2:30 pm Rory opens bogey-birdie. Wearing “smurf-blue” shoes, according to Sir Nick. Gannon says definitely NOT “North Carolina blue.” (Gannon played and won a basketball championship at NC State!) I would go with a more pedestrian “powder blue.”
1:52 pm Rory is on the course!
PAIRINGS: I’m not keen on the pairings. I seldom am. I still maintain that glamorous pairings on Thursdays and Fridays lead to less glamorous pairings on Sunday:
- Spieth, Matsuyama, Mickelson: 4, 5, and 20: I guess the logic is that people who like Spieth also like Mickelson, and vice versa. Matsuyama is in the group because he’s a rising star fans will either want to see, or will learn about from this pairing. I think Mickelson distracts Spieth, but I don’t think this is horrible for him. But why not Sergio, so you have 4, 5, and 6?
- Rory, DJ, and Justin Thomas: 1, 2, 10: Clearly this is their “bombers” group. But I don’t want these guys being distracted by a game within the game. At least this is a somewhat natural group, with 1 and 2 and another top 10.
That’s just a couple of examples, and this week is not horrid, but I do think spreading these players around would result in better weekends. In a lot of ways, I wish they’d go back to the old system of drawing lots for pairings.
GRAEME MCDOWELL: He’s played well here before, as many will remember, being derailed by one of the goofy golf aspects of the course. He faded on Sunday last week, but still climbed two slots on the OWGR ladder. A good finish here will put him closer to the WGC Firestone field.
SERGIO: Back in action for the first time since the Masters. The win at Augusta was transformative. The simpleton naysayers in the golf media will have to find some other butt for their stale attempts at jokes. (I never understood why the great and well-respected Dan Jenkins targeted Sergio.)
JASON DAY: Also the first time out since Augusta for Jason Day. He’s been struggling and battling physical ailments since last fall. DJ replaced Day as OWGR #1. In the public eye, too.