8:00 pm Update:
Spieth Works His Magic, Turns Four Into Five
After seeing his four stroke lead drop as low as one, Spieth eagles the 18th to restore his lead, plus one. If Jordan can hold on tomorrow, Abu Dhabi is going to be a madhouse.
6:30 pm Update: Jordan makes a 46-foot bomb on No. 12 to increase lead to two shots over Koepka (who is on fire today). Jordan to Koepka, “Get back, Jo!”
I wound up watching very little of the NBC coverage, not just because of the network/start time confusion. Once I tuned in, the dinosauring was ridiculous, so I turned it off almost immediately. If Golf Channel doesn’t ditch that, it’ll be an NFL night for me.
5:05 pm Update: I hope you guys didn’t miss Jordan’s first five holes like I did. What’s with this two hours on NBC on Saturday crap? Tomorrow it’s back to all Golf Channel. Can you imagine watching an hour of an NFL game on ESPN, then two hours on ABC, then back to ESPN for the finish? Today’s nonsense is an aggravation, but the good news is that Jordan is playing great again, so I’ll just sigh and get on with my life.
Morning Line: Jordan hasn’t won yet, of course. We’re only at the halfway point. But a four shot lead ain’t chopped liver. So I’m going to be foolish and look ahead. [For a great writeup of Day Two, check out Stephanie Wei’s report from Hawaii. The word is “journalism.” Two thousand words of well-written, interesting, dinosaur-free journalism.]
The impending January 21 Abu Dhabi meeting of Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy reminds me of nothing so much as Cherry Hills 1960, with Jordan being the young Nicklaus to Rory’s Arnold Palmer. No, Abu Dhabi is not a major, but it is something of a replacement for the matchup we anticipated at St. Andrews last summer. Rory injured his ankle playing soccer in early July, depriving us of that epic matchup. Rory worked to regain his game during the second half of 2015 and appears to have achieved that goal, winning the DP World Championship in November.
As if anything else were needed to add spice to the event, it will be Rory’s first post-eye surgery outing. Speculation — from Rory himself and famed golf writer Lanny H, among others — is that Rory’s putting will improve. If that’s the case, we are in for some titanic battles between Spieth and Rory the next decade or two. It’s mind-boggling, but both Jordan and Rory might end up surpassing Jack’s 18 majors.
Stay tuned for more on Abu Dhabi in the next two weeks. For now, let’s return to sunny Hawaii and hope Jordan can hatch the eggs I’ve already counted.