Some Observations from the PGA Championship:
Tiger Woods has been very good in the opening two rounds of the majors this year. Of course he held the lead at the halfway point of the U.S. Open and was in the fray at the British Open a month later. But the weekends haven't been so hot. In fact, Woods has yet to break par in a Saturday or Sunday round at a major. Will that change at Kiawah?
Woods is putting remarkably well. He has a stunning 23 one-putts in two days, at least statistically speaking. He took just 22 putts on Thursday and 26 on Friday.
There are lots of folks discounting Carl Pettersson's chances of winning his first major, but I think he'll be around come the weekend. In April, he won the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head on a course designed by Pete Dye, the same architect as the Ocean Course. More important is that Pettersson is a guy who can work the ball both ways with ease, something that's needed to battle the cross winds that are rolling over Kiawah Island.
Pettersson made an interesting point about those looking to ban long putters. He said in the wind they could be more difficult to use as the breezes buffet them even more. "I know the short putter blows around," said King Carl, "but it's almost double, the wind hits it twice as much I think."
By the way, there's no way that Pettersson can make the European Ryder Cup team. He's not a member of the European Tour.
How good was Vijay Singh's round on Friday? He was the only guy in the field to break 70. By the way, that's something he did for all four rounds of the RBC Canadian Open where he posted a top-10 finish. The guy is 49 and would be the oldest major champion in history, but probably also one of the fittest. Singh was the only guy hitting balls on the range on Thursday evening when the winds were blowing and he was on the range and the putting green for a long time after his Friday round. No surprise there.
Poor Michael Hoey. He posted one of just five under-par rounds on Friday but was later disqualified. During his round, Hoey lifted his ball to identify it but when he replaced it, he failed to recreate the lie. The result was a two-shot penalty and he was punted for signing an incorrect scorecard.
Phil Mickelson was another guy under par on Friday. How'd he manage that? With his putter. Lefty has taken just 25 putts in each of the first two rounds. If he can shore up the rest of his game (he's hit 13 fairways and 15 greens), he could be a threat.
The scoring average for Friday's round was 78.11, which was a record high, not surprisingly. The previous record was 76.8. The fact that there were two rounds in the 90s by a couple of club professionals boosted that mark.
Say what you want about Doug Wade, the club professional who shot 93 yesterday, but I'm betting that most 5-handicappers wouldn't have broken 105 at the Ocean Course Friday.
Seen on the chipping green late last night: Ernie Els testing out a gaggle of new wedges. Apparently the British Open champion wasn't happy with how he was chipping. We'll see how his short game works Saturday.
Interesting note: there are only two Americans in the top 10 after 36 holes: Woods and Blake Adams.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Rory McIlroy make a move on Saturday. He looks very confident with his game and seems to be hitting it as he did earlier in the year when he won at Honda.
Another guy I like under these conditions is Graeme McDowell, who loves tough courses.