By T.J. Auclair, PGA.com Interactive Producer
Email your question or comment to T.J. at email@example.com.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to Glory's Last Shot, the season's final major, the 92nd PGA Championship here at the breathtaking Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wis.
Last year's live, running blog from Hazeltine was so much fun I've decided to take one for the team and take the tough assignment yet again. You're welcome, guys.
If you're looking simply for scores and stats, then folks, this blog isn't for you. If, instead, you want you to sit back and relax from the comfort of your own home -- or, in most cases, your cubicle -- and let me take you to Whistling Straits to see the PGA Championship through my eyes, then you're in the right place.
Armed with an iPhone and a nifty little pedometer to track my steps along the abundant Whistling Straits acreage that winds its way around the shores of Lake Michigan, I will be reporting live from the course throughout the tournament to relay to you what it is that I'm seeing, hearing, thinking and feeling -- which will probably be sore as I trek through the hills and valleys of this Pete Dye masterpiece. Hopefully I won't fall down, which can't be said for a number of poor souls I've already seen take some nasty spills this week.
Finally, if you'd like to send me an email -- and yes, I'm talking to you my friend, Cassandra Hutchinson in Oak Park, Ill. -- feel free to hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your email might make the blog!Editor's Note: Now that you're engaged, I hope you don't come to regret putting that shout-out to Cassandra in your first entry.6 p.m. CDT -–
We're calling it a day for the live blog, but we'll be back to have more fun tomorrow.
Thanks for all the great emails. Keep them coming all week.
A quick check of the pedometer shows I've taken just under 20,000 steps today, which, according to the chart in the media center, means I walked roughly nine miles today. That was some work up and down those hills!
Before we go, here's a look at one last email that comes from a place far away from Wisconsin. Aadil Jehangir checking in from Pakistan
I am writing from Pakistan. My name is Aadil and I recently turned pro myself. My question to you is: what do you think the winning score would be? Because looking at the golf course and the tough par 3s I don't think it is going to go to double digits. Looking forward to hearing from you.
Thank you for the email, Aadil. I've been asked this a lot this week and I don't mean to dodge the question, but it's all going to depend on the wind. If it remains relatively benign the way it is now, I think the winning score could reach double-digits under par. Furthermore, I'll say the winning mark is 12 under.
When Vijay Singh won here in 2004, his winning score was 8 under (that got him in a three-way playoff). Singh finished at 8 under despite a 4-over 76 in the final round. That was in windy conditions and, if memory serves, it was cool and blustery that week.
If it stays warm and the wind stays down, a double-digit score under par can be had.5:30 p.m. --
The super-group featuring the season's first three major champions -- Phil Mickelson, Graeme McDowell and Louis Oosthuizen -- has finally begun.
The threesome, which started 3 hours, 16 minutes later than scheduled due to the morning fog that delayed the start of Round 1 this morning, are a combined 1-under par through two holes.
McDowell and Oosthuizen each have a pair of pars, while Mickelson snagged a birdie on the par-5 second hole thanks to a spectacular up and down.
In other news, I'm not sure how much longer I'll be blogging. I just received an email on the blog account from the "Head of File and Auditing Department" at the Bank of Africa offering me 40 percent of the $15.2 million he's asking to hold in my bank account. All he needs is my name, Social Security number, address, date of birth and bank account number.
I'm not very good at math, but that's got to be more than what I'm making here, right Boss?
Tempting. Tempting. Editor's Note: What do you mean "more than what I'm making here?" You actually think you're getting paid for this? Son, I have a stack of resumes on my desk from a hundred people better than you who say they'd do what you do for free. You should feel lucky and blessed that I'm picking up your room and food. Now get back to work before I get really mad.5 p.m. CDT --
The man on the mind of many today has been, if you can believe it, Tiger Woods. Most people want to know about his every move. A small number of you want to know why we in the media even bother covering him.
We try not to cover his every move, but the reality of the situation -- and it's abundantly clear here at Whistling Straits -- is that no one has more eyeballs on him than Tiger. That's both pre- and post-scandal, so we wouldn't be doing our jobs if we didn't cover him.
Speaking of Tiger, he just finished his opening round with an 1-under 71 thanks to a nice little birdie on No. 9.
With that, Cassandra
brings up a good point:TJ -- you certainly are earning your keep today -- counting sheep or the lack thereof, counting mosquitoes, counting reception bars on your Blackberry, the fun just won't stop.
Most people seem to have the Ryder Cup and Tiger's potential participation in it, considering his current state of play, on their minds, however, I would like your take on the fact that several players have had an opportunity over the past several weeks to become ranked #1 in the world and have fallen short. Considering that the players that could become #1 are veterans, why do you think it has not happened, especially with Tiger all but holding the door wide open for any takers?
Great question. I'm just as puzzled as you seem to be. First and foremost, it's kinda laughable that the world ranking formula is based on two year's worth of performance. I think we can all agree that despite the ranking, Tiger is definitely not the best player in the world right now.
Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood should be neck and neck for No. 1 and Tiger shouldn't even be in the top 10, but the system hasn't allowed for that.
Even still, both players have had their chances. Phil could have done it this past weekend, but blew it with a final round of 78 at Firestone.
Westwood had a chance at Firestone too, but had to withdraw after the first round with a calf injury that will have him shelved for the next several weeks.
That's the long way of telling you, Cassandra, that if Tiger doesn't get his act together, we'll have a new No. 1 very soon. And also, if the world ranking tweaked its formula, we might be talking about many, many more potential No. 1 players.
Do rest assured, however, that once someone tops Tiger, the No. 1 spot should be pretty volatile.Editor's Note: I know there's something clever I need to come up with regarding this Cassandra person, but I just can't think of anything at the moment.4:30 p.m. CDT --
In an attempt to get some relief from the hot sun, Japanese teen sensation Ryo Ishikawa just had his caddie bring him a small towel filled with ice on the range.
Once he had the towel, Ishikawa poured some water over it, let it sit for a few seconds, got rid of the ice and ran the cold towel over his face, neck and arms. That's one way to try an beat the heat.
Just beside Ryo was Phil Mickelson, who seemed to be working extra hard on his long game before his late afternoon tee time.4:05 p.m. CDT –
From the "very cool department," I just returned from a 3D viewing area set up by TNT in the media center. Aside from having to wear a dorky pair of 3D glasses, what an experience!
Is it weird if I tell you that watching the PGA Championship in 3D makes you feel as though you're actually at Whistling Straits? After all, I am at Whistling Straits.
Regardless, take my word for it. If you watch this tournament in 3D, you'll see it the way I'm seeing it in person. The picture is amazing and the coolest aspect, in my opinion, was viewing the par-3 12th hole along Lake Michigan. You truly feel as though you're hanging on the edge of those cliffs.
You can see the 3D coverage yourself, provided you have a 3D computer or TV, of course. Turner Sports and The PGA of are offering coverage in 3D today and tomorrow, on PGA.com and through TNT's television distributors Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Comcast, Cox Communications, DIRECTV, and Time Warner Cable. The 3D coverage will focus on the par-3 12th and 17th holes at Whistling Straits from 3-7 p.m. ET each day.
to get more information about the hardware and software needed to view the 3D production online.
That's it for the commercials. I promise. Editor's Note: If you think for a second that you're getting a commission from this entry, you are sadly mistaken. And what are you doing watching TV anyway when you're supposed to out on the course telling us what's going on? I think I need to rethink this live blog thingy.3:15 p.m. CDT --
Just before running in to work up this post, I witnessed a solid par by Australian Jason Day on No. 6, which is the shortest par 4 on the course and also one of the quirkiest.
When you think of young players who could break through to win their first major this week, I hope you have Day near the top of that list -- and not just because he's near the lead at the moment.
Day, just 22 years old, won for the first time in his PGA Tour career at the Byron Nelson Championship in May. Since then, he hasn't missed a cut in six starts.
Keep an eye on him this week.
Another young duo to watch out for would be the brothers Molinari from Italy. Currently, Eduardo is in a tie for seventh with his little brother Francisco.
... Here's an email from Gary Melcher in Milwaukee:
I have tickets for tomorrow's round and am looking forward to being out there. As a local resident I am very much aware of our over abundance of mosquitoes thanks to Wisconsin's wettest summer on record. What's the mosquito forecast out there? Do you feel like a human pin cushion or is the lake breeze keeping them under control?
Gary, the mosquitoes are certainly making their presence felt out there, especially earlier today when that fog was hanging over the course. On the holes that are right by Lake Michigan it wasn't quite as annoying. Make sure you spray something on before you head over, otherwise you'll be scratching your arms and legs all day.
Editor's Note: If I remember correctly, didn't you forget an umbrella and/or rain suit at Medinah in 2006? And you got soaked during a rain storm? Now you forget to bring bug spray? I'm guessing you weren't a Boy Scout?
2:45 p.m. CDT -– I'm trying to give you as many posts as I can and as quickly as possible, but we've run into a little issue -- hence the lapse time between posts. Whistling Straits is in such a remote area that the cell signal is extremely weak whenever I get more than two holes away from the clubhouse. Because of that, I'm running out, trying to gather some information and then running back in to file a post for you all.
No sweat. Actually, a lot of sweat. It's hot out there!
Anyway, I figured there was no better time than now to respond to an email from Patrick in St. Louis:
My brother and I are heading up tomorrow from St. Louis to catch the weekend action. Are we allowed to bring our BlackBerry's into the tournament?
Patrick, the answer is no. There are no cell phones allowed on the grounds (except for the one I'm blogging with). If I were you, I'd leave it in the car. Otherwise when you walk through the gates and get searched, you will be asked to leave your phone at a check-in center. The check-in center is efficient, but it can also get busy if you're leaving the course at the same time as everyone else.
Most importantly, don't bother bringing your phone because even if you somehow snuck that thing in here, you wouldn't be able to get any reception anyway. Take it from me.
2:30 p.m. CDT -- Tiger has made the turn at 2 under and it could've been better than that. In fact, as the leaders wrap up their respective rounds, it's surprising that scores haven't been lower.
Charles Howell is the best so far at 4 under, but conditions have been ideal and the pins look fairly accessible.
Maybe it's just the greens firming up as that hot sun beats down on them.2p.m. CDT --
Remember those teenage boys that were talking about John Daly earlier? Well, I finally saw Long John for myself. Usually I try to stay away from poking fun at a guy's clothes, because the Fashion Police would be here to arrest me faster than I could say, "PGA Championship."
Hopefully the Fashion Police aren't reading the blog, because with his gear today, Daly looks like a human orange creamsickle. It’s outstanding.
Tiger is currently tied for fourth at 2 under through eight holes. Interestingly, his three birdies in his first four holes today, including Nos. 1 and 2, marked the first time since the 2009 Buick Open that Tiger has started any round of any tournament with consecutive birdies.
That start at Warwick Hills was impressive. Starting on the 10th hole there, Woods went birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie. Nothing like being 6 under through five holes. The only time I've ever managed that is in Tiger’s video game.
Editor's Note: Given the garish lime-ish-green shorts, light blue shirt and dark blue PGA.com cap you're sporting today, kid, I don't think you're qualified to be making any comments about anyone else's wardrobe.
1:15 p.m. CDT -- Sorry for the delay, folks. If there's one thing out here at Whistling Straits that's more difficult than walking the course (and I'm not complaining, Boss!) it's finding a hill high enough to get a strong cell signal.
As promised, here are some emails:
This from Pete, who's "sitting in a cube in downtown Houston:"
Thanks for your blog! Will check it out periodically. Don't you think all the people saying they would pick Tiger in a heartbeat for the Ryder Cup are just paying too much "homage?" We have to wait and see how he recovers from his slump first -- no matter the history he has.
Pete, I agree with you, and evidently so does Captain Corey Pavin. If Tiger doesn't make the team on points, I wouldn't be shocked if Pavin left him off the team, though I would be surprised.
From Gus Kellom in Edina, Minn.:
Do you know what the PGA has done with the sheep usually present out on the Straits/Irish courses? I'd love to see them come into play on some of the holes -- but I can hardly imagine our pampered tour pros would tolerate the wooly creatures. They might not also work well with the crowds, but if you could find out and post something about them this weekend I'm sure anyone who has ever played the Straits, or nearly plunked one of the sheep like I almost did, would appreciate the knowledge.
Thanks and keep trudging along!
Gus, good point -- no sign of the sheep out here. In fact, there looked to be a pen for the sheep between the 11th and 15th greens, but no sign of sheep.
My guess is they're probably just hanging out at a nearby farm this week -- which isn't hard to find. Maybe those are the sheep I saw grazing alongside County Road FF on the way into Whistling Straits this morning!
From Cassandra in Oak Park, Ill.:
Hi TJ --
Whistling Straits -- Pete Dye design -- what can the players expect when they start their round today? What are the challenges for the players who start their round on the front nine and likewise, what are the challenges for the players who start their round on the back nine?
Cassandra -- the players can expect that if they don't keep the ball in the fairway, they're probably not going to make many pars. Oh, and don't even think about hitting it into one of those pot bunkers -- especially the little devil that cuts through the sixth green.
Right now it’s too early to tell whether a particular starting nine equals an advantage. As long as the wind stays down though, the player who keeps it in play can certainly go low.
From Kris in Wisconsin:
Walked around there with my two boys on Tuesday -- wonderful time -- free tickets for my boys. What kept us going was the rolling hills, the sighting or two of a famous golfer, ice cream and those cool sand sculptures on the way in.
Kris -- I know those cool sand sculptures you speak of. Absolutely magnificent. The organizers of the PGA Championship have set up a "Town Center" at the entrance to the course with loads of tents for merchandise and free lessons from PGA Professionals. It makes for a great fan experience.
Just to the right of some of these tents were mounds of sand with two sculptors detailing the Whistling Straits logo to artistic perfection.
12:15 a.m. CDT -- The view to the right of the 11th hole is just mind-blowing. The heavy fog the moved away from the course a couple hours ago is now hanging majestically over Lake Michigan. It's absolutely beautiful.
Speaking of beautiful, that's what you can call Tiger's start thus far. Just picked up another birdie with a two-putt from just left of the 11th green to take a share of the early lead.
I'll be answering some emails shortly, just having a hard time staying connected as I walk up and down these rolling hills.
11:50 a.m. CDT -- Tiger's first hole of the day, No. 10, is a good one. He rolled in a 10-footer for a quick birdie out of the gate. That had to feel good and the fans sure loved it. On the tee, Tiger's ovation was louder than the combined ovation of the 2004 PGA Champion at Whistling Straits, Vijay Singh, and defending champ Y.E. Yang. And when the putt found the bottom of the cup, the fans went nuts. Maybe Tiger will play his way onto the U.S. Ryder Cup team after all.
Still early, I know.
Just a note about the wind -- there isn't much of it out here at the moment, but what wind there is seems to be blowing in all kinds of directions.
And another note -- this is the first hole I've walked and I've already seen two tumbles. Luckily none of those two were my own and, luckily for those involved, neither person seemed to be hurt.
11:20 a.m. CT -- I'm camped out on the 10th tee, where Tiger Woods will tee off shortly. Just to give you a little scene-setter, the heat has definitely risen, the fog is gone and the crowds are massive.
The crowds have blown my mind this week. Of course, you expect massive amounts of people at a major, but we're in Kohler, Wis. It's all farms, cornfields and cheese factories. Not once in four days here have I caught so much as a glimpse of a traffic jam. It's surreal, like a Salvador Dali painting. How did all these people get here?
11:04 p.m. CDT -- Already loads of emails pouring in, from including Cassandra. So nice to hear from you! Keep them coming!
Many of you are asking what the deal is with the tee times. Simple, they will go off in the order they were scheduled to go off, just add three hours, 10 minutes to the old tee time.
Because of the fog delay, it's not likely the first round will be completed today.
Joel Riley from Columbus, Ohio, just sent this about Tiger:
"If he plays his way onto the Ryder Cup team, fine. But if the World Number One has another week like the one I saw at Firestone, I don't think Coach Pavin should pick him. He’s playing poorly, his Ryder Cup record is suspect, and I think the Euros (under Monty) would relish the chance to eat him up. Him out early might rally the opposition and out late might not bring home a needed point."
We'll see what happens, Joel. That's been the hot topic this week. Right now on the range he's still got caddie Steve Williams holding a club behind his head on each swing -- working on not moving his head so much. The putter will need to come around too if he's going to be a factor.
In a totally unrelated note, a couple of teenage boys behind me just commented on John Daly.
Teen No 1: "Did you see Daly on the practice green? He lit up three cigarettes in like five minutes!"
Teen No. 2: "You know better, dude. With Daly it's all about smokes an Diet Cokes!"
10:35 a.m. CDT -- PGA Professional Mitch Lowe was scheduled to tee off just after 2 p.m., but got here early to loosen up.
"I walked on the range and said, 'Wow! There are a lot of guys up here,'" Lowe, the PGA director of instruction at Del Rio Country Club in Modesto, Calif., told me.
That's when Lowe learned about the three-hour delay and the fact that his adjusted tee time is now after 5 o'clock.
Lowe decided to hit balls anyway ... beside Tiger Woods. What was that like?
"Kinda weird actually," Lowe joked. "He kept looking over, trying to copy what I was doing!"
With plenty of downtime in his immediate future, Lowe is headed back to the house he's renting for the week to jump in the pool and "probably hurt myself playing ping pong."
Let's hope that's not the case.
9:45 a.m. CDT – After a 3 hour, 10 minute delay, it was just announced that play in the 92nd PGA Championship will begin at 10:10 a.m. CDT. Big news, big news.
Editor's Note: It's about time you got to work.
9:30 a.m. CDT -- We're still sitting and waiting for Glory's Last Shot to hit its first shot. Due to heavy fog that's hovering over the area, we're currently stuck in a delay. The temperature couldn't be more perfect -- it's in the mid-70s, maybe a tad on the humid side. Luckily, once the sun burns off this fog, we're looking at a gorgeous summer day with plenty of sunshine and temperatures rising into the mid-to-high 80s.
Once play starts, so will the blog.