Thunder, lightning and lightning struck the Southern Hills Club in Oklahoma, home of the 2022 PGA Championship, ahead of the third round of the season's second major. The heat of previous days in Tulsa gave way to a change in weather (17 degrees cooler than Friday), which even delayed the start of the day, but no one could predict that the storm would not only come from breaking the sky but from the own green rug.
Especially for a 'specific species' of golfer: the number ones... that we remember there have only been 25 throughout history. If the current leader of the ranking, the American Scottie Scheffler (8 weeks as world leader), and the dominator of the ranking for 135 weeks, the also American Dustin Johnson, had already headed home early by not making the cut.
.. the third tour engulfed four more.
Tiger Woods, ranking
The one who was resoundingly shipwrecked after acting as a hero on the second day was Tiger Woods (683 weeks dominating the ranking). The 46-year-old Californian who battles lameness and pain had a bitter day.
79 shots, +9, for a +12 that takes him to the last place in the standings and threatens his worst major (of which he made the cut) surpassing the 23 shots that separated him from the winner in the British 2014 and the Masters 2022 In fact, that +9 is the second worst card ever presented by the Tiger in a big game, only behind the +10 of the third day of the British 2002.
Another nightmare suffered Jon Rahm (43 weeks in charge). The 'Lion of Barrika' came out wanting to show that by adjusting his short game and being more precise with his putt he could climb positions... but nothing came of it.
Six bogeys (2, 6, 8, 11, 16 and 18) and no birdies led him to 76 hits and an aggregate of +8. Something better went for the Englishman Rose (13) despite seeing the positive symbol in front of him (+1 for a total of +2). Four other number ones also had a tough day: the North American Koepka (47) and the Australian Day (51) closed with +2 and +4 and +5 overall; 'hex' joined by McIlroy (106) with +4 (par in total) and with his tremendously limited options for success after firmly leading the first day of the tournament, a scenario similar to that of Justin Thomas (5) although somewhat more optimistic which closed the day with +4 (-2 in the aggregate).
To the disaster of the aforementioned numbers one were added more big names like Morikawa (+8), Cantlay (out of the cut), Spieth (+5), Hovland (+5)... On the other side of the coin, two names stand out as exciting surprises at the 104th edition of the PGA.
Adri Arnaus and the Chilean Mito Pereira (solo leader with 3 strokes ahead of the American Will Zalatoris and the English Matt Fitzpatrick). The 27-year-old Catalan, five years without playing a major and who won his first DP World Tour tournament this May after 19 top-10s, still dreams of achieving a great result after closing the third day on par with the field and in 17th place .
None of the top four in the current standings know what it's like to win a PGA Tour tournament. On Sunday, Southern Hills will pass sentence... and it may not be the expected one after what has been seen so far.