Why is Jordan Spieth in position to join Ben Hogan (1953) and Tiger Woods (2000) as the only men to win three professional majors in a year?
There's his work ethic, for one. At one point Friday he was the only player at the full-swing practice area, oblivious to the searing afternoon heat.
And in describing the 49-foot bunker shot he holed on No. 18, he revealed that he had consulted local caddies regarding some of Whistling Straits' 1,000-plus bunkers.
"That bunker, and I think one other, have much more sand than the rest," said Spieth, who is three off the PGA Championship lead after a second-round 67. "When I was hitting my approach shot in, I knew that because it was a hybrid, it wasn't going to plug. If it went into that bunker and if it was flat or on the upslope, it wasn't a bad place to be."
Spieth's ball turned out to be almost against the back lip.
"We were thinking about playing 10 feet out to the right, given my backswing," he said. "It had to be almost straight up and straight down. And the chances of hitting that the right way are so slim, you could easily catch that thin and then you're left with a very likely double bogey.
"So I lined up a little to the right, and as I took it back, I tried to cut across it a bit. I struck it absolutely perfectly. But, no, I was not looking to make that. I would have taken four and walked off a very, very happy guy."
Instead he made a three, one of six birdies in his round.
Easy does it
One of the longest players in the field is also one of the most relaxed. Tony Finau, a Salt Lake City native with eight top-25 finishes in his last 10 PGA Tour events, was not bothered by the storm that suspended play until Saturday.
"I try not to sweat the small things," he said. "I feel fortunate to be out here. I'm having a nice go, so hopefully I can keep that up."
In 13 holes Friday, Finau made four birdies and an eagle on the par-five 16th by hammering a five-iron approach from 234 yards to 11 feet.
"Nice to make a three there," said Finau, who's at seven under.
The third round will begin at about 7:15 a.m. PDT Saturday, 30 minutes after the second round is completed. … Woods' PGA Tour season won't end Saturday even if he misses the cut. He has committed to play in next week's Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C., for the first time in his career. Woods probably would need to win to earn a spot in the FedEx Cup playoffs. … Phil Mickelson provided comic relief Friday by sliding down one of the Whistling Straits hills on a piece of cardboard.