1:21 pm Update
Rory’s group already waiting on Mickelson who was wild off the tee box on No. 1. Had to get a sign moved. Hits out, has to get marshals to move gallery again. Over the green and into a bunker. The two Europeans are not going to countenance Mickelson’s nonsense if he plans a repeat for today. (They both birdied No. 1 to Mickelson’s bogey.) Best players in the world are laughing at Mickelson from the No. 1 tee box where they are finally about to tee off — 11 minutes late.
The final flight are all in a greenside bunker on their tee shots. Took Mickelson three to reach the greenside bunker. Just sayin’. Karma?
12:10 pm Update: One hour until Rory! (30 mins until Jordan)
Live coverage on the air! Gannon on the mic! And away we go!
Fire Rich Lerner (11:17 am)
Can’t believe what he just said. Chamblee bailed him out. “No one is going to call Dustin Johnson a cerebral player.” Why not? Because he doesn’t run his mouth like a fake news television reporter? Chamblee — whom it pains me to praise — recovered the fumble with, “Well, I think he’s a cerebral player.” Folks, if there is one thing I want to stress to you, it is this: Beware the Media Narrative. Goes triple when that media outfit is NBC…
You da retired man! Notice how the “In the hole!” and “You da man!” idiot population has declined to almost zero at golf tournaments? Nice, isn’t it. With Woods gone, so too are the screamers. The connection can no longer be denied.
Unwatchable: NBC coverage continues to lag that of CBS by light-years. For some reason, NBC decided Brandt Snedeker was a more compelling story than Jordan Spieth. At the time I noticed it, both were at -4, and Jordan had played one fewer hole. They kept repeating what a great round Snedeker had going, blah, blah, blah, completely ignoring Spieth. For the record, Snedeker would up -5 for the day, Spieth -8.
The obsession over admitted inside trader Phil Mickelson was bizarre. It was as bad as anything produced during the Tiger Woods era. Mickelson hit the ball all over the place on this “tree-lined course,” that term meaning you can hit your drive just about anywhere and still have an approach shot. We were treated to shot after shot of Mickelson looking for his ball, then hitting easy “recovery shots” NBC treated like 3-minute miles.
No-drama Dustin Johnson is fast becoming, if not a cheering favorite of mine, a television favorite of mine. A tee shot of his lodges in a tree only until DJ takes a lost ball, then falls. DJ laughs it off. That’s golf. Because it is. NBC seemed disappointed they couldn’t gin up an aggrievement protest suitable for Rachel Maddow.
Rory, dragged down by Mickelson yesterday, is still just two off the pace, sitting in third. Of course, the leader is arguably the Tour’s hottest player this season, and second place is World No. 1. Good grouping for him, nevertheless. His presence will be a constant reminder to DJ and Justin Thomas that McIlroy is “in the house.” And Mickelson won’t be tagging along, like a beginner in a foursome with three scratch players.
Mickelson will share his, uh, personality, charm, charisma — or whatever mocking word you wish to use — to a crusty, acerbic veteran (Lee Westwood) and a Spaniard less than half his age (Jon Rahm). FITJAFBI (F’ing Inside Trader, Just Ask the FBI) best keep the ball in the fairway today because I don’t think Westwood and Rahm will be the welcoming committee McIlroy and Fisher were.