Out of the Rough: The PGA Championship aftermath

This year's PGA Championship is over and done with and there were a few interesting subplots in an otherwise boring Sunday.

Rory McIlroy put his name in the history book.

His 8-shot win is the largest margin of victory since the PGA became a stroke- play event. McIlroy topped Jack Nicklaus' (who?) record by a stroke.

McIlroy put on a clinic at Kiawah.

Sure, it was dull to watch, but if you appreciate incredible front-running, and we've seen our share in the sport over the last decade, his precision was stunning.

What does the win mean down the line? Impossible to tell, not just because we don't have ESP, but because McIlroy has left questions about his focus.

His victory Sunday was amazing, but remember, McIlroy is the same guy who missed the cut at The Players Championship and BMW PGA Championship, the flagship events on the PGA and European Tours. He missed the cut at the U.S. Open, so there are moments of weakness we didn't see in Tiger Woods' prime.

That's why any comparisons to Woods are still ridiculous.

McIlroy won his second major title three months sooner than Woods won his. Let's see if McIlroy can win his third, fourth and fifth in the next 12 months. That's what Woods did in 2000.

McIlroy admitted that he didn't practice hard enough in the middle of the year. Then, after he won by eight at Kiawah, he said he tried to relax a little more.

McIlroy has plenty of time to figure the best way of doing things. To give some who has won two of the last seven majors by a combined 16 strokes advice is borderline arrogant, but McIlroy has to display more consistency before we say he's gone past Eldrick.

Speaking of Woods, he said something rather interesting on Sunday.

After he shared the second-round lead on Saturday, he disintegrated. He made three bogeys before the horn blew to stop play, mercifully ending Woods' day at Kiawah.

So what happened on Saturday, Tiger?

"I was trying to enjoy it, enjoy the process of it. But that's not how I play. I play full systems go, all-out, intense, and that's how I won 14 of these things," Woods said on Sunday. "It was a bad move on my part."

This was a rare candid moment from Woods, but candid may not be the right word.

Are we really supposed to believe that Woods was skipping around, happy-go- lucky with the lead in a major championship? That's rubbish. He'd step on his mother's throat to win a major, and now it's "enjoy the process of it?"

Woods didn't break par on the weekend in any of the four major titles. He went into two of them with the lead and he walked with nary a trophy or a jacket.

So what's up with Woods on the weekend?

It's an impossible question to answer, but is anyone buying Woods' explanation? Not this guy.

My best hunch is that maybe when he gets into the hunt in majors, he reverts back to his old ways, when he "won 14 of these things." In doing so, maybe Woods is going back to old swing thoughts as well.

That's the best answer to a complicated question. All that is known, is that Woods' explanation was almost laughable.

Woods has some time this year to figure things out. He's won three times and has the Playoffs still to come. Maybe he wins another FedExCup, or dominates at the Ryder Cup.

"We got a lot of golf to be played the rest of the year, some big events coming up and The Ryder Cup at the end of it," Woods said. "So looking forward to that."

Woods made his first international team on points since the 2009 Presidents Cup. He's been a captain's pick for the last Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, so American Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III dodged a bullet by having to make a choice on him.

"I was asked thousands of times if I would pick Tiger if he didn't make it. I knew I wouldn't have that problem," Love said Monday at a press conference.

Love made some news on Monday when he announced Scott Verplank and Jeff Sluman would be his third and fourth assistant captains.

Four assistants? No player should be lacking for a bottle of water all week.

Love has three weeks to complete his team with four picks and offered some hints on Monday.

"You obviously want some experience," Love said. "You're not going to pick four guys that have never played Ryder Cup before."

So, it sounds like Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk shouldn't make any vacation plans for the week of Sept. 24.

In fact, Love spoke so much about Stricker and Furyk as members of the team it sounded like he already made his mind about them. Love sounded like he was restraining himself from announcing them Monday morning.

"Julius (Mason, spokesman for the PGA of America) asked me not to do that, to go ahead and announce. We wanted September 4 to be fun," said Love.

That's a pretty clear admission that part of the quarter has been finalized. Nothing wrong with that. If Love already informed, say Stricker and Furyk, they were on the team, they can relax and play golf.

Love can leave the other two spots open. He's got Hunter Mahan, Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson lurking. Brandt Snedeker and Bo Van Pelt would be rookies, but they have to be in the mix, too.

With three weeks to decide, Love can theoretically sit back and watch. What if someone like Charley Hoffman wins the first two Playoffs events? He should probably need someone to measure his in-seam because he'd have to make the team, right?


"I would say nobody's really out of it, because if you get hot, the next three weeks, we are going to want you on the team," said Love. "There's no set formula to make it now. It's whoever's hot, and obviously we'll lean towards experience."

So this was quite a PGA Championship.

We learned Rory is unstoppable, sort of.

We learned Woods was prepared to have too much fun on Saturday.

We learned Love has a solid idea for the Ryder Cup.

That's a lot for one PGA that was essentially over by the back nine Sunday.


- McIlroy, despite what was written above, is in great shape for a career slam. He's clearly got the game for Augusta National based on his play in 2011. The Open Championship should be no sweat, even though he stated he doesn't love windy links golf.

- Ian Poulter did all he could on Sunday. Six birdies in his first seven holes is an amazing accomplishment and he put the heat on McIlroy. No one could've caught McIlroy, but Poulter showed some moxy. Yes, he imploded on the back nine, but he put himself on the European Ryder Cup team with two weeks to go.

- Jose Maria Olazabal said Padraig Harrington would have to "do really extraordinary well" to become under consideration for a pick. With Poulter now on the team, and just one European Tour event to go in the next two weeks, Olazabal's picks seem to be Sergio Garcia and Nicolas Colsaerts. Harrington has three top-20s in this year's majors and made the cut in all four. Garcia missed the cut in the last two. Colsaerts is a fine choice (he won the Volvo World Match Play Championship), but what has Garcia done to make Harrington have to "do really extraordinary well?"

- No movies, no TV for major week, although I caught some of the Roseanne Roast. Tom Arnold stole the show. And that's a sentence you never thought you'd see.