PGA Championship slammin'

IAN HUTCHINSON, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:29 AM ET

TORONTO - Admit it, there’s a fascination for bad boys. PGA Championship or SummerSlam? Momentum may propel Adam Scott this week. Will the whiners come out in Hot-lanta? How about a Chubby slam?

There’s a WWE pay-per-view Sunday, but if you want a SummerSlam preview, try this week’s major offering in golf, entitled “Glory’s Last Shot.”

That’s actually a goofy misnomer for the PGA Championship. Once it’s over, the hype machine that is the PGA Tour will turn its attention to the FedEx Cup as the symbol of season supremacy the same way the WWE will move on to its next event as the latest and greatest once SummerSlam is over.

For now, the PGA Championship is the “it” tournament, but usually a weak sister compared to the other three majors. This year, things are different with all of the pre-tournament treachery, backstabbing and verbal body blows that would either make the WWE proud or jealous.

The PGA of America, which runs this event, would be well-advised to string ropes around a green at the Atlanta Athletic Club and let Tiger Woods and his one-time pal and caddie Stevie Williams have at it with chair shots.

The Tiger-Stevie spat is only one instance of men behaving badly lately in a season highlighted by refreshing stories, including young Rory McIlroy’s win at the U.S. Open.

Yet, even McIlroy has changed his image from the kid who charmed the world to a bit of a bad boy. After growing up in blustery Northern Ireland, he claimed he’s a fair weather player and not fond of the conditions so associated with the British Open.

Then, he tells a commentator to shut up on Twitter, adding that he’s a failed golfer whose opinion means nothing. To go along with that is an apparent flip-flop about playing next year in North America instead of Europe, where only a year ago, he wanted to be with his mates.

Admit it. There’s a fascination with bad boys. Their petulance is as much a reason for drawing eyeballs and television cameras as their talents.

That’s what makes Aussie Adam Scott, 31, such a tantalizing pick this week with his good guy smile and clean rap sheet. He’s the good cop in his relationship with Williams and apparently didn’t even mind when his new caddie stole his thunder after winning last week at Firestone.

What makes Scott such a good pick this week is not because he’s coming in with a win. He actually should have more triumphs on his resume, but he is the classic underachiever whose swing was said to rival Woods’. Like so many other players, Scott never measured up to Tiger in his prime.

Mind you, Scott has some impressive titles including the Players Championship and Tour Championship, but he floundered for a couple of years and missed the cut 10 times in 19 events in 2009.

Things improved last year when he got his first win in two years at the Valero Texas Open and the wave continued into 2011 when four top 10s include a tie for second at the Masters and last week’s win.

“Just playing well on the back nine Sunday at the Masters was the thing that kind of pushed the belief forward,” said Scott of his progress this year.

“Then, I did it again this Sunday,” he added. “I felt like I played really well on the back nine at the right time in a big tournament. Those are big things for your confidence that really help you believe that you can win a major championship.”

Before the bell rings, the world is more concerned with his bag man’s dust-ups than Scott’s momentum. Distracting your opponents is an age-old trick in the squared circle. Who’s to say it won’t work in golf?

Everything else seems to be going that way.

This sounds familiar

Anybody who has played a course with Bermuda grass will know what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to miss the fairway. That’s why you’re hearing so many players talking about the importance of accuracy in Atlanta. Sound familiar? It will be interesting to see if the rough, which will be cut at 21/2 inches, becomes as much of an issue this week as it did at the RBC Canadian Open a couple of weeks ago. There will be a few complaints, but generally, players and whiners in the media cut more slack for a major than they do a national championship. The wild card in how low scores will go this week is the greens. The party line is that they’re firm and fast, running at 12 on the stimp, so both approach shots and putting will be sternly tested, but you have to wonder in the hot, humid conditions expected this week if they’ll soften up.

The heat is on

Generously proportioned British Open champ Darren Clarke on playing in the stifling temperatures of Hot-lanta, as opposed to the cool, damp conditions at Royal St. George’s a few weeks back. “Obviously I’m a finely tuned athlete, so it should not affect me that much.” ... Clarke turns 43 on Sunday. Players in agent Chubby

Chandler’ stable have won all three majors so far this year with Charl Schwartzel (Masters), McIlroy and Clarke, so now we’re talking the possibility of a Chubby Slam in Atlanta. Best choice to complete that Slam? Lee Westwood sound good? Speaking of bad boys, it’s the 20th anniversary of John Daly winning the PGA Championship at Crooked Stick.


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