A look at some of the quotes from the top players after the first round of the 2018 PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, where Gary Woodland leads by one after a 6-under 64.
Players featured include Rickie Fowler, Zach Johnson, Justin Thomas, and Tiger Woods.
JT is the only Ryder Cup rookie in the Top-8 right now. How much time have you and some of the other vets spent with maybe some of the other potential rookies like Xander or Tony or Bryson?
FOWLER: They’re guys we see week-in and week-out, play some practice rounds together. I haven’t spent a whole lot of time with those guys, I mean Bryson and I, we’re around each other quite a bit from practicing to doing some Puma stuff together.
Obviously all great players. Bryson’s been playing well. Tony’s an impressive golfer, ball-striker, and you look at Xander, obviously the finish he had coming up through last year’s FedExCup. So it will be interesting to see how everything kind of plays out and how the picks for the team wind up working out as well.
2 FOWLER – 34-31-65 (-5)
Was it a wise move to move this championship to May?
JOHNSON: Well, I think it’s an indifferent move. I think it’s a wise move as far as scheduling, but as far as golf courses, I think it’s indifferent. I think what it does is it opens up a lot of courses, you know, St. Louis, Charlotte, and south, which is cool because there’s a massive geographic region there that just rarely gets any majors.
Now, there’s some on the schedule that are committed in the north, but that’s the way commitments go. So I think the positives far outweigh any negatives.
T3 Z. JOHNSON – 33-33-66 (-4)
How do you feel you did out there today?
THOMAS: I played well. Obviously, I’m not very pleased with my back nine. I’ve never had my ball end up in somebody else’s pitch mark in a bunker before. That was a pretty terrible break on my last hole. Could have cost me one or two strokes. It’s just unfortunate for someone not to rake it, but it is what it is.
I played well on the front nine. Had some good holes on the back nine too. Had a couple of putts that didn’t quite go in. Had a nasty lip on the 16th hole. Definitely a lot more positives to take the negatives, and I’m in a good position for Thursday.
T33 THOMAS – 32-37-69 (-1)
Thoughts on playing with the young guns like JT?
WOODS: I told the story the other night at the Champions Dinner when I played with Jack at Valhalla, 18 years ago, that was his last PGA, and he was telling me the story that he played with Gene Sarazen in his last PGA.
It’s interesting what this game of golf can do, how we can basically last for so many different generations. And now I’m playing with — the reason why I was telling the story is because J.T. invited me to speak on behalf of himself and PGA of America a little bit, and J.T. was 7 years old when we were at Valhalla, and he was in the clubhouse when I made that putt on 18.
So kind of trying to tie in Gene Sarazen, Jack, and little J.T. there, and now he’s PGA champion for the last year, 17 years later. So it’s pretty neat.
T48 WOODS – 37-33-70 (E)