7:45 pm Final Update: Well, now I’ve heard everything. The reason Justin Thomas is good is because of (a) Tiger Woods, and (b) Golf Channel. I kid you not; that’s precisely what Brandel Chamblee just said. How Phil Mickelson managed to win a Tour event as a college student is hard to fathom because he didn’t have the benefit of either (a) or (b). Same with Scott Verplank in 1985. I mean, no one ever had success as a young guy until now. Seve won at 20 in 1978. Thanks, Tiger! Thanks, Golf Channel (Spanish Edition)! Gosh, Nicklaus never won an event until he was, what, 35? Yup, the reason some golfers are good at a young age is definitely attributable to Woods and Golf Channel.
Justin Rose, age 17, T-4 at the 1998 British Open. Yup, Tiger and Golf Channel…
One last thing: Can we all agree that Tiger Woods, at this point in his career, is nothing special? I think Jimmy Walker has won more in two years than Woods in the past seven years. If not, it is darn close.
6:30 pm Update: Weird day. If Rory could have picked up one more stroke today, he’d have been in a lot better shape. There are so darn many guys tied with or better than him. Lots of good stories on the leaderboard.
Looks like Woods will have DJ tomorrow morning.
Thanks, Tiger: 1:30 pm Update: In a week where the media told the public Woods would be the biggest story in golf even if Rory won five straight majors, where they told the public Woods would still be a huge story ten years from now, where they told the public Woods was still in the hunt this week after making the cut on the number, where they tooted the Tiger horn nonstop, Woods thanked them by refusing to speak to the media after his round.
By the way, most of you probably already know this, but the reason the course was set up so easy today was so that early guys could go low and move up the leaderboard before the leaders teed off. Here’s how it’s supposed to work: Woods plays well enough to shoot, say, a -2 on a normal setup. The easy course setup turns that -2 into a -6. Woods moves from T-60 to T-20 by NBC time. However, that move is illusory because the leaders will also be playing the same easy setup. But NBC won’t mention that; no, they’ll talk about players “hearing footsteps” and “getting nervous seeing Woods on the leaderboard.” And show highlights, over and over, of Woods’s “move.”
Note to Self, 12:15 Update: Make and post YouTube video with audio of “Better than most… better than most… better than most!” over video of Woods chipping three times to reach the green from fifteen away on No. 9.
11:00 am Update: Woods and DaLaet just played the par-5 9th hole in a combined ten strokes. Three for DaLaet, seven for Woods.
10:30 am Update: Woods bogies No. 6. Now +3 for the day, trails DaLaet by two.
9:40 am Update: Woods doubles the second hole. Golf Channel is rounding up everyone who gave an opinion on “What Does Woods Need to Shoot in Order to Win?” to ask them, “What Does Woods Need to Shoot in Order to Win NOW?”
Tiger can win this thing! 8:40 am Update: I didn’t think Woods had a chance, but after watching Golf Channel this morning, I actually will be surprised if he doesn’t win. Here’s the live stream link to follow Woods as he marches to victory.
6:15 am: It’s pitch-dark here at Sawgrass. I have seen a group of star-gazers and a couple of vampires. That’s it; no one else is out. Wait. What’s that I see over there? It’s Tiger Woods walking to the first tee, carrying a flashlight.
Morning Drive has been focused to a ridiculous extent on Tiger Woods this morning. The propaganda is reaching Kim Jong-il proportions. Rory McIlroy is “Rory McIlroy.” Woods, in contrast, is “14-time major winner and two-time Players winner Tiger Woods.” That’s courtesy of Damon Hack. Then he threw it to Rymer and DiMarco who did a segment on… what Tiger Woods needs to shoot in order to win. Guys, he barely made the cut. One stroke more, and he’s not even playing the weekend. Let’s try to keep it real, eh?
I get confused every time I see “Ben Martin” on the leaderboard. I finally figured out why: the similarity of his name to two other current Bens (none of the three would exactly be considered a marquee name):
While I’m on this topic, here’s how to remember the spelling of Peter Uihlein’s name (his father is the head of Titleist):