We followed Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas at Bellerive. Here's what we learned.
BYAndy Wittry | PGA.com,August 9th, 2018·
Round one of the 2018 PGA Championship at Bellerive featured a morning super group of Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas.
You can't go wrong following a four-time PGA Champion, a two-time PGA Champion, and the defending PGA Champion. So we caught up with the trio at the range and followed them along the tree-lined fairways of Bellerive.
Here's what we learned.
When Tiger speaks, people listen
Tiger got up close and personal with the spectators at Bellerive Country Club after sending his tee shot in the gallery to the left of the fairway on the 15th hole, where it landed near the trees that separate the 15th and 11th holes.
The ball was playable but first, he had to clear all of the spectators out of the way. With the help of his caddie, Joe LaCava, and a few course marshals, Tiger cleared a path out of the treeline to the fairway.
He hit his second shot almost 145 yards, where it once again landed in the rough to the left of the fairway. Tiger parted the sea of spectators again, allowing him to land a 70-yard pitch within roughly three feet of the hole.
Tiger made the putt for par, his third par in a row as he began to find his footing after starting the round bogey-double bogey.
Check out the crowd at the 18th hole, when Tiger, Rory and JT finished up the back nine.
Rory McIlroy had curious tape on his right forearm
We first noticed McIlroy's tape when he arrived at the putting green at 7:14 a.m. CT. We snapped a picture and examined it more closely to find out that it's a product known as a recovery patch.
Tiger changed shirts after his bogey, double-bogey start
Tiger was 3-over through the first two holes on Thursday. That's when he ducked into a "Contestants Only Bathroom" after hitting his tee shot on the 12th hole and came out with new threads. It worked. For the next 16 holes, he was 3-under with four birdies and just one bogey as he finished even.
He can be seen below holding his old, 3-over-par shirt in his left hand, while tucking in his new shirt. The players-only bathroom is seen in the background.
Drinks of choice
While we don't know exactly what the drinks were, we identified a color/flavor of choice for Tiger, Rory and JT. Tiger was sporting a black Monster water bottle, making it difficult to tell what he was drinking, but on the 16th green he got a refill as his caddie grabbed what appeared to be a blue packet of powder that he poured in the bottle. Rory's drink was orange and Thomas' was purple.
Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy found a butterfly on the fairway of the 11th hole. Thomas found it, motioned to McIlroy to come check it out and the butterfly flew away to the delight of Thomas.
After finishing the 12th hole, Tiger opened his scorecard on his walk to the 13th tee box and Rory walked up, fixed the back of Tiger's collar and then said something that made Tiger LOL.
Alabama fans made themselves known
For the first seven holes of the back nine (the pairing started its round on the 10th hole), at least one fan yelled "Roll Tide!" to Justin Thomas. Usually it happened multiple times per hole, when Thomas sank a putt or walked to the next tee box.
Justin Thomas showed some love to the fans, too
After Thomas parred the par-5 17th hole, he high-fived fans as he walked to the 18th tee box.
JT isn't shy about letting you know when he hits a shot he doesn't like
There were a few tee shots by Thomas on the back nine that he didn't like. Whereas some players might be harder to read and require you to judge how quickly they pick up their tee or stare at their shot, Thomas will yet you know with a quick yell.
The group finished a combined -1
Justin Thomas finished at 1-under – four strokes behind leader Rickie Fowler – while Tiger and Rory were even through the first round. The trio will tee off at 1:48 p.m. CT, starting from the 1st hole, on Friday.