Final Update: Rory well-positioned. Two shots out of third, heading into the weekend. Unless Luke List plays his last four holes under par, Rory will be playing with Matsuyama again. I found Rory’s post-round interview funny; he was trying to phrase a mild condemnation of the greens — they were a bit bumpy by the end of the day — so it wouldn’t sound too harsh. He realized what he was doing, and that others would know, and he started chuckling and needed a few moments to regain his composure.
I’m already declaring Terry Gannon‘s call of Rory’s putt on No. 18 the Call of the Year, American Division. Rory hit it well left and a bit short, even after watching Matt Kuchar putt on darn near the same line. Gannon: “Interesting… Hmmpffh…” That’s all that was needed! That’s how they call putts on the European Tour, where viewers are shown respect. We saw Rory’s putt was left, we saw it was short, and we knew Kuch had just shown him the line. We didn’t need a rehash. We didn’t need to be told it was a poor putt, that Rory would not be happy with the effort, We did not need “analysis” of whether he pulled/pushed/misread it. Terry Gannon’s simple reaction was perfect, and thus is our Call of the Year, American Division.
I inadvertently left the Golf Channel on while I typed this. Big mistake. The post-game show started, and it could not have been five minutes before they told us that Spieth missing the cut “reminds us just how great Tiger Woods was, and still is.” No, it reminds us that you guys are clinging to straw, continuing to lie about Tiger Woods, still wishing to pass him off as the sui generis Ultimate Golfer of All Eternity and Beyond. Look, no one gives a shit about cuts. That you bring it up shows us how humiliating you find your behavior of the past fifteen years. You sound like a kid who falls off his bicycle, then tearfully tells his friends, “I meant to do that!” Come on, just admit it: you were wrong. Don’t throw good money after bad. Don’t compound your mistake.
6:42 pm Update: Pretty good coverage today, except for a few times when the announcers just couldn’t stop talking. Rory playing solidly (I type as he launches an approach into the gallery). A stumble at the shot par-4 1oth hole, but that happens. I’m starting to get major nervous. As in “a major.” I so want Rory to get his maiden shotmakers win. Some fine players go their entire careers and without ever checking one or more of golf’s important boxes. Watson and Arnie never got a PGA Championship. Phil Mickelson never got a US Open. Trevino never got a Masters. Woods never got a shotmakers victory. Fine golfers, but incomplete golfers. Rory is young and has few boxes left to click; however, he doesn’t regularly play shotmakers events, so let’s hope he can get it done this week. Rory belongs in the top echelon alongside Jack and Bobby and Ben.
3:20 pm Update: Rory begins his round, his bid to join the ranks of great shotmakers. Begins it with… a birdie.
Ian Baker-Finch Hammers Final Nails in Tiger Woods Era
Mainstream Media Catching Up to Lanny H?
CBS Radio overnight host Amy Lawrence ran an interview with Ian Baker-Finch during her show last night:
Amy Lawrence: So you and I have two completely different perspectives, Ian, because you’re embedded in the golf world. I’m on the outside, and, sure, people are talking about Rory and, of course, people want to see what Jordan Spieth does now in 2016, but, still, the number one name that comes up around golf is Tiger Woods. So inside the golf fraternity, how much of the talk is about tiger woods and about his absence from the Tour?
Baker-Finch: You know, it’s very interesting, but it’s being talked about very little so far this season […] But, really, Tiger hasn’t been competitive for a very long time.
Amy: How much has this group of good, young golfers gone to fill that void left by Tiger Woods?
Ian: Oh, I think you can quite comfortably say now, the last three or four years, it’s a new era. It’s not just recently that it’s not Tiger’s era. It hasn’t been Tiger’s era for a while.
Talked about very little this season? Hmmmm… I wonder if our decision to go Tiger-free had anything to do with that… No… no… that couldn’t possibly be… All the haters say Lanny H isn’t influential…
Rory pummels Spieth by 12! Not Jordan’s best day ever, but Rory had a fantastic round. If Rory gets the “W” and thereby earns his “shotmaker cred,” it will cement his place in golf history. Of course, he’ll still need that elusive Augusta win, but we all know that’s coming. (And, let’s be honest, Riviera is a better golf course.) Until yesterday, I wasn’t sure Rory had the chops for a shotmaker win. My hopes are high.
Lahiri pummels Spieth! Okay, most everyone pummeled Spieth yesterday. I’m not too happy about Anirban having to play two holes this morning. Why wasn’t he given a better tee time yesterday? He’s a top 50 player. It does look like he’ll be able to flow right into round two after finishing up. Fellow Euro Sevener Jamie Donaldson had a good opening and sits at T-27.
The Devil Went Down to L.A. Amateur Charlie Danielson is tied with Rory McIlroy at T-5 after round one. He’s a senior at Illinois, so maybe The North’s Gonna Do It Again.