September 9 2012
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
Rory McIlroy is playing so beautifully right now; you could name any number of reasons why he won again this week. I look at his driving. McIlroy averaged 306 yards per drive -- and keep in mind that is largely carry yardage on damp fairways that provided little roll. He missed one fairway in the final round. The length and accuracy manifested itself on the par-5 15th hole, which he played in 5 under for the week with three birdies and an eagle.
Off the deck: Both Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh took an aggressive approach with their second shots at the 595-yard 11th hole. They both took driver off the deck in an effort to reach the par 5 in two. From 310 yards, Mickelson was wide to the right while Singh was short and in the bunker. Both players wound up with par and while you admire the aggressive play, you also wonder if both would have been better served hitting layups rather than drivers for their second shots.
Rough: There was no problem growing grass at Crooked Stick this week. The fairways were lush and so was the rough. In fact, this week featured some of the thicker rough we have seen the entire season. The rain seemed to give the grass a growth spurt. The rough was not only long, it was “juicy,” filled with moisture and escape was just about impossible. Shots that finished just off the green buried in the grass. Officials had to mark their location with flags so players could locate the ball.
Club Choice: Vijay Singh has won 34 PGA TOUR events thanks to a high fade. He pounds his driver through the air and consistently works the ball from left to right. So, it was a curious play when Singh set up to hit a draw at the 14th. The ball never moved inside the rough line and wound up in the water hazard where Singh went on to make bogey. Vijay routinely hits draws and cuts with his irons but seldom hits anything but a fade off the tee. It was all part of a bad final nine holes that has Singh outside the Top 30 and missing the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
Par 5s: It was another solid week of golf for Tiger Woods but also another week without a victory. He can look back at his performance on par 5s with regret. Woods did not birdie any in his final round, hitting poor drives on all of them. Tiger had birdied nine of 12 par fives through 54 holes, which made Sunday’s shutout all the more frustrating.
Grand finale: What a finish we are in for at East Lake and the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. There are so many quality players who have their games peaking at just the right time. Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood. This year’s edition of the FedExCup Playoffs has been tremendous and the final event should be great stuff.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here .