Early observations from Round 1 of the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits

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By JOHN DORN

They're underway at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin for the PGA's final major of the season -- the PGA Championship. After Jordan Speith came away with the first two major victories at the Master and U.S. Open, Zach Johnson posted an epic comeback to grab the British Open title last month.

Looking forward to the final three rounds this weekend, here are our observations from early first-round action.


Dustin Johnson is off to another scorching start
He suffered through an epic collapse toward the end of the U.S. Open, and shot a pair of 75s in the final two rounds of the British Open to fall out of the running. After a first-round 66, Johnson has continued his streak of solid major openings.



There's still plenty of work to do -- and Johnson would know more than anyone -- but the 31-year-old seeking his first major title has put himself in another great position.


Hole No. 3 may pose some issues
In the Open Championship, No. 17 was the tournament's nightmare hole. This weekend, we have No. 3.



But, predictably, it's where the cream of the crop set itself apart from the pack.


Rory McIlroy is golfing again, and he looks... fine
PGA Championship Golf

Playing for the first time since injuring his ankle on Fourth of July weekend, Rory McIlroy is competing. At time of publishing, he's sitting at even par, getting out of a poor, wet lie in the early going. His progress will obviously be worth monitoring, but so far, so good.


Tiger is still struggling
Seeking his first major victory since 2008 -- having missed the cut in four of his nine events this year -- Tiger Woods is off the a bad start. After five bogies, he's sitting at +3 after Round 1 -- but hey, he says he feels great, which is a start.





The conditions were much more favorable early in the day
Player quotes on the weather told us as much. Here's one from Matt Kuchar, who was lucky enough to get an early tee time.



And a more recent account.



Winds should be calmer in the later rounds. But Thursday afternoon, the conditions aren't favorable.

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Early observations from Round 1 of the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits
The flags are blowing as the wind picks up on the grandstands on the 12th hole during the first round of the PGA Championship golf tournament Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, at Whistling Straits in Haven, Wis. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
David Lingmerth, of Sweden, hits a drive on the 16th hole during the first round of the PGA Championship golf tournament Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, at Whistling Straits in Haven, Wis. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Rich Beem reacts to his par putt on the 18th hole during the first round of the PGA Championship golf tournament Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, at Whistling Straits in Haven, Wis. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Zach Johnson watches his shot on the fifth hole during the first round of the PGA Championship golf tournament Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, at Whistling Straits in Haven, Wis. (AP Photo/Jae Hong)
Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, hits a drive on the fifth hole during the first round of the PGA Championship golf tournament Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, at Whistling Straits in Haven, Wis. (AP Photo/Jae Hong)
Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, smile as they walk to the fifth green during the first round of the PGA Championship golf tournament Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, at Whistling Straits in Haven, Wis. (AP Photo/Jae Hong)
A kayaker rows past as Jordan Spieth shoots on the fourth hole during the first round of the PGA Championship golf tournament Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, at Whistling Straits in Haven, Wis. (AP Photo/Jae Hong)
Adam Scott, of Australia, makes his way to the 10th tee during the first round of the PGA Championship golf tournament Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, at Whistling Straits in Haven, Wis. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Miguel Angel Jimenez, of Spain, on the 18th hole during the first round of the PGA Championship golf tournament Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, at Whistling Straits in Haven, Wis. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Jordan Spieth hits a shot on the sixth hole during the first round of the PGA Championship golf tournament Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, at Whistling Straits in Haven, Wis. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
SHEBOYGAN, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 13: Gallery on the ninth hole during Round One at the 97th PGA Championship at Whistling Straits on August 13, 2015 in Sheboygan, WI. (Photo by Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America via Getty Images)
SHEBOYGAN, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 13: Caddie tends the pin on the eighth hole during Round One at the 97th PGA Championship at Whistling Straits on August 13, 2015 in Sheboygan, WI. (Photo by Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America via Getty Images)
SHEBOYGAN, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 13: PGA Club Professional, Matt Dobyns of the United States watches his shot on the ninth hole during Round One at the 97th PGA Championship at Whistling Straits on August 13, 2015 in Sheboygan, WI. (Photo by Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America via Getty Images)
SHEBOYGAN, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 13: Martin Laird of Scotland hits his shot out of the bunker on the eighth hole during Round One at the 97th PGA Championship at Whistling Straits on August 13, 2015 in Sheboygan, WI. (Photo by Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America via Getty Images)
SHEBOYGAN, WI - AUGUST 13: Henrik Stenson of Sweden plays his shot from the third tee during the first round of the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits on August 13, 2015 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
SHEBOYGAN, WI - AUGUST 13: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland plays a shot from the water's edge on the fifth hole during the first round of the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits on August 13, 2015 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
SHEBOYGAN, WI - AUGUST 13: Patrick Reed of the United States walks to the third green during the first round of the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits on August 13, 2015 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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