SPRINGFIELD, N.J. — I wonder if the guys who teed off in the afternoon were listening to Oran “Juice” Jones — “The Rain” because they got to watch the morning wave get drenched. Wet conditions made for good scoring, and since the rain was gone before 10:30 a.m. ET, I can give no quarter to those being graded.
Enjoy Round 2 grades:
World ranking: No. 1
Score: 68-65 (-7)
Stats-wise you deserve a B-plus, except for one thing. It always comes down to “drive for show” and you know how the rest goes. The world No. 1 had 28 putts and if not for a bogey and a double-bogey on the front nine, he would have broken the major single-day scoring record. As much as I despise bogeys, eight birdies is too good not to reward. Game on for the weekend now.
World ranking: No. 2
Score: 77-72 (+9) — MC
I won’t fail Johnson again because he played better than he did Thursday, but he was just going through the motions. He was like a kid the last week of school after all the tests are done just staring at the clock waiting for the bell to ring.
World ranking: No. 3
Score: 70-67 (-3)
Spieth stayed inconsistent off the tee (six of 14 fairways hit) but did improve by one on greens in regulation (15 of 18). Where his game shined was with the flat stick. He took three fewer putts and had more than 80 feet of putts made for the day. He might be too far back to win, but that doesn’t mean he can’t at least make a charge.
World ranking: No. 4
Score: 74-69 (+3) — Missed Cut
I can’t fail McIlroy because he improved over the previous round, but unlike world No. 7 Rickie Fowler, McIlroy finished like bad seafood. What stinks the most is Rory was so close to getting his putter figured out. Now he’s gone for the weekend because his chipping on the last hole was like a 15 handicapper. Horrid end of the final major, yet almost fitting.
World ranking: No. 5
Score: 67-67 (-6)
I was worried for a bit when Stenson started on the easy nine and was 2 over going to the 18th hole (his ninth of the day.) A tap-in eagle kick-started the final nine holes where he shot a blistering bogey-free 31. The grade is for playing the easier nine in even par, but the hope is that the “Iceman” gets in position Saturday to win two majors in a row.
World ranking: No. 6
Score: 71-69 (Even)
Every category improved except one — total putts. But Watson had only one more putt Friday than Thursday. What was impressive was he hit only seven of 14 fairways yet managed to miss only three greens. Averaging 312.5 yards on his drives, he’s second in distance this week and was always fun to watch. Glad he’ll be around for the weekend but would have loved to see him contend.
World ranking: No. 7
Score: 68-68 (-4)
It’s not about the start. Usually that’s a showbiz term, but Friday it held true for Fowler. Nothing unusual about the stats: eight of 14 fairways and a little disappointed with the 12 of 18 greens in regulation. Fowler played 16 holes at an uneventful 1 over, then he played the 17th and 18th. What makes dinner taste better than a birdie-eagle finish? Now Fowler goes to the weekend at least with an outside chance for a miracle.
World ranking: No. 8
Score: 70-67 (-3)
He showed all-around improvement in ball-striking and the score reflected it. Scott did everything the way he should have, playing the front nine in even par and the back nine bogey-free with three birdies. I can forgive the four extra putts compared to Round 1 because Scott hit four more greens than Thursday. Now the big question is, which way does the Aussie go on Moving Day?
World ranking: No. 9
Score: 71-70 (+1)
Normally when a guy shoots even at a major, I’d give him a straight C. Willett is getting the minus because he started on the back nine and had eight holes after the PGA squeegeed them yet still couldn’t break par. The rain had lightened up significantly and that side was definitely there for the taking. Willett didn’t take it, hence the negative. Stats were solid and he’ll be around for the weekend, but I sure do hope he does something to excite us all Saturday.
World ranking: No. 10
Score: 71-74 (+5) — Missed Cut
The ball-striker forgot how to strike the ball correctly and his putter stopped saving him. Seven of 14 fairways but only 11 of 18 greens in regulation, thrown in with 32 putts, meant Garcia must have thought he was in an episode of “Orange Is the New Black” … “Bye Felicia! I mean Sergio.”
World ranking:No. 74
Score: 68-63 (-9)
Tie the scoring record for a single round and I don’t care if you had a bogey on the 16th hole, you’re getting the top grade. Was he accurate off the tee? Not perfect at 11 of 14 fairways hit. Was his iron game on point? Fourteen of 18 is good, not great. You go around a course known for its tricky greens with only 26 putts and baby, you get to sleep on the lead of the year’s final major.
Wyatt Worthington II
<!– World ranking:No. XXXXXX
–>Score: 76-76 (+12) — Missed cut
The majority of us will never know what it’s like to be the second person to ever accomplish something significant and the internal pressure that goes along with that. Worthington was the second African American club pro in history to qualify and play in the PGA Championship. As much as I want to give him an A-plus, since he didn’t make the cut, he wouldn’t respect me if I gave him that grade. This young man didn’t make the cut, but he made many new friends and gained the respect of a golf community that could desperately benefit from him being in its ranks. He’ll be on the PGA Tour someday and he’ll earn his way out there as well.