PGA Championship 2016: Five Things We Learned Friday at Baltusrol

July 30, 2016

Things picked up on Friday at the PGA Championship, and the leaderboard has some marquee names appearing. Here are five things we learned in the second round at Baltusrol.

1. Golf is hard, but golf can also be unexpectedly spectacular. Robert Streb made history today. Despite the fact that he has only one Tour win to his name (the McGladrey Classic in 2014) and no top-10s to speak of this season, Streb rocketed up the leaderboard to share the lead with Jimmy Walker at nine under par by carding the 30th 63 in a major championship.

2. Dustin Johnson is human after all. DJ shocked fans in the opening rounds of the PGA Championship with his lackluster play, which came on the heels of stellar performances at the Canadian Open and the U.S. Open. He carded a 77 on Thursday and a 72 on Friday and finished 142nd in a field of 156. It was his first missed cut in 25 events, the longest streak on Tour.

3. Rory McIlroy’s putting is in serious trouble. McIlroy also missed the cut on Friday, but his round was much more frustrating to watch than DJ’s confusing collapse. McIlroy himself acknowledged in his post-round press conference that the problem was his putting. He ranked 151st in strokes gained putting in the field. “I think if you had given anyone else in this field my tee shots this week, they would have been up near the top of the leaderboard,” he said. “It just shows you how bad I was around the greens.”

4. The Big Four is back. (Sort of.) Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, and Jason Day will all be in contention this weekend at Baltusrol. Day had eight birdies on Friday, enough to propel him to a 65. He’s tied for third heading into Saturday. Fowler also played well on Friday, shooting a 68 to match his 68 from yesterday. He’s T9. Spieth, meanwhile, moved 23 spots up the leaderboard in the second round to 13th.

5. The PGA of America is better at averting major PR disasters than the USGA is. Not only did the PGA of America distribute a pin sheet that incorrectly identified the 10th hole location to Group 14 (Colt Knost, Joe Summerhays and Yuta Ikeda), it was also questioned on a rules decision involving Jordan Spieth, who was initially deemed deserving of a penalty by many when, after an extensive conversation with a rules official, he didn’t appear to take full relief from a puddle on a gravel cart path. Ultimately, public wrath was avoided on both fronts by an apology from Kerry Haigh, who is in charge of course set-up for PGA Championships, for the pin sheet situation, and the invocation of Decision 20-2c/0.8, which allowed Jordan “to either play the ball as it lay, even if his stance was still in the casual water, or to take relief again from the casual water under this different type of stroke that he then elected to play.” Phew!