGA Championship.

Will it happen this year? Probably not. But I would expect to at least see him on the weekend.

I want winners!

The PGA Championship has a long history of randomness. Rich Beem, Shaun Micheel, YE Yang!?! Where did those guys come from?

But recently, the PGA has been the site of major breakthroughs for guys like Keegan Bradley and Rory McIlroy.

So I am going to stick with recent history in picking my winner. I am going with Jason Day.

Day is a guy that always seems to be hanging around at majors and is certainly capable of making a major statement this week.

On Tap Recommendation: As summer winds down, I will be sipping on my favorite summer beer, Brooklyn Summer Lager If you can find some, do yourself a favor and get a case. This stuff is great and summer is almost over, people. Cheers everyone!