Coming from behind is not Tiger's thing

Tiger Woods of the United States lines up a putt on the second green during the third round of the...

Tiger Woods of the United States lines up a putt on the second green during the third round of the 94th PGA Championship at the Ocean Course in Kiawah Island, S.C., on Saturday

IAN HUTCHINSON, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:25 PM ET

Whether it comes from armchairs, computers or TV towers, the thing about conventional wisdom is there is no such thing.

The pundits of puttdom may have said just 24 hours ago that Tiger Woods with the 36-hole lead in a major such as the PGA Championship now being contested at Kiawah Island is as close to a lock as there can be at that point in a tournament.

Yet, in a display similar to his performance at the U.S. Open just two months ago, where he was tied with Jim Furyk and David Toms the way he was Friday when he was the co-leader with Vijay Singh and Carl Pettersson, Woods once again has faded from the top.

Of the trio who sat atop the leaderboard Friday evening, only Singh could keep pace with the thundering herd from behind.

At six under, Singh, 49, is the co-leader, along with Rory McIlroy, 23, who was four under through nine holes before the third round was called off due to weather.

Singh was two under on the day, Pettersson was even par, but Tiger was three over through seven and five shots off the pace.

One thing he’s not known for is coming from behind in the final round, so he’ll have to get it going quickly when play resumes Sunday.

Weather and grit are elements of golf that can’t be predicted by the self-styled experts and both will be important before this is over.

Unlike Woods, the guys around him on the leaderboard have been frequently written off by those who dispense the wisdom of the ages.

To win as many majors as he has requires character, so Woods can draw on that, but he can also draw something positive out of the likes of Singh, McIlroy and Adam Scott.

The grit they’re displaying can either be an inspiration or the reason Tiger is denied his 15th major on Sunday.

If any of the prognosticators say they chose Singh to become the oldest man ever to win a major at the start of the proceedings at Kiawah Island, it might be wise to hook them up to a lie detector, but he’s now a machine with his 50th birthday on the horizon.

Despite his tender age, McIlroy has been written off a couple of times already by the experts, most notably after his final-round collapse at last year’s Masters.

Forget the fact that he was in contention at 22 years of age.

That all changed when McIlroy bounced right back to win the U.S. Open, but then, after his win at the Honda Classic, his moribund play this season had the gurus talking about too much of the good life for young McIlroy, but here he is on top, even after shooting a 75 Friday.

That’s the same Friday score shot by Scott, who is just one shot back of the leaders after going four under through nine holes on Saturday.

Just like McIlroy at last year’s Masters, Scott was supposed to be devastated by his British Open meltdown.

There are no tears from Scott going into a long day on Sunday.

Tiger was battling his swing on Saturday and his hot putter of the first two rounds had abandoned him. Nobody has written him off, nor should they, but on an unpredictable weekend with nature’s forces playing such an important role, he needs to draw on something intangible.

If he is successful, it will be something that the self-appointed experts can’t see.

THE RORY TREE

Back at the U.S. Open, we heard about the Lee Janzen Tree on the fifth hole at the Olympic Club. At the 1998 Open, Janzen’s tee shot went into some cypress trees. When he couldn’t find it, he headed back to re-tee, but then his ball fell out of a tree.

A tree on the third hole at the Ocean Course should now be called the Rory Tree after McIlroy, just one shot off the lead at the time, hit an errant tee shot that nobody could find until it was finally noticed imbedded in the limb of a tree.

McIlroy took an unplayable lie, with a one-stroke penalty, and still made par.

BJORN TO BE WILD

If par is your friend on a tough course such as Kiawah, then Thomas Bjorn of Denmark was one lonely guy for most of his third round after he birdied his first four holes, had bogeys on his next three, a birdie on eight and bogeys on nine and 10. Bjorn got his first par on 11 before finishing with a 74. He’s seven over ... Zach Johnson needed a defibrillator or a new pair of underwear after the horn sounded for the weather delay. Judging by the way he jumped, it might have been both ... One of only five sub-par rounds in a difficult second round on Friday has been stricken from the books as Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey has been disqualified after signing for a 70, but not including a two-stroke penalty that he should have taken. Realizing his mistake, Hoey informed rules officials himself ... Dutch golfer Joost Luiten will have to play extra holes for the second straight day. Luiten played the 18th hole from his second round early Saturday morning. He finished 12 holes of his third round before the weather delay on Saturday.


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