Halfway through the 2022 PGA Championship is in the books, and already the Southern Hills tournament is once again writing its own little stories. Veteran Bubba Watson played the best round in the tournament so far on Friday, superstar Tiger Woods gifted fans in Tulsa with two more rounds of “Tiger golf” and although Will Zalatoris is playing only his second PGA Championship, his lead isn’t all that surprising. On the evening of the second round, some of the players were still answering questions from the press. We have compiled the voices of the stars.
Bubba Watson: “I was nervous with every shot. I was nervous on every putt. I didn’t have a lead.”
A 63 on the scorecard and still nervous on every stroke? That also only happens with Bubba Watson. The American played by far the best round so far this week on Friday, but he still doesn’t seem to really understand the golf course at Southern Hills, as he admitted in an interview. “I don’t think I’ve learned how to attack the golf course here. If you look closely at my round, I was nervous on every shot. I was nervous on every putt. I didn’t have a lead,” said the two-time major winner. Asked if the strong round was therefore pure luck, Bubba Watson replied in his usual nonchalant manner, “Every round I play is luck. I’ve never had coaching lessons.” – a classic Watson, in fact.
And yet, a round of 63 actually speaks for itself. But Watson doesn’t necessarily believe in his perfect game, or that he understands the course better than others. For the American, the question of victory or defeat is one that is decided between the ears – it’s all about one’s mindset. “Forget about the golf course. It’s about trusting yourself. If you don’t trust yourself, it doesn’t matter if you have the perfect length or the perfect club.”
PGA Championship 2022 – Tiger Woods: “I’ve won tournaments from the cut line.”
It was a big piece of work that Tiger Woods had to do on Friday of the PGA Championship 2022. But the superstar managed a solid round of 69 on the second day of his comeback at Southern Hills, Tiger improved to +3 and now gets to tee off two more times this weekend. Nice for the 15-time Major winner, even nicer for the numerous fans who have carried their superstar since the first hole. In the second Major after his long injury, Tiger makes the cut. Not everyone would have thought he could make such a comeback. And Tiger Woods? After two rounds, he is just happy to be able to play golf at the highest level again. “Coming back here, to a place where I was successful, and playing against the best players in the world, that’s what we all want. Fortunately, somehow I can do that,” Woods said after his round on Friday.
Looking ahead to the weekend, Tiger hasn’t written anything off yet. Especially with Bubba Watson’s performance in mind, Woods believes it’s entirely possible to make up a few more spots this weekend. “There’s a reason you fight hard to make the cut and give yourself a chance this weekend. You just never know when you’re going to get going. I’ve won tournaments from the cut line,” the 46-year-old said. “Hopefully I can play a round tomorrow like Bubba did today.”
Will Zalatoris: “Full focus on everything because we only have four majors a year.”
Will Zalatoris, 25 years young and playing a seventh major ever with the 2022 PGA Championship. But despite his young age, the American already seems to know exactly what matters at a major tournament, as Zalatoris regularly hits top form, especially at the major tournaments. “I think that when it comes to majors, especially since the Masters, I have an attitude that I wanted to enjoy it as much as possible,” the Texas native said. “I don’t want to look back in 20 years and regret my attitude or anything else.”
So far, he should be pleased with himself. After 36 holes, he leads Chilean and PGA Tour rookie Mito Pereira by one stroke. But Zalatoris, who didn’t record a single bogey on his scorecard Friday, also knows he still has a long way to go before he can hold his first major title in his hands. But Zalatoris knows what matters at the 2022 PGA Championship – and at all other majors.
“I have to make sure I’m fully focused in everything I do, because we only have four of these [majors] a year.”
We can look forward to seeing what we can expect as early as today on Moving Day. The top-20 of the leaderboard is packed with world-class players, and each of them will want to take their chance to win the Wanamaker Trophy on Sunday at the PGA Championship.