Dubai: They changed the course up a little bit. I think they might have changed some holes, but I’m not sure. What I remember is that they overseeded with a grass that doesn’t require as much water, so the course is firmer. Now, I don’t know if that had anything to do with Rory’s problems at No. 10, but he’s lost at least two shots there to Goofy Golf. Two fine shots that wound up in the right side bunker.
Dubai and Television: Live coverage on GC will begin at 4:00 am EST Saturday morning. I’m okay with that; I like early. I’ve haven’t watch a ton of Dubai so far, though. Rory started round 1 just as I was headed to bed. He had a putt from the fringe to salvage bogey on his first hole (the aforementioned No. 10), so I turned my TV off, writing him off for a double bogey start. He made the putt, and played the rest of the round in -5. This morning I was up before coverage began, but forgot it was on. When I remembered, I turned it on just in time to see Rory go bogey-bogey-par (on par-5 No. 10…)-bogey. I gave up and turned it off. He played his last seven holes in -4. A good Saturday could put him back in the hunt — and get him more TV time.
Rory tees off 2-1/2 hours before coverage starts. He’s not only T-23, but in a 14-way tie. Playing early-late made him one of the last to post, so he’s teeing off 45 minutes before some of the other T-23 players. Bummer. That Goofy Golf No. 10 hole has lessened my weekend golf viewing pleasure.
Phoenix: Record attendance Friday? Without the Needle Mover? Does not compute… does not compute… does not compute… Rest assured somebody somewhere is staying up all night trying to come up with an acceptable narrative.
And you thought the political debates were boring… I watched the last hour or so of today’s coverage. Is No. 16 the only hole on the course? The fans boo when players miss the green; I heard that today, no kidding; oh… you already knew that? There was also the obligatory “debate” about the hole. If you missed it, you can catch it on Saturday. Or Sunday. Or any of the four days next year. Or the year after that…
Phowler: I created a monster with my New Orleans pep talk last year. Rickie is really playing solid golf. I think he gets one or more majors this year. He seems to be in a very good golfic place. He had a great year in 2015, but I would not be surprised to see him top it in 2016. I expect him to, to be honest. I think he’ll top three worldwide wins (he already has one), with one of them being as big or bigger than the Players. By the way, for those interested, Murrieta to Phoenix is a 346 mile drive.
Rory Afraid of Spieth? Rory says he’d love to face Tiger Woods coming down the stretch in a major. So would every golfer on the planet, including that field goal kicker for Jacksonville. Who they don’t want to face is Jordan Spieth. Hey, let’s get real: Rory has to say that kind of crap because he joined Nike, and they are paying Woods a boatload of money for doing nothing. Dose of Reality: At the 2012 PGA Championship, Rory trailed 36-hole leader Woods by two shots after the second round. In round 3, Rory shot 67 to Woods’s 74. On Sunday, Rory shot 66 to win by 8. Woods shot 72, losing to Rory by 11.
Bubba Trump: Bubba sounds a bit like Donald Trump. Bubba said the only reason he was at the Phoenix Open was his “beautiful” sponsors. He wasn’t going to be “PC” about it he said. Osmosis? Would Bubba like to see the election of Golf’s Candidate?