Golf Channel has decided to rearrange their live television broadcast times from Dubai to show all of Rory McIlroy’s second round. I heard this on Golf Channel, but only one mention, and I can’t recall if it was the European Tour Productions guys or Golf Channel itself. I like how Golf Channel will make changes like this on the fly, but, man, they really need to do a better job of publicizing the changes to their schedule. Otherwise, people have no idea. I can’t even find a schedule on Golf Channel’s website, so I can’t verify the change, assuming they have adjusted their online schedule. (They are a television network, for crying out loud; the schedule should be front and center.) Anyway, I think they are going to go live at 3:00 am EST, which is 35 minutes prior to Rory’s tee time. Not sure if they are going to jettison the first live segment to do this, or if this is additional live coverage.
The tournament itself got off to a good start Thursday. Rory shot -6 and sits T-6, two back. Martin Kaymer bounced back from the meltdown at Abu Dhabi with a -5, and sits three back. American Peter Uihlein sits in second place one back. Uihlein started playing some solid, consistent golf since the middle of last year. Up to and including the British Open, Uihlein had a horrible stretch of 13 missed cuts and 1 withdrawal in 16 events. In the 13 events after that, he’s missed only one cut. The only other American in the field, Lipsky, is T-20.
Andy Sullivan was excited up to be playing in the group with Rory and Kaymer, and, even though those two shot great scores, Sullivan topped them, shooting -7.
Wiesberger leads, and there are a lot of big names near the lead: Westwood, Colsaerts, Gallacher, Graeme McDowell. Renato Paratore, the 18 year old, looks ready to have another great event, sitting at T-20 after the opening round.
Emiliano Grillo, who has been playing great golf, finished second here last year, and he looks primed to contend again this year, positioning himself at T-13. Sergio had another miserable round and is T-117. Sergio worked his way up to World No. 3 last year, but he seems unsteady this year. A third-round 77 took him out of the running at Qatar last week, and his first-round 75 at Dubai has done the same this week.