Cole's Notes: Steve Stricker 'has got game' through first two rounds at PGA Championship
LOUISVILLE, KY - AUGUST 08: Steve Stricker of the United States stands under an umbrella as he prepares to hit an approach shot on the 18th hole during the second round of the 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on August 8, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, Ky -- OLD GUYS RULE: At 47, with hip issues and a part-time playing schedule, Steve Stricker wasn’t expecting to be in the conversation for a place on the U.S. Ryder Cup team, which is probably why Tom Watson picked him this week as a vice-captain.
But he’s tied for eighth at five under par after Friday’s 68.
“I would have to do something very special, either win or maybe finish second,” said Stricker, “and I’m obviously going to try to do the best I can this weekend, but (making the team as a player) hasn’t really crossed my mind because I haven’t played that much.”
“Strick has got game,” said Watson, 64, who played with Stricker the first two rounds, but missed the cut Friday by two strokes. “If he should win here, there’d be no question he’d be on the team rather than vice-captain. No question.”
HOME COOKIN’: Kentucky boy Kenny Perry made the cut at one-under-par, meaning he’ll get to play on his 54th birthday Sunday.
“I was watching Rory and Bubba behind me, where they were hitting it compared to where I was hitting it. They are playing a different golf course than I am,” said Perry, who lost the ’96 PGA here in a playoff to Mark Brooks.
“But I’m ecstatic. I get to play the weekend. Here I am, played ’96 to now. There’s a lot of emotions.”
IT’S AN EPIDEMIC: The rash of withdrawals gained speed Friday when the wet weather seemed to aggravate a lot of ailments. Among Friday’s casualties: Kiradech Aphibarnrat (back), Angel Cabrera (shoulder) and Bo Weekley (shoulder). Already gone were Matt Kuchar (back), Jason Dufner (neck) and Ben Crane (back).
First-round co-leader Kevin Chappell was three-over-par on the day when he had to stop to have his back and neck worked on, on a bench at the 15th hole.
TIGER POST-MORT: Tiger Woods, his game showing the effects of enduring back pain, finished the day but missed the cut. He said he felt his back go out during his warmup session Friday morning.
"Same feeling, same pain, same spasms,” he said.
"I need to get stronger,” he said, perhaps referring to his rush back from surgery. “You can't burn the candle at both ends."
THE BUTT OF JOKES: Chris Wood came in late Thursday with a 66, but it was his wardrobe malfunction that got most of the attention.
The 6-foot-5 Englishman split the seat out of his pants while crouching to line up a putt at his second hole of the day, No. 11, and had to borrow the rain pants of his shorter playing partner, Johan Kok.
"It's the most embarrassed I have ever been on the golf course and I am sure I will take a bit of stick for it, but it's my best round in a major in America," said Wood.
"They tore right in the place you don't want them to. Unfortunately the crowd on the 12th tee are right behind where I was teeing off so they could see my underpants.
"Thankfully by the 17th my manager had been back to the hotel and got another pair from my room.”
He shot 73 Friday, but the story line was established.
“Did your trousers hold up today?” he was asked.
“I brought two pairs today,” Wood said. “But I was extra careful when I was doing the putts today. It’s just so sticky. I think I have put on weight.”
WARDROBE, PART II: Graham DeLaet made the dubious decision (or his clothier did) to go with white pants Friday in sloppy conditions, but he played the whole 18 without even a mark on them.
“I’m actually amazed, too. I told Jules (caddie Julien Trudeau) I thought I would have to throw these away at the end of the day,” DeLaet said, “but they’re surprisingly white still at the bottom.”
“Well, he wore rain pants out there part of the day,” said DeLaet’s wife Ruby. Spoiled a good story.
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