ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI | Splat.
That’s the sound of the PGA Championship at Bellerive, at least in the run-up to the start of the year’s final major.
A series of downpours Tuesday soaked Bellerive, disrupting practice plans for players trying to learn a golf course that’s instantly familiar. Rory McIlroy got in three holes Tuesday before the rain. Tiger Woods made it five holes.
The good news is the weather forecast calls for improving conditions throughout the week with the rain expected to be long gone by midday Wednesday. From there, it looks like sunny skies with temperatures in the mid-80s to around 90 degrees.
“I’ll have to do some more homework (Wednesday) and get a good feel for what’s going on the rest of the week,” said Woods, who did stop through St. Louis for a reconnaissance round prior to flying to Scotland for the Open Championship last month.
The last time Bellerive hosted a PGA Tour event was the 2008 BMW Championship won by Camilo Villegas. Before that, the 2001 WGC-American Express Championship at Bellerive was cancelled due to the events of 9/11.
This week demands a quick learning curve on a course that features massive greens and a preponderance of right-to-left doglegs. The Wednesday tee sheet, typically less than full on the eve of a major, will be stuffed this week.
“I think that all the guys are trying to get in as much practice as they possibly can because today was negated a little bit and most of the guys who played last week took (Monday) off,” Woods said. “There’s going to be quite a few guys trying to get out there and I’m going to be one of them.”
It’s not as if a handful of players have a built-in advantage from having played Bellerive often through the years.
“Not seeing the golf course, you got to do a little bit of extra research,” two-time U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka said. “I saw nine holes yesterday, today hopefully, if the rain stays away, maybe see a few more on the front side. But it’s a place not many people have seen too much, which is nice, so I don’t feel like I’m too far behind the 8-ball.”