NICK WATNEY PUTTED AND GRINNED his way to a 66 at the PGA Championship to take a three-shot lead into the final round at Birdie, er, Whistling Straits. The Pete Dye track had no defense against the precocious genius of the young guns. The wind was down, the greens were soft, and the scores were low.
Tied in second place, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy are Watney’s closest pursuers. Three more of the youth movement—Martin Kaymer, Jason Day and Wenchong Liang—are T4.
(Photo: This is going to hurt, ball. Dustin Johnson tees off at the Quail Hollow Championship / Ed McDonald, Flickr)
The young guns rode into Whistling Straits on Saturday and loaded up on birdies like it was the dessert buffet at Golden Corral. Leader Watney carded eight on his way to a 66. Johnson had five and no bogeys for a 67. McIlroy had six in his round of 67, as did Kaymer (67) and Day (66). And, with eight birds on his card, Liang set the course record of 64.
There are fossils in contention: the ancient Steve Elkington, a 47-year-old former PGA champion; world No. 5 Jim Furyk, 40; and Masters champion Zach Johnson, 34. Yes, even Mr. Johnson is an old man. I’m telling you, anybody over 32 on this leaderboard is old, old, old.
Which of the boys will pass the examination tomorrow? Nick? Dustin? Rory? Martin? Jason? One of the fossils?
This is going to be fun.
−The Armchair Golfer