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The PGA Championship: Rivalry, What Rivalry?

No-one will ever have golf under his thumb. No round ever will be so good it could not have been better. Perhaps this is why golf is the greatest of games. You are not playing a human adversary; you are playing a game. You are playing old man par. – Bobby Jones

The PGA Championship is well under way and the media is trying desperately to create issues where there are none. Much of the discussion is on the play of the world’s number 1 and 2 player over the past two days.

Rory McIlroy’s play was up and down. He hit the ball a long way, however his scramble game was not as sharp as hoped. His putting was average and other than his chip in for eagle, he really did not do anything spectacular. Given he was off for six weeks with an ankle injury, he played as expected. If McIlroy does shoot low, well that is great, however it is unlikely he will vie for the PGA Championship title this year.

Jordan Spieth also had an up and down two days. He played average in the tough conditions of the first day, and scored low in the scoring conditions on day two. Spieth is the best golfer in the world right now because of his play over the past 6 months. His play in the PGA Championship is as expected; we will see him on Sunday making a charge.

Jason Day, Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson and few unexpected names are all at the top of the leaderboard. Their great play fits the predictions of most golfing pundits leading up to the start on Thursday morning. It is difficult to see if these players will remain at the top of the leaderboard as they finish the second round today, however we are in store for some great golf.

The golfing media continues to drone on about the rivalry between all the young players at the top of the world rankings. The expectation is that élite athletes will try and knock each off to remain number one. Well, golf is not that type of sport.

The days of Jack Nicklaus vs Arnold Palmer are over. These two giants change the face of professional golf and through the years players like Tom Watson, Ray Floyd, Lee Trevino and Gary Player have all come and gone against Nicklaus, but the one player that dominated was Nicklaus.

Tiger Woods has had many players rise and fall during his 20 years of dominance. However, to have an ongoing competition for the same objective or for superiority in the same field, players have to care and want to always be on top. That is just not happening in golf today.

Rory McIlroy said on Wednesday after his practice round at the PGA Championship, “In golf, eras last about 6 months instead of 20 years!” McIlroy hit the nail on the head, dominating in golf is always short-lived. Today it is McIlroy and Spieth dominating; tomorrow it may be Day and Johnson. So how can rivalries be built if players quickly rise and fall from grace within the media.

The professional golf landscape is full of fantastic young players. The core 10 players will be around for quite some time and developing rivalries is unlikely. They will continue to play awesome golf, win every once in a while and entertain the masses. It is okay to just enjoy the thing you do without worrying about anyone else. Golf is a game designed to compete against yourself, there is no room for rivalries that detract playing well and having fun.

The Grateful Golfer – Pundit Arena

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