It looks like things are coming together for a nice Sunday finish. The temperature is expected to be in the upper 80s with only a 30 percent chance of afternoon thunderstorms. The wind, such a factor, is expected to blow 10 to 15 miles per hour, enough to make a difference but nothing like it was on Friday.
UP A TREE: Rory McIlroys tee shot on the par-4 third hole wound up in an unexpected location a hollowed out section of a limb on a dead tree in the middle of the fairway.
McIlroy might not have found the ball had he not gotten help from the television crew which told him replays showed his ball flying into the limb and staying there.
I was just like it, well, if it hit the tree, Im sure its somewhere here in this long grass or the wood chips or whatever, McIlroy said. Wed been looking for maybe three minutes and then one of the guys (from TV) came over and said its actually stuck in the tree.
Im like how can it be stuck in this thing? Theres no branches, no leaves for it to be stuck in. But it had wedged itself between the tree bark and the actual tree. I was happy to get up and down for a four (after taking a penalty stroke) and move on to the next.
McIlroy said its the first time he remembers having a ball stuck in a tree.
NO SURPRISE: Players on the Ocean Course Saturday afternoon could see the storm that suspended play coming as the sky gradually darkened over the inland side of the layout. Once players were off the course and saw radar images, it became apparent there was little chance of resuming the third round.
Disappointing, said Graeme McDowell, who is four off the lead with seven holes remaining in his third round. Weve done well this week to avoid the storms that are pretty inevitable in this part of the country this time of year.
McDowell said conditions Sunday morning may dictate what happens on the leader board.
It really just depends on what the wind does in the morning, McDowell said. It was a great test of golf out there (Saturday) afternoon Just got to come out guns blazing in the morning.
• Its likely the players who will finish their third rounds Sunday morning will have a big advantage in terms of playing conditions over those who got their third rounds in before the storm. The course will be softer and the wind is forecast to be down, setting up lower scoring and a chance for the leaders to separate themselves a little more.
• Unless something changes Sunday, Tiger Woods weekend struggles in major championships this year has become a problem. He hasnt broken par on the weekend in the four majors and he played himself backward and virtually out of contention on Saturday.
A pulled birdie putt at the third hole from short range seemed to frustrate Woods who followed with consecutive bogeys. Someone cracked he was in danger of running out of gloves because he had to sign so many for spectators he hit Saturday.
Given the challenges with weather during August, particularly thunderstorms in the southeast, its interesting that the lineup of PGA Championship sites through 2018 doesnt include a west coast venue. The PGA hasnt been played out west since visiting Sahalee near Seattle in 1998. Torrey Pines, some pointed out, is nice this time of year.
• Another PGA question: Knowing there was a better than good chance of afternoon thunderstorms Saturday, why didnt they start players earlier in the third round? The PGA Tour does it routinely.
Theres an argument to be made for televising the event live but showing a slightly taped-delayed version beats showing highlights from the 2009 PGA Championship unless youre Y.E. Yang.
• Perhaps the most interesting viewing spots may have been from the handful of small boats that had snaked their way through the creeks in the marsh alongside the third and fourth holes. A handful of fans could been seen standing on boats in the shallow water to catch a glimpse of the leaders as they went past. Thats one way to save the price of a ticket.
• Heres a quick trivia question: Three players missed the cut in all four major championships this year. Who were they?
Alvaro Quiros, Lucas Glover and Mark Wilson.
• Brendon de Jonge is working on a nice streak. After making the cut in the PGA Championship, de Jonge has now played the weekend in 15 consecutive events, the second-longest active streak on tour behind Jason Dufners 17 in a row. Matt Kuchar had made 24 cuts in a row prior to missing it at the Ocean Course.
THEY SAID IT
Just got to treat (Sunday) like its the beginning of a new round and try to prepare like I normally do The game feels good so Im looking forward to (Sunday). Carl Pettersson, two shots off the lead.
Its funny because fans were going Is it easier today? No, theres nothing easy about this place. Jimmy Walker.
Three things we learned from Saturdays rain-interrupted third round of the PGA Championship:
1. Tiger Woods seems to have become allergic to weekends in major championships, struggling again.
2. Adam Scott appears to be over any British Open disappointment, moving within one stroke of the lead.
3. The weather didnt do Rory McIlroy any favors, interrupting a round that had the look of something special.
Three things to watch in the Sunday finish:
1. Can 49-year old Vijay Singh keep it going and nail down a third PGA Championship?
2. Will the forecasted softer conditions Sunday allow someone to shoot a low number and come from behind?
3. How different will the leader board look at the end of the third round than it looked when play stopped Saturday night?
Ron Green Jr.