AKRON, Ohio — Such is the ubiquity of the once-rare score of 59 on the PGA Tour these days that the United States Open champion Graeme McDowell — after first dismissing the notion that anyone could shoot a 59 this week at the W.G.C.-Bridgestone Invitational and duplicate the magic number shot twice in less than a month — began a debate with himself.
The once-rare score of 59 has been recorded twice on the PGA Tour in less than a month. When will be the next?
McDowell started reeling off some of the variables that could soften the 7,400-yard, par-70 South Course at the Firestone Country Club. And he began to hedge his bets about whether any golfer could shoot a 59, as Stuart Appleby did Sunday and Paul Goydos did July 8.
“I’ll tell you what, there’s not much rough here this year,” McDowell said. “There’s probably as little rough as I’ve seen here at Firestone. So from my point of view, the greens are receptive. Will they firm up as the week goes on? I think there’s a little rain forecast, so. …”
So could it happen here? Unlikely, Ernie Els said. He joked that maybe the reason for two 59s popping up in three weeks had to do with the PGA Tour’s setting up courses a little easier to boost television ratings.
“I don’t know if the tour is trying to get some people to watch television again because they’re seeing a lot of birdies, and we’ve all said maybe birdies help viewership,” Els said, laughing. “I don’t know what my take is, there’s even been two 60s, 61s. It’s starting to look like the Nationwide Tour, you know.”