Notes Gnarly Rough Leftys Bright Outlook

By Associated PressAugust 3, 2007, 4:00 pm
WGC-Bridgestone - 125wAKRON, Ohio -- So this is why they call it rough.
 
The gnarly, wiry, grabby rough at Firestone Country Club took another victim in Friday's second round of the Bridgestone Invitational.
 
Mike Weir, who had an opening 77, shot a 40 on the front side in the second round and then called it quits because of a neck injury.
 
He was walking up the 11th fairway when he called out to playing partners Joe Durant and John Rollins. Weir told them he was pulling out of the tournament, they all shook hands and then he made the long trek to the clubhouse.
 
'I hit a shot out of the rough on 4 and I felt something, and then on 9 I hit one out of the rough and I just felt it tighten right up. I thought there's no way I'm going to ruin this for next week,' Weir said, referring to the PGA Championship next week at Southern Hills.
 
Weir had his neck worked on by a therapist and was told to rest, take anti-inflammatories and apply ice to it.
 
Weir said he would head home to Utah and try to recover. He plans on seeing his chiropractor while he's there.
 
Almost every player said missing a fairway was the same as taking at least a bogey.
 
'The rough is nasty out here,' Hunter Mahan said after shooting a 73 that left him at even-par 140 and six shots behind leader Rory Sabbatini. 'It's not easy to get up and down from anywhere.'
 
Even those with the lowest scores know how difficult it is to hit out of the rough.
 
Zach Johnson has had a good week -- he's alone in second, two shots off the lead -- and he says a missed fairway is a big problem.
 
'You miss the fairway by a yard -- which I did yesterday, and I think it was the only one I missed -- and I couldn't get it to the fairway,' Johnson said after matching the tournament's low round, a 5-under 65 in the second round. 'I hit it about 4 feet on No. 14 yesterday.'
 
NUMBERS LIE
Phil Mickelson is tied for 41st in the 83-player field midway through the Bridgestone Invitational. He's not sure he belongs that far off the lead.
 
Mickelson has not completed a tournament in the U.S. since winning The Players Championship in mid-May. He injured a wrist preparing for the U.S. Open at Oakmont and had to withdraw from the Memorial, then missed the cut in his only other PGA TOUR starts, at the Open and the AT&T.
 
He did finish second in a playoff at the Scottish Open, but then missed the cut at the British Open two weeks ago.
 
Mickelson insisted he's not that far away from playing well.
 
'I played well at the Scottish Open. I played well at the British. I'm actually playing pretty well here,' he said after rounds of 74 and 72 left him at 6-over 146 and 12 shots behind Sabbatini. 'But we're at a U.S. Open-type venue here with the conditions being so tough.'
 
TAMING A MONSTER
The par-5 16th at Firestone Country Club is listed at 667 yards. No wonder the signature hole is called 'The Green Monster.'
 
Yet Charley Hoffman doesn't seem to have any problem with it.
 
'I got lucky I guess,' he said. 'That's the only hole I play good.'
 
Hoffman birdied it in the first round, then eagled it in the second round. Hoffman is 4-over 144 through 36 holes.
 
He walloped a driver 379 yards on Friday, then hit a rescue club 268 yards to the left fringe. From there, he nailed a 30-foot putt for the eagle.
 
Fellow pro Brett Wetterich kidded Hoffman by saying, 'He got lucky.'
 
Hoffman ignored that. He said no sane person would consider the long, long hole reachable in two shots.
 
'Most normal people wouldn't,' he said. 'I probably should have laid up but at the time I felt good about going for it.'
 
DIVOTS
The second-round scoring average of 73.049 was the highest in a round in the nine years the tournament has been a World Golf Championship event. ... Sabbatini has led after 36 holes in three other PGA TOUR events, winning the 2006 Nissan and 2003 FBR while tying for third at the 1999 BellSouth Classic. ... Davis Love III, who has missed the cut in his past four TOUR starts, matched Johnson's 65 for the lowest round of the tournament and is tied for sixth, five shots back. ... Only Arron Oberholser has played a round without making a bogey. ... Lee Westwood, also five off the lead and tied for sixth, is trying to break an 88-tournament winless streak on the PGA TOUR.
 

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