Golf Talk Live - Chris DiMarco Transcript Segment 1

By Golf Channel NewsroomApril 19, 2001, 4:00 pm
RICH LERNER
CHRIS DIMARCO GAVE UP HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL TO CONCENTRATE ON GOLF, LANDING IN HIS HOME STATE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA. HE THEN CHASED HIS DREAM ON THE BUY.COM TOUR

BEFORE FINALLY BREAKING THROUGH TO WIN ON THE PGA TOUR. THE THRILL RIDE
CONTINUED AT THE MASTERS. MEET CHRIS DIMARCO, NEXT ON GOLF TALK LIVE.


RICH LERNER
THE ROADSIDE MARKER MIGHT SAY LATELY, BUT IN YOUR HEART YOU KNOW IT'S NOT YOUR ULTIMATE DESTINATION. ONLY YOU KNOW WHERE THAT IS. YOU AND YOUR BEST FRIEND FOR ALL TIME.
SHE KNOWS YOU BETTER THAN ANYONE YOU EVER MET.

IT MIGHT TAKE YOU A FEW YEARS, AND AFTER LAKELAND, YOU'LL HAVE TO STOP IN LITTLE ROCK AND THEN LANSING AND THAT'S ONLY THE LETTER 'L', BUT YOU NEVER LOOK BACK. YOU JUST KEEP

GOING, AND THEN FINALLY, YOU'RE THERE, AT THE PLACE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT AS A KID WHEN YOU WERE BEATING JACK, AND ARNIE, AND GARY AND THE GAMES YOU PLAYED BY YOURSELF LATE ON A SUMMER'S DAY

WHEN ALL YOU DID WAS PLAY AND PLAY AND PLAY. THIS TIME IT'S FOR REAL, AND FOR TWO ROUNDS, YOU'RE LEADING THE GUY WHO'S EVEN BETTER THAN THE LEGENDS YOU BEAT IN YOUR MIND AS A BOY. AT 32, YOU DRIVE RIGHT DOWN MAGNOLIA LANE AND PULL UP ALONGSIDE

THE FASTEST, STRONGEST RACE CAR IN THE FIELD AND YOU DON'T FLINCH. YOU DON'T CROSS THE FINISH LINE FIRST, BUT YOU KNOW NOW, YOU CAN RUN WITH THE BEST THERE EVER WAS, AT ONE OF THE GREATEST PLACES THERE EVER WAS.

YOU BELONG THERE, AND BOY DO YOU HAVE STORIES TO TELL ABOUT THE TIME YOU HUNG WITH TIGER WOODS WHEN HE SCALED THE HIGHEST DAMN MOUNTAIN ANYBODY'S EVER SEEN. YOU WERE THERE AND YOU'RE GOING BACK.

WELCOME TO GOLF TALK LIVE. I'M RICH LERNER. GREAT PLEASURE TO INTRODUCE YOU TO CHRIS DIMARCO. GOOD TO SEE YOU CHRIS.

CHRIS DIMARCO
THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

RICH LERNER
BETTER THAN YOU IMAGINED, AUGUSTA NATIONAL, WHEN YOU WERE BEATING JACK AND ARNIE AND GARY IN THOSE GAMES AS A CHILD?

CHRIS DIMARCO
OH YEAH, THOSE, THOSE WERE EASIER BACK THEN, I ALWAYS HAD MULLIGANS.

RICH LERNER
(LAUGHS)

CHRIS DIMARCO
UM, YOU KNOW, IT WAS, IT WAS UNBELIEVABLE. IT WAS SUCH A GREAT WEEK.

RICH LERNER
CALMED DOWN A LITTLE BIT I KNOW IT WAS, IT WAS ONE OF THOSE EXHILARATING WEEKS. DID YOU HAVE A CHANCE TO KICK BACK AT ALL, REFLECT?

CHRIS DIMARCO
I DID, YESTERDAY WAS GREAT. WE GOT TO HAVE EVERYBODY OVER FOR A FAMILY AND HAD A NICE EASTER SUNDAY. IT'S JUST BEEN A GREAT WEEK. I MEAN I'VE HAD NOTHING BUT POSITIVE THINGS SAID THE WHOLE TIME AND IT'S JUST BEEN, IT'S BEEN FABULOUS.

RICH LERNER
I KNOW BEFORE YOU WENT TO AUGUSTA NATIONAL YOU PICKED THE BRAINS OF A NUMBER OF PGA TOUR PLAYERS WHO HAD BEEN THERE. WHEN YOU GO BACK NEXT TIME, WHAT WILL YOU TELL THE GUY WHO ASKS YOU, AS A FIRST TIMER, WHAT HE SHOULD LOOK FOR AT AUGUSTA NATIONAL?

CHRIS DIMARCO
YOU KNOW, IF, IF HE GOES THERE AND HE WATCHES, IF HE, IF HE KNOWS ANYTHING ABOUT AUGUSTA, HE'S OBVIOUSLY WATCHED IT ON TV SO MANY TIMES, AND I'LL TELL YOU, I LEARNED A LOT EVEN FROM WATCHING TV OVER THE YEARS.

ALWAYS TO HIT IT OVER THE BUNKER ON 12 AND NOT TRY TO HIT IT AT THE PINS. YOU KNOW, 12'S A, A VERY HARD HOLE, 11 THE SAME THING, I MEAN, I, I WOULD JUST SAY HAVE FUN. THAT'S ALL I DID. I WENT THERE, MY EXPECTATIONS, OBVIOUSLY WERE PRETTY GOOD. I FINISHED WELL THE WEEK BEFORE. I WASN'T GOING THERE JUST TO, TO PLAY GOLF AND, AND

JUST ENJOY THE GREEN. I WAS GOING TO COMPETE, I REALLY WAS, AND IT WAS, OBVIOUSLY AFTER TWO DAYS I, I WAS COMPETING PRETTY GOOD AND I WAS VERY EXCITED.

RICH LERNER
WHAT IN THE GOLF COURSE AGREED WITH YOU... SO, SO NICELY? BECAUSE EVEN FROM THE START, YOUR PRACTICE ROUNDS, YOU WERE KIND, YOU WERE DIALED IN, AND, AND SEEMED TO HAVE VERY LITTLE PROBLEM WITH THE GOLF COURSE.

CHRIS DIMARCO
YOU KNOW, I JUST OBVIOUSLY, I OVERLAPPED FROM THE WEEK BEFORE. I THINK I WAS PLAYING REAL WELL. I SAID A LOT OF TIMES ON SUNDAY, THE COURSE IN ATLANTA PLAYED SO HARD WITH THE
WIND BLOWING ABOUT 40 MILES AN HOUR
AND THE GREENS WERE VERY

UNDULATING AND VERY FAST AND I THINK IT GOT ME READY FOR THEM. I WASN'T OVERWHELMED WITH THE SPEED OF THE GREENS AT AUGUSTA. I KNOW IT WASN'T

AS SPEEDY AS, AS EVERYBODY SAYS IT WAS SUNDAY, IT GOT A LITTLE FASTER,
BUT, IT WAS, I JUST THINK, OVER ALL, SUNDAY HELPED ME FROM THE WEEK BEFORE A LOT.

RICH LERNER
65 IN ROUND NUMBER ONE. YOU LOOK AT THAT LEADERBOARD. STICKER SHOCK AT ALL?

CHRIS DIMARCO
YOU KNOW IT WAS FUNNY, I, I, I REMEMBER, I ALWAYS WANTED TO GO THERE AND GET SOME CRYSTAL FROM, FROM AUGUSTA. OBVIOUSLY I WANTED TO GET THE JACKET BUT CRYSTAL WOULD BE NICE AND WHEN I HAD ABOUT TWO OR THREE HOLES LEFT I'M LIKE, WELL I GOT TO GET THIS IN SO I GET, YOU KNOW, LOW ROUND OF THE DAY. GET ME SOME CRYSTAL TO BRING

RICH LERNER
YEAH

CHRIS DIMARCO
HOME, AND, YOU KNOW, I JUST, I WAS PLAYING SO GOOD. I WAS HITTING IT IN THE FAIRWAY, I WAS HITTING ON THE GREEN AND I WAS MAKING A LOT OF PUTTS AND IT JUST, IT WAS ONE OF THOSE DAYS, YOU JUST, IT WAS EASY AND IT JUST HAPPENED TO BE THE RIGHT TIME.

RICH LERNER
WHAT IF ANYTHING ABOUT AUGUSTA NATIONAL, EITHER THE GOLF COURSE OR THE GROUNDS OR THE WAY THE TOURNAMENT WAS CONDUCTED SURPRISED YOU?

CHRIS DIMARCO
UM

RICH LERNER
WHAT BLEW YOU AWAY?

CHRIS DIMARCO
YOU KNOW, THE HILLS. THERE WERE, IT WAS A LOT HILLIER THAN, THAN IT LOOKS ON TV. THE, THE GREENS WERE SO UNDULATED, TV REALLY DOES IT NO JUSTICE WITH, WITH THE UNDULATIONS IN THERE AND REALLY THE FAN SUPPORT, IS
PHENOMENAL AT AUGUSTA.

RICH LERNER
WELL WHAT'S DIFFERENT ABOUT THE PATRONS AT AUGUSTA AND THOSE AT AN AVERAGE PGA TOUR EVENT?

CHRIS DIMARCO
YOU KNOW, ONE, I MEAN GRANTED I PLAYED WELL, SO, THE LAST THREE DAYS EVERY HOLE I WALKED UP I GOT A STANDING OVATION. IT WAS UNREAL. I THINK THEY GO THERE TO PLAY, TO WATCH GOLF, BASICALLY THAT'S WHAT THEY'RE THERE FOR. THEY'RE NOT THERE FOR THE PARTY, THEY'RE NOT THERE TO

HAVE TEN BEERS AND HAVE A GOOD TIME WITH ALL THEIR BUDDIES. I THINK THEY'RE THERE TO WATCH GOLF AND THEY'RE THERE TO ENJOY THE GAME OF GOLF AND THEY RESPECT IT AND I THINK THAT THAT IS , YOU KNOW, THAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART, YOU KNOW, OF AUGUSTA. TRADITION AND HOW GREAT THE FANS ARE.

RICH LERNER
MORE NERVE RACKING TEEING OFF ROUND ONE THURSDAY OR ROUND THREE WITH TIGER WOODS?

CHRIS DIMARCO
YOU KNOW, I, I HAD, I'D NEVER PLAYED WITH TIGER SO IT WAS MY FIRST TIME, OBVIOUSLY, AT THE MASTERS, NUMBER ONE PLAYER ON SATURDAY WITH THE LEAD, SO IT WAS A PRETTY BIG TIME.
I HAD TRIED TO ALWAYS THINK, YOU KNOW, I DON'T WANT THE SHOW THAT

GOES WITH HIM. I ALWAYS TRY TO AVOID THAT IF I COULD, NOT HAVING TO PLAY WITH WOODS, I WAS LIKE OKAY I MISSED HIM BY A SHOT, JUST BECAUSE IT'S A CIRCUS THAT GOES AROUND WITH HIM AND I WAS REALLY READY TO DO IT.

I WAS SO CONFIDENT THE NIGHT BEFORE. I WAS EXCITED TO PLAY. I KNEW THE FAN BASE THERE AND I'LL TELL YOU WHAT, I, IT WAS PRETTY AWESOME ON THAT FIRST TEE WHEN THEY INTRODUCED ME AND THE ROAR I GOT. IT WAS REALLY, REALLY COOL. IT SETTLED ME DOWN COMPLETELY.

RICH LERNER
HOW OVERWHELMING ARE HIS GALLERIES?

CHRIS DIMARCO
YOU KNOW, AT AUGUSTA, IT'S DIFFERENT BECAUSE THEY LIMIT THE AMOUNT OF PEOPLE THAT CAN COME IN

RICH LERNER
MHMM

CHRIS DIMARCO
BUT AT A NORMAL TOURNAMENT, IT, IT'S JUST A WAVE OF PEOPLE. I MEAN YOU SEE HIM AND IT'S JUST A WAVE OF PEOPLE FOLLOWING HIM AROUND THE COURSE.

RICH LERNER
WHAT DID YOU SAY TO HIM IN THE MIDDLE OF ROUND NUMBER THREE WITH REGARDS TO THE AMOUNT OF FANS THAT FOLLOW.

CHRIS DIMARCO
WE WERE WALKING DOWN NUMBER TEN AND I JUST HAPPENED TO, WE, WE WERE WALKING RIGHT NEXT TO EACH OTHER AND THERE WAS PEOPLE YELLING CHRIS,

AND TIGER AND YOU KNOW, AND I SAID BOY, I SAID THIS IS YOU EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR, ISN'T IT? AND THEN HE GOES
EVERYDAY, HE GOES HOW DO YOU LIKE MY WORLD? AND I WENT

I SAID YOU CAN HAVE IT. HE CAN HAVE IT.

RICH LERNER
HE, HE'S NOT, IN THE COURSE OF, OF PLAY THIS OVERLY INTENSE OGRE THAT, I THINK SOME PEOPLE MAYBE MAKE HIM OUT TO BE, THAT WHEN YOU GO TO BATTLE WITH TIGER WOODS, YOU WON'T SAY TWO WORDS TO HIM BECAUSE HE'S SO LOCKED IN TO WHAT HE'S DOING. DIFFERENT STORY ISN'T IT?

CHRIS DIMARCO
YOU KNOW HE'S JUST REALLY FOCUSED AND HE'S HAVING A FUN TIME OUT THERE. DON'T LET HIM KID YOU WITH, WITH THE BUSINESS LIKE ATTITUDE. HE IS HAVING FUN. HE IS AT HIS ELEMENT WHEN HE'S LEADING THE TOURNAMENT IN A SITUATION. HE WANTS THE BALL WHEN

EVERYTHING'S ON THE LINE AND YOU CAN SEE IT, AND HE HAS SO MUCH FUN WITH IT, AND I'LL TELL YOU, I GOT A PIECE OF THAT THAT WEEK AND IT WAS FUN AND NOW I UNDERSTAND WHY HE LOVES IT SO MUCH BECAUSE IT IS REALLY, YOU KNOW, EXHILARATING.

RICH LERNER
WHAT, IN HIS GAME SURPRISED YOU? YOU'D HEARD EVERYTHING. YOU'VE SEEN HIM HIT BALLS AT THE PRACTICE AREA. ANYTHING CATCH YOU OFF GUARD WHERE YOU SAY, WOW, I, I DIDN'T REALIZE IT WAS LIKE THIS.

CHRIS DIMARCO
UM, HE'S REALLY LONG.

RICH LERNER
(LAUGHS)

CHRIS DIMARCO
HE'S HE'S

RICH LERNER
YOU KNOW IT'S SO MUCH FUN TO HEAR A, A TOUR PLAYER TALK ABOUT ANOTHER GUY, HE GOES HE'S REALLY LONG, BECAUSE YOU GUYS CAN PUT IT OUT THERE A FAIR DISTANCE.

CHRIS DIMARCO
YOU KNOW WHAT, THERE'S NOT 15 OR 20 PERCENT OF THE GUYS THAT ARE LONGER THAN ME ON TOUR AND HE IS ASTRONOMICALLY LONGER THAN ME. IT IS PHENOMENAL. I MEAN IT'S 50 YARDS. IT'S UNREAL. IT REALLY IS. AND THEN HE'S GOT THAT SENSE THOUGH, HE'S, WHERE HE'S NOT ULTRA AGGRESSIVE.

WHEN HE GETS HIMSELF IN TROUBLE HE GETS IT OUT AND HE JUST PUTS IT BACK IN PLAY AND HE, AND HE MAKES HIS PAR WHEN HE HAS TO AND HE KNOWS HE'S GOING TO HAVE BUNCHES OF BIRDIES AND HE JUST, HE, HE DOESN'T, HE REALLY THINKS WELL OUT THERE.

RICH LERNER
WE ALWAYS HEAR PLAYERS SAY, WHEN THEY'RE ABOUT TO GO OUT WITH TIGER WOODS, I'M GOING TO PLAY MY OWN GAME. I CAN'T WATCH WHAT HE DOES.... EASIER SAID THAN DONE?

CHRIS DIMARCO
YOU KNOW I TRIED TO DO THAT. THAT'S WHAT I WAS TRYING TO DO AND IT WAS JUST HARD WHEN YOU'RE HITTING YOUR SHOT INTO THE GREEN AND YOU'RE, AS YOU'RE LOOKING AT THE HOLE, YOU LOOK UP AND YOU SEE HIS BALL 60 YARDS DOWN THE FAIRWAY.

RICH LERNER
(LAUGHING)

CHRIS DIMARCO
OH MY GOODNESS HE KILLED THAT ONE.
IT'S, IT IS, IT'S HARDER SAID THAN DONE BECAUSE YOU WANT TO WATCH IT BECAUSE IT'S PRETTY IMPRESSIVE.

RICH LERNER
I THOUGHT YOU HANDLED THE MEDIA BEAUTIFULLY. YOU DID PROBABLY, IT SEEMED CLOSE TO TWO HOURS WORTH OF INTERVIEWS IF I'M NOT MISTAKEN. AFTER ROUND ONE AND THEN I THINK AGAIN AFTER ROUND NUMBER TWO AND THEN IT WAS ANOTHER GO AROUND AFTER THE TUSSLE WITH TIGER ON SATURDAY, HOW

DRAINING WAS THAT GIVEN THAT, A NORMAL DAY AT A GOLF COURSE, YOU PLAY, YOU SIGN YOUR CARD, IF YOU'RE IN THE HUNT YOU DO 15 MINUTES AND YOU GO HOME.

CHRIS DIMARCO
RIGHT

RICH LERNER
THIS WAS A DIFFERENT KIND OF A SITUATION

CHRIS DIMARCO
YOU KNOW, IT WAS FUNNY BECAUSE ONE OF THE GUYS SAID TO ME, THEY SAID, YOU KNOW, HOW DO YOU ENJOY ALL OF THIS, YOU KNOW, IS IT A BOTHER THAT YOU HAVE, YOU KNOW THAT YOU'RE DOING ALL THESE QUESTIONS AND I JUST,

I LOOKED AT HIM AND SAID I THOUGHT I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE HERE

RICH LERNER
HMPH

CHRIS DIMARCO
20:I THOUGHT THAT, YOU KNOW, THIS WAS LIKE WHAT MY DUTY. I HAD A FUN WITH IT. I REALLY DID. IT WAS

RICH LERNER
YOU DID GREAT. YOU, YOU REALLY DID.

CHRIS DIMARCO
IT WAS FUN. IT REALLY WAS FUN. IT WAS, YOU KNOW, A LOT OF THE QUESTIONS WERE, WERE KIND OF CRAZY, SOME OFF THE WALL QUESTIONS, BUT OTHER THAN THAT IT WAS, IT WAS PRETTY NEAT BEING IN THE LIMELIGHT AND PEOPLE WANTING TO KNOW THE INSIDES OF ME. IT WAS PRETTY COOL.

RICH LERNER
WE'RE GOING TO TAKE A SHORT BREAK. COME BACK AND TALK MORE ABOUT CHRIS' MASTERS EXPERIENCE AND WE'LL DELVE INTO HIS PAST. AS YOU SAW IT WAS NOT AN EASY ROAD TO AUGUSTA NATIONAL. WE'LL FIND OUT WHEN WE COME BACK. STAY WITH US.

(MUSIC CONTINUES)

(BREAK)
 
NEXT SEGMENT
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Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 23, 2018, 4:45 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.


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J. Korda fires flawless 62, leads by 4 in Thailand

By Associated PressFebruary 23, 2018, 12:48 pm

CHONBURI, Thailand – Jessica Korda shot a course-record 62 at the Honda LPGA Thailand on Friday to lead by four strokes after the second round.

Playing her first tournament since having jaw surgery, Korda made eight birdies and finished with an eagle to move to 16 under par at the halfway point, a 36-hole record for the event.

''That was a pretty good round, pretty special,'' she said. ''Just had a lot of fun doing it.''


Full-field scores from the Honda LPGA Thailand


Korda is the daughter of former tennis player Petr Korda. She leads from another American, Brittany Lincicome, who carded a 65 to go 12 under at the Siam Country Club Pattaya Old Course.

Minjee Lee of Australia is third and a shot behind Linicome on 11 under after a 67. Lexi Thompson, the 2016 champion, is fourth and another shot behind Lee.

Korda is making her season debut in Thailand after the surgery and is playing with 27 screws holding her jaw in place.

She seized the outright lead with a birdie on No. 15, the third of four straight birdies she made on the back nine. Her eagle on the last meant she finished with a 29 on the back nine, putting her in prime position for a first tour win since 2015.

''The best part is I have had no headache for 11 weeks. So that's the biggest win for me,'' she said. ''Honestly I was just trying to get on the green, get myself a chance. I birdied four in a row and holed a long one (on 18). I wasn't expecting it at all. It was pretty cool.''

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Simpson, Noren share Honda lead after challenging Rd. 1

By Doug FergusonFebruary 23, 2018, 1:25 am

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - Tiger Woods had what he called ''easily'' his best round hitting the ball, and he didn't even break par at the Honda Classic.

Alex Noren and Webb Simpson shared the lead at 4-under 66 in steady wind on a penal PGA National golf course, and felt as though they had to work hard for it. Both dropped only one shot Thursday, which might have been as great an accomplishment as any of their birdies.

''When you stand on certain tee boxes or certain approach shots, you remember that, 'Man, this is one of the hardest courses we play all year, including majors,''' said Simpson, who is playing the Honda Classic for the first time in seven years.

Only 20 players broke par, and just as many were at 76 or worse.

Woods had only one big blunder - a double bogey on the par-5 third hole when he missed the green and missed a 3-foot putt - in an otherwise stress-free round. He had one other bogey against three birdies, and was rarely out of position. Even one of his two wild drives, when his ball landed behind two carts that were selling frozen lemonade and soft pretzels, he still had a good angle to the green.

''It was very positive today,'' Woods said. ''It was a tough day out there for all of us, and even par is a good score.''

It was plenty tough for Adam Scott, who again stumbled his way through the closing stretch of holes that feature water, water and more water. Scott went into the water on the par-3 15th and made double bogey, and then hit into the water on the par-3 17th and made triple bogey. He shot 73.


Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

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Rory McIlroy was at even par deep into the back nine when he figured his last chance at birdie would be the par-5 18th. Once he got there, he figured his best chance at birdie was to hit 3-wood on or near the green. Instead, he came up a yard short and into the water, made double bogey and shot 72.

Noren, who lost in a playoff at Torrey Pines last month, shot 31 on the front nine and finished with a 6-foot birdie on the ninth hole into a strong wind for his 66.

The Swede is a nine-time winner on the European Tour who is No. 16 in the world, though he has yet to make a connection among American golf fans - outside of Stillwater, Oklahoma, from his college days at Oklahoma State - from not having fared well at big events. Noren spends time in South Florida during the winter, so he's getting used to this variety of putting surfaces.

''I came over here to try to play some more American-style courses, get firmer greens, more rough, and to improve my driving and improve my long game,'' Noren said. ''So it's been great.''

PGA champion Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger and Morgan Hoffmann - who all live up the road in Jupiter - opened with a 67. There's not much of an advantage because hardly anyone plays PGA National the other 51 weeks of the year. It's a resort that gets plenty of traffic, and conditions aren't quite the same.

Louis Oosthuizen, the South African who now lives primarily in West Palm Beach, also came out to PGA National a few weeks ago to get a feel for the course. He was just like everyone else that day - carts on paths only. Not everyone can hole a bunker shot on the final hole at No. 9 for a 67. Mackenzie Hughes of Canada shot his 67 with a bogey from a bunker on No. 9.

Woods, in his third PGA Tour event since returning from a fourth back surgery, appears to be making progress.

''One bad hole,'' he said. ''That's the way it goes.''

It came on the easiest hole on the course. Woods drove into a fairway bunker on the par-5 third, laid up and put his third shot in a bunker. He barely got it out to the collar, used the edge of his sand wedge to putt it down toward the hole and missed the 3-foot par putt.

He answered with a birdie and made pars the rest of the way.

''I'm trying to get better, more efficient at what I'm doing,'' Woods said. ''And also I'm actually doing it under the gun, under the pressure of having to hit golf shots, and this golf course is not forgiving whatsoever. I was very happy with the way I hit it today.''

Woods played with Patton Kizzire, who already has won twice on the PGA Tour season this year. Kizzire had never met Woods until Thursday, and he yanked his opening tee shot into a palmetto bush. No one could find it, so he had to return to the tee to play his third shot. Kizzire covered the 505 yards in three shots, an outstanding bogey considering the two-shot penalty.

Later, he laughed about the moment.

''I was so nervous,'' Kizzire said. ''I said to Tiger, 'Why did you have to make me so nervous?'''

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Players battle 'crusty' greens on Day 1 at Honda

By Randall MellFebruary 22, 2018, 11:52 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods called the greens “scratchy” on PGA National’s Champion Course.

Rory McIlroy said there is “not a lot of grass on them.”

Morgan Hoffmann said they are “pretty dicey in spots, like a lot of dirt.”

The first round of the Honda Classic left players talking almost as much about the challenge of navigating the greens as they did the challenge of Florida’s blustery, winter winds.

“They looked more like Sunday greens than Thursday,” McIlroy said. “They are pretty crusty. They are going to have a job keeping a couple of them alive.”

The Champion Course always plays tough, ranking annually among the most challenging on the PGA Tour. With a very dry February, the course is firmer and faster than it typically plays.

“Today was not easy,” Woods said. “It's going to get more difficult because these greens are not the best . . . Some of these putts are a bit bouncy . . . There's no root structure. You hit shots and you see this big puff of sand on the greens, so that shows you there's not a lot of root structure.”


Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos


Brad Nelson, PGA National’s director of agronomy, said the Champion Course’s TifEagle Bermuda greens are 18 years old, and they are dealing with some contamination, in spots, of other strains of grasses.

“As it’s been so warm and dry, and as we are trying to get the greens so firm, those areas that are not a true Tifeagle variety anymore, they get unhappy,” Nelson said. “What I mean by unhappy is that they open up a little bit . . . It gives them the appearance of being a little bit thin in some areas.”

Nelson said the greens are scheduled for re-grassing in the summer of 2019. He said the greens do have a “crusty” quality, but . . .

“Our goal is to be really, really firm, and we feel like we are in a good place for where we want them to be going into the weekend,” he said.