10:50 pm Update: Phil the Diplomat “It was a challenge to get the ball in the hole. I struggled with the area right around the hole.” No translation necessary.
8:50 pm Update: Chris Kirk doing his part to keep the cut line at +3 instead of +4.
You know, if Rory misses the cut, and Jordan should win, Jordan would be within striking distance of OWGR #1. Rory needs to make this cut and work his way up the leaderboard to a top ten or top five, even if he doesn’t contend. If Rory misses, even a good finish by Jordan will take a big chunk out of the gap.
8:30 pm Update: Rory can’t buy a putt. Phil struggling. Reed and DJ would make a good final pairing for Saturday. Surely the cut line is going to go to +4. Jordan’s score looking better all the time.
6:15 pm Update: Either Fox just figured out how to turn on their gallery mics or else the crowd has gotten exceedingly drunk. I’m hearing weird comments from the… patrons.
Rory off to a good start. I hope he maintains his good play.
4:30 pm Update: Phil Mickelson about start his day. If he can pick up a stroke or two this afternoon, he’ll be sitting pretty for the weekend. Rory in an hour; he’ll need to pick up a couple shots just be in reasonable contention.
4:15 pm Update: Look at Lee Westwood climbing up the leaderboard. Monty teeing off soon; I hope he gets some TV time.
2:20 pm Update: What a No. 1 for Day and Spieth! And Rose! Wow, three birdies. Kisner playing well again; -1 on the day through 11 holes, E and T-27 for the tournament. Branden Grace joins fellow Euro Sevener Marc Warren in the top ten. Shane Lowry, through 8 holes, staying around the lead at T-10.
12:00 Noon: Finally, live television coverage has arrived. Spieth birdied his first hole, Woods bogied his first hole. Could be a fun afternoon/morning.
11:30 am: Stray Thoughts 30 minutes before FS1 live coverage begins:
- Did Butch Harmon tell Rickie not to let the Tiger Woods Freak Show destroy his round? Tilghman just teased, “We will tell you the real reason Tiger is playing right now.”
- Will they go into his contractual obligations, or go in some other direction?
- According to Golf Channel, Tiger’s travails are all due to the swing changes of Chris Como, his post-back-surgery coach. Post back surgery? Something occurs to me… Nah, couldn’t be…
11:00 am: Tale of the Tape: A couple of weeks ago, the golf media made a huge deal out of Woods getting blisters on his hand. I remember mentioning that I got blisters whenever practiced more than usual, so I kept tape in my bag. As soon as I felt a blister coming on, I taped it. Anyway, I notice Woods has tape on two fingers this week.
It makes me wonder if maybe he’s got injuries preventing him from practicing enough to build up the normal calluses.
Course Complaints: Golf Channel, and some others, are missing the point of the player complaints about the greens when they say, “They are the same for everyone.” Consider: If I played Rory on any normal golf course, he would clobber me. If I played him on a golf course made of linoleum tile, I would actually have a chance to compete. So, if a course is in “non-standard” condition, it helps the lesser players by closing the talent factor and upping the luck factor. It’s why rain on a football field or racetrack helps the underdogs. If I beat Rory on the linoleum course, would a Rory complaint be illogical and dismissable? After all, the course was “the same for both of them.”
Apparently, Ernie Els has gone public about the greens, saying they are the worst he’s played in his career, that they are like temporary greens. Interesting, because Ernie has gotten quite a bit of criticism about the greens at Wentworth.
10:10 am Update: For Those Bashing Fox
All the people bashing Fox, are they insane? Did they miss the “comedic wit” of other networks? Did they want Pavin and Flesch to predict whether a putt would be made, then make a joke about jinxing a player for the 10 millionth time? Did they find Buck’s willingness to remain quiet unsettling? Was the final straw when Buck broke ranks and criticized Woods and Steinberg? (Fox paid a lot of money for the US Open, and Woods can’t even talk to them — like Rickie Fowler did.) Was it pointing out the laughter at Woods on No. 18? (Did Buck do that as reprisal for being stiffed on the interview?)
Did they find Fox’s minimal approach to graphics problematic? Did they miss the bullshite scrolls and popups of NBC/Golf Channel? (CBS also deserves kudos for limiting graphics; at this point, CBS and Fox Sports rule the golf world.)
Oh, yeah, the bashing of Fox for not having the leaderboard? It wasn’t their fault. From a very good article on Fox’s coverage from the Seattle Times:
It turns out that glitch wasn’t the network’s fault. Fox spokesman Dan Bell said the scoring system provided by USGA and their technology partner had a breakdown that affected the entire compound, including Golf Channel, TV Asahi and Sky Sports.
Do you miss the oh-so-illuminating post-round interviews of NBC and Golf Channel?
My fears were twofold: That Fox would overdo their “new technology,” and that they would give us “Blair Witch Project” camera work. Neither fear was founded.
My complaints are so minor as to not merit mention at this early stage. Methinks the bashing mostly stems from the frustration of the Woods Only crowd taking out their frustrations on Fox, making Buck and Norman their scapegoats.
Seeing all the negative commentary aimed at Fox, I sent them a tweet of support. Hyperbolic? Perhaps. But they are so far ahead of NBC/Golf Channel, it’s not funny.
[Clarification: I consider Faldo and Gannon to be CBS, not Golf Channel.]
8:00 am Update
- I remember a time when a certain player getting angry during a round was considered proof of his competitiveness. It showed he cared about the outcome and was not happy with anything less than excellence, blah blah blah. With Bubba Watson, yesterday, we were told it’s proof he can’t control his emotions and that such behavior destroys a round. For the record, Bubba managed to finish T-26 even though he had two double bogeys. Also let it be noted that Woods’s hangdog face morphing into I-give-up guffawing was not criticized the way Bubba’s frustrations were. But, tell me, which showed more competitiveness?
- Many of the Tiger Woods suggestions from the media are just plain wacko. Charlie Rymer said this morning Woods should take off the rest of the year. As if Nike doesn’t have performance clauses in their contracts concerning the number of tournaments/majors played. As if Quicken Loans would be fine sponsoring a Tigerless Tiger-hosted tournament. And as if Greenbrier would pay him his appearance fee if he didn’t actually appear.
- On a related note, Gary Williams just voiced incredulity that Woods could play so well at Augusta, but play so poorly now. The truth is that the incredulity should have been voiced for the T-17 at Augusta; Woods’s next best result in all of 2014 and 2015 is a T-25. After that, it gets real ugly real fast.
- Isn’t Jordan Spieth, playing in the tougher half of the draw and sitting on T-7 while going for the second leg of the grand slam a bigger story than Woods playing poorly yet again.
- Two Make Me Pay players (Day and Spieth) are in the top ten. The two others (Rory and Henley) are still in the hunt at +2 and +1.
- The Euro Seven are doing quite well. It does seem like the ones who got the morning draw yesterday did substantially better. It will be interesting to see how things play out today. I should also point out that Sneds did well.
7:20 am: Cognitive Dissonance The golf media’s continuing obsession over Tiger Woods is getting harder and harder for them to rationalize. Woods, who hasn’t won in nearly two years, shoots 80 and it’s a major story worthy of hours of discussion. Fowler, the Players Champion, shoots 81 and it’s brushed aside as “a bad round.” So an occasional bad round is not newsworthy, but a series of bad rounds are? Well, most of professional golf is made up of guys who frequently have bad rounds; they don’t last long, and they get no coverage.
Has Tiger Woods reached the stage where he’s famous because he’s famous?
Beavis: [watching a Tom Petty video] Hey Butt-head, how come Tom Petty is famous?
Butt-Head/Golf Channel: Because he’s on TV, dumbass.
Beavis: Yeah, but like… but how did he get on TV?
Butt-Head/Golf Channel: Uh… because he’s famous.
Beavis: Yeah, but, I mean, like, how did he get famous?
Butt-Head/Golf Channel: He got famous because he’s on TV.
Beavis: YEAH, YEAH, BUT HOW DID HE GET ON TV?
Butt-Head/Golf Channel: Because he’s famous, Beavis! Now shut up before I smack the bejesus out of you!
6:45 am: How Bad Was Woods? Going by memory, about 20 of the top 25 came from the morning wave. The afternoon had tougher conditions: drier fairways and greens, more wind, and quite bumpy greens. Woods lost his group by only three strokes. He had the bad side of the draw.
On the other hand, he tied or beat only two guys from the afternoon wave, Rickie Fowler and Billy Hurley III. (I think Rickie Fowler was negatively affected by the Tiger Woods Rolling Freak Show Revue. Woods is going to be outside the top 200 in the world before he next plays; organizers need to stop grouping him with true contenders; it’s unfair to them.) And two guys from the group directly in front of him — Spieth and Day — shot scores putting them in the top ten.